While there is debate over when the 4th industrial revolution is already underway or is yet to begin, one thing is certain the Software Engineer has a crucial role to play.
The 4th industrial revolution, focused on the unification of some of the top fields, in ICT and otherwise including the digital, physical, and biological aspects of technology. This revolution will go beyond the mere automation of production lines and the sharing of information on a global scale. The 4th industrial revolution includes the automation of most aspects of industry and life as we know it, mainly described as automation over global networks, sharing the information gathered by billions of devices to optimize the lives, safety and development of the human race.
And in this new world of AI, cloud computing, 3D Printing, Blockchain and Deep Learning the role of the Software Engineer is critical. A good Software Engineer is widely considered to be a so called “Jack of all Trades” as what sets them apart form normal coders or developers is their ability to consider a wide range of different fields when making design, planning or strategic choices. Therefor their ability to comprehend the convergence of these different technologies makes them an invaluable asset for any institution. Software Engineers also aren’t limited to the implementation of these technologies but will also be able to weigh in to the legal, and philosophical aspects of its implementation.
While on face value we can already consider the Software Engineer an important role to play in the future of technology, it is also beneficial to consider the changes and future development the field may undergo, and to determine the roles or positions in which the Software Engineer can have the biggest impact, on the world, technology and the future of Software Engineering.
According to the journal of distance education the maturity of a typical academic program takes about 13 years after which the information starts to become arbitrary. According to me, the Software engineering field is yet to reach its maturity phase, but we will within the next few years. This is mainly because the field broadens every day and the demand for specialized Software engineers are on the rise, this does not mean however that they will no longer be “Jacks o fall trades” but rather that they will have to be highly specialized in specific fields while still being capable in others. For example, a software engineer may need to specialize in AI while still being capable to preform basic functions required in IOT and Cloud.
I believe that the position of most impact for the software engineers of today would not only be as lifelong learners, but as academics, making contributions to the field and educating the Software Engineers of tomorrow. They are in the position to research the integration of the different fields, form Micro-biology to philosophy with that of computing. But as the job of Software Engineer is rated as one of the highest entry level jobs, very few Software Engineers see any future for themselves as academics. As once they start working, they don’t see the need for them to return to their studies.
Considering how far we have come since the turn of the millennium and how few people ends up doing exactly what they have studied for, the potential for software engineers are endless, if they are willing to put in the time and effort. Current employment positions already include positions at companies such as: SpaceX, WHO, The Muse etc.
And possible majors in the Software Engineering Field: Medical Informatics, Cognitive Science, Cryptography, Music, Politics.
What choice each Software Engineer makes is up to them, and they will have a lot to choose from, but all choices will not give you the opportunity to ride the cyber wave that is Software Engineering or to mould it to your design.