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Career Paths for Programmers - Head Work

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The creation of computer software is traditionally associated with technically brilliant but socially inept people - the programmer character in the movie Jurassic Park being a perfect example. However, the development of commercial software is a task requiring input from a multi-disciplinary team, the success of which depends not only on the team members’ technical skills, but also on their ability to communicate and collaborate with each other.

Based on a three-year research study, this book explores the various roles associated with software development. It explains how these roles are not clearly defined or delimited and it also highlights the extent to which practitioners have to deal with both technical and non-technical people – colleagues, managers, sales people, customers and suppliers.

By focussing on senior practitioners (people in their thirties and forties), this book investigates the skills needed in these roles and shows the diverse paths practitioners take to get to their current positions. It will be of interest to all software practitioners who are concerned about the options available to them later in their careers. It also offers support to human resource personnel who might struggle to develop job descriptions for software people. Finally it offers insights to national policy makers who wish to see the Irish software industry survive in the global market.

Author Biography

Jack Downey began his career in computing by completing a B.Sc. degree in computer science at University College Cork. After three years in industry, he left work to pursue a taught M.Sc. in telecommunications and information systems at the University of Essex, England. Having spent the next fifteen years developing real-time telephony software, he returned to the University of Limerick to complete a Ph.D., examining the skills required to carry out senior roles in software development. He is currently working for Lero, the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre as an Industrial Liaison.
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