Software development (also known as software methodology) is a set of processes or activities that lead to the production of software. These activities often involve the development of software from scratch or the modification of pre-existing software systems/frameworks to solve problems quicker.
Any software development method must include the following four steps:
1. Software specification or requirements engineering: This defines the main functionalities of the software system and the constraints around them. Without this, finding a good solution/method would be hard.
2. Software design and implementation: This is the stage where the software algorithm is designed and programmed using relevant programming languages.
3. Software verification and validation: The step is taken to ensure that the software system conforms to its specification and meets the needs of the customer.
4. Software evolution (software maintenance): The software system is modified and maintained whenever customer and/or market changes occur.
Software engineers/developers, in practice, also carry out other sub-activities such as requirements validation, architectural design, unit testing, etc. They may additionally carry out supporting activities such as configuration and change management, quality assurance, project management, and user experience.
Software engineers are able to increase work efficiency by introducing new techniques and tools, following the best coding practices, ensuring process standardization, etc.
Steps we take during software development
Here we collect the requirements of the desired software product. While customers may believe they fully know what the software is meant to do, it often atimes require skill and experience in software engineering to recognize incomplete, ambiguous or contradictory requirements.
This deals with precisely describing the software to be written, in a mathematically rigorous way. In practice, most successful specifications are written to understand and fine-tune applications that were already well-developed, although safety-critical software systems are often carefully specified before application development. Specs are most important for external interfaces that must remain stable.
The architecture of a software system refers to an abstract representation of that system. Architecture is concerned with making sure the software system will meet the requirements of the product, as well as ensuring its future needs can be addressed.
This is the stage where we code the different software components. Reducing a design code may be the most visible part of the software engineering job, but it is not necessarily the most significant portion.
Software engineers test parts of the software for errors or bugs, primarily where code by two different engineers must work together.
We document the internal snippets of code of the software to aid future maintenance and enhancement either by the developers who wrote them or by other developers.
Training and Support
A large percentage of software projects fail because the developers fail to realize that it doesn’t matter how much time and planning a development team puts into creating software if nobody in an organization ends up using it. People are occasionally reluctant to change and avoid venturing into an unfamiliar area, so as a part of the deployment phase, it’s essential to have training classes for the most enthusiastic software users. Users will have lots of questions and software problems which leads to the next phase of software.
Maintaining and enhancing software to cope with newly discovered problems or new requirements can take far more time than the initial development of the software. Not only may it be necessary to add code that does not fit the original design but just determining how the software works at some point after it is completed may require significant effort by a software engineer. About 60% of all software engineering work is maintenance, but this statistic can be misleading. A small part of that is fixing bugs. Most maintenance is extending systems to do new things, which in many ways can be considered new work.
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