Ron's comments miss one very important point. I would bet a month's pay
there were no "Software Engineers" working on any of these system.
Aerospace companies hire Aerospace Engineers, EE's and ME's but do not look
for SE's of any kind. Embedded flight S/W engineers are picked from these
engineering areas. No SE's need apply. If you do not know advanced control
law theory or astrodynamics you don't get to play in the sand box.
Due to the "Old-Boy" networks deeply entrenched in Aerospace corporations,
SE's, if involved at all, are relegated to low level coders, system
administrators or S/W QA (an area commonly ignored). They have no influence
on system design, testing or many of the items Ron points out. When a SE
tries to discuss a better architecture or software issue he rarely gets any
leverage over the Ph.D. Aerospace, ME, EE dude with one Fortran class under
his belt and 20+ years building Space Vehicles the same way Von Bran did!
The "glass ceiling" also applies as they attempt to move up. Our current
matrix manager for Software Engineering is NOT a SE! He is probably not
going to get up the rank to VP either as managers that really want to
advance avoid Software projects since it is held in such low regard.
I do not feel that licensing S/W engineers will help since they are not used
and if used ignored! In fact, I think SE as a degree should be eliminated
completely and SE concepts should be required to be taught to ALL engineers.
They end up writing the code and designing the system anyway -- so lets get
them trained to do a better job. Otherwise we will be dealing with MatLab
and Java hackers trying to design reliable systems!
Just my two cents worth .. not the opinion of LM,SSO -- unfortunately
> -----Original Message-----
> From: S. Ron Oliver [SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Monday, December 18, 2000 3:11 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Sucky Software at NASA
> Hi everyone.
> Several weeks ago I indicated I was working on a "flame" r.e. NASA Mars
> Projects. I have finally finished it. It became somewhat lengthy. I
> generally try to avoid sending such lengthy messages via email, especially
> via a list server.
> I have put it on the web at an unpublished URL:
> I will appreciate any feedback, even if you are in violent disagreement
> with anything I have to say.
> S. Ron Oliver, semi-retired professor of Computer Science and Computer
> Engineering. www.csc.calpoly.edu/~sroliver
> Tired of sucky software! ? Check out www.caressCorp.com and follow the
> links to software sucks and The Oliver Academy.