I am not a software engineer, and you might not be either
And I want you to join me and explore why in Fringe Engineering...
In spite of what the title says, if someone asked me at a party “so, what do you do for a living?” I’d inevitably tell them: “I’m a software engineer”.
But for a few years now, that answer has felt imprecise. It’s felt reductive and oversimplified. It’s felt like it hasn’t really captured the all the caverns, cliff edges, winding rivers and vast expanses which make up my daily life as a human that creates software, and that leads others creating software.
As part of my daily work, I lead the engineering teams building Learnerbly, helping to shape the technical direction of the product. This newsletter, Fringe Engineering, is my way of exploring the subjects beyond technology — what it means to be a human who creates software, how it will look and feel on the nearest and most distant horizons – the next five, ten and fifty years – and importantly, how that will change your future and how you can be prepared for it.
I hope I’ve sparked your interest so far, and if so I encourage you to subscribe now for free. Otherwise, please read on.
I’ve been writing code for more than half my life and there’s so much more I still don’t know, but too much of the discourse is trapped in the existing vacuum around ‘technology A vs. B’ or ‘process Y vs. Z’. As I research and write future editions of Fringe Engineering, I want to learn more about the intersection of software development and traditionally non-technical disciplines like climate and anthropology, and how the role of emerging technologies like AI will change our understanding of the role of an engineer.
I also expect to break down the established norms that those of us who practice engineering day-to-day will be familiar with (think: agile, devops, testing, the software development lifecycle, career development), and rebuild them with a view to the future, at what’s changing today and what change is coming tomorrow.
Here is a preview of the subjects you can expect to hear about in the coming months as a subscriber:
Our failure to collaborate effectively
Engineering with empathy
The advent of generative artificial intelligence
Your role in creating your engineering culture
Encoding our impact on society
…and lots more (I’d love to hear what’s on your mind, please reach out!)
I can’t predict the future, but with your help we can imagine it.
I hope you subscribe and join me on this journey to step back from endless debate about technologies, to talk about what it means to be a human who’s trying their level best to tell computers what to do.
P.S. If you’re curious, the title Fringe Engineering is inspired by the TV show Fringe, and the associated concept of fringe science defined as “ideas whose attributes include being highly speculative or relying on premises already refuted”.