Era of pure software developers comes to an end

In last years I”ve started to note that there is no place for the pure developers in Computer Science world – their era comes to end. By “pure software developers” I mean those who speciality is just writing code and nothing else.

I”d say I mean geeks. I”m not blaming them, because I consider myself being a geek a bit, but I reckon geeks are not valuable now as they were before – about 5 years ago.

There are some changes happened in IT world. Looking around I found that IT became mature – we are not in infancy stage. We started to develop not for the sake of developing but for others. We are trying to automate the businesses, routines and we put software wherever it possible. It”s hard to find the place where we don”t use PC. We even finally started not the business for software, but software for business.

Infancy has been ended. 

Now we need to think what to do with all that crap we created and how to resolve existed problems

We are on the threshold to come on another level of abstractions, but we can”t go further being on the same boat – we need paradigm shift. We need to be on the next level of maturity to solve current problems.

Looking at the existed problems in all areas, like prediction systems, data mining, robotics end etc we see that everything is really good engineered – good architectures and good models, but it doesn”t work as we expected, because we are missing the humane factor.

I mean that existed Computer Science engineers can”t solve existed problems, because they think in machine terms,losing the humanity. We resolve problems building machine algorithms,not the psychology algorithms.

Just a simple example, when you bought something on Amazon they record your purchasing and then when you return back they try to predict your taste, suggesting new items based on what is already bought – just standard “prediction system”. It”s good example which shows the power of machine perspective, where everything is easy predicted. But fails from human point of view.  Half year ago I bought comics on Amazon as a present to my friend. Since then whenever I come to the Amazon they always suggest me different comics 🙁 I don”t want them. I don”t even like comics. That purchase was exceptional for me, I only interesting in IT books.  System is not able to track such behaviour which is natural to people.

I reckon that nowadays we should bring the psychological engineers to Computer Science world, who build the psycho logic algorithms based on the human actions. We should predict people behaviour not the results of behaviour.

This psychology in Computer Science will be that factor (paradigm shift) which allows us to go on the next level in Computer Science, and helps to solve existed problems.

We already made the first step in that direction – “usability engineers”, who are actually good psychologists, and who help us to develop for people, not for machines. But I hardly know about 5-10 products which were developed with “usability engineers” assistance.

We are still too far to build the “psychological” software.

Footnote: this post was written after I found the http://www.netflixprize.com/ competition, where DVD store suggested 1 million for those who improve their prediction system. The most confusing is that contest began October 2, 2006 and continues at least October 2, 2011. 5(!) years to find the solution. It”s exactly what I wrote about. These guys really understand the problems with existed computer science where no humanity exists. And they hope that psychological factor will be introduced and properly implemented in the next 5 years.

Mirror: Era of pure software developers comes to an end

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