Many small software contracting companies (boutiques) have been popping up in the last few years with our company, 8th Light, featuring among them.
Their fundamental value is the same, that software development can be better than it is currently done in IT departments across the globe. They also wouldn’t be successful if there wasn’t a market for high quality, expensive software. I hope that this direction does a few things:
I hope it sets standards for the software industry.
Raises the bar to rid ourselves with the staggering project failure rates. Or at least make the transparency between good code and bad code widely accessible. It should be transparent to the customer if they are getting the Amish furniture or college dorm furniture.
I hope it shows us how to teach software.
Computer Science departments in academia are important, but are so disconnected with how software is actually written. Pair programming, TDD, and design patterns should all be taught before someone gets a professional software development gig.
Software is a craft skill which requires a theoretical background. Doing is as important as knowing and both are required.
I hope it shows us the tight feedback loop between software and business.
With many software developers joining smaller companies, the involvement in business has risen. Like many other professions; writers, marketers, and salesmen, software craftsmen need to understand the core business value of the software itself.
Is this software application cost-saving? Revenue-generating? What is the relationship between the feature(s) I am writing and the value to the organization?
I hope it makes us lots of money.
There are many craft professions which have had their time in the market spotlight, and many which may not ever have a time in the spotlight.
Software is needed in all forms right now, and as craftsmen we should take advantage of our skill set during this time in history to do a good job and receive good compensation.
Soon enough the world will move on to robots writing software, and we will be doing it for pennies. Software craftsmanship has its spotlight now and I hope we use it to mature our industry.