Local software innovation lacking
Local companies are showing an increased level of frustration with the local software industry, citing a severe lack of innovation and relevant support as their main gripes, according to a new survey commissioned by the Cape IT Initiative (CITI).
The survey, conducted by Knowledge Crucible, sampled a cross section of software engineers, end-users, academics and government departments. The purpose was to find the relevant “pain points” of the various stakeholders, which will be used in setting the agenda for the upcoming second software engineering colloquium, taking place in Cape Town on May 8.
The responses showed that end-users were becoming increasingly disheartened by the lack of innovation in their software graduates.
Companies showed concern of a lack of skills, with some of them also complaining that staff members became intellectually lazy shortly after joining them. The survey findings revealed concerns that students were inadequately prepared to compete in an aggressive international market.
The survey also showed that both large and small software companies were frustrated by the lack of government intervention to grow and develop the software engineering sector.
The findings of the report will be discussed in full at the one-day colloquium where attendees will have the chance to and come up with workable solutions. These suggestions and possible solutions will be presented to government and others involved at the end of the sessions
Viola Manuel, executive director of CITI, explained the rationale for the survey in setting the agenda for the colloquium. “We wanted to establish what needed to be addressed at the outset rather than promote our own agenda. We wanted to hear from those most affected, and from there come up with an agenda that would find solutions rather than act as just another soapbox.”
“This will not be a finger pointing exercise, but rather an opportunity for government to hear firsthand from industry what needs to be done to protect our industry from the growing intellectual malaise that it is falling into,” Manuel said.
Although South Africa is still a richly innovative country, Manuel said action needs to be taken soon if we are to remain that way.
The second software engineering colloquium follows two years after the first was held. It has received the endorsement of respected industry bodies: the IEEE’s Computer Society, Wits University and the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) and the Software Process Improvement Network (SPIN).
UPDATE: David Hislop, a founder of the first colloquium (SEO5), points out that SPIN was formed out of SEO5 and not the other way around.