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10/13/2015  |   10:00 AM - 10:45 AM   |  Atlantic I

Systems vs. Software Engineering skills – a Gap Analysis

Software Engineering is a relatively well-known discipline within the software developer community. Computer Science schools that are ABET-accredited are required to cover software engineering in their curriculum. However, in today’s world, software-intensive systems and critical systems need a broader viewpoint – a systems engineering viewpoint. Systems engineering, not as commonly taught in many college programs, is a separate discipline that while similar to software engineering, is broader and has different aims. By its very definition, software engineering is a software-oriented discipline – systems engineering, on the other hand, is more an a mixture of multiple disciplines. To computer scientists and software engineers alike, the crucial systems engineering skills and training needed are not obvious. Even such “common” skills (such as risk and configuration management) that are commonly taught and used in software engineering take on new and complex roles when shifting to system engineering. This presentation will contrast and compare software and systems engineering, and explain the knowledge gaps that a conventionally–trained software engineer would have to overcome to understand how to perform systems engineering. We will cover systems engineering from a “holistic” view, and then narrow in on the skills and techniques that differentiate systems from software engineering. We will conclude with some common systems engineering failings, and list and discuss some common indicators that can serve as “red flags” to let you know if your project (or your systems engineering efforts) is in trouble.

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David Cook (Primary Presenter,Author), Stephen F. Austin State University, cookda@sfasu.edu;
Dr. David A. Cook is Associate Professor of Computer Science at Stephen F. Austin State University, where is teaches Software Engineering, Modeling and Simulation, and Enterprise Security. Prior to this, he was Senior Research Scientist and Principal Member of the Technical Staff at AEgis Technologies, working as a Verification, Validation, and Accreditation agent supporting the Airborne Laser. Dr. Cook has over 40 years' experience in software development and management. He was an associate professor and department research director at USAF Academy and former deputy department head of Software Professional Development Program at AFIT. He has been a consultant for the Software Technology Support Center for 19 years. Dr. Cook has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Texas A&M University, is a Commissioner and Team Chair for ABET, Past President for the Society for Computer Simulation, International, and Chair of ACM SIGAda.

Eugene Bingue (Co-Presenter,Co-Author), U.S. NCTAMS-PAC, dr.bingue@gmail.com;
Dr. Eugene Bingue is an IT Planner for NCTAMS-PAC. He is NCTAMS Division Chief for Contract Management and COR for MUOS, SATCON and other NCTAMS PAC systems. Bingue has over 40 years experience in communication and computer systems development and management. He was a key player in standing up the first Theater Geospatial Database (TGD) in the U.S. Army, USARPAC G2. He was a Software Engineer in the Satellite Control and Simulation Division at the U.S. Air Force Phillips Laboratory. Bingue was instrumental in the architecture design of the MAGIC satellite health and status system for Space Command. He was the lead software engineer for the development of the Reactor Control Unit for the Russian Topaz II space base nuclear reactor.

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