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Essential Business Skills

for Software Engineers

An essential guide on the business and commercial skills for the future of the Software Engineering profession

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"The future belongs to software engineers". I was driving behind a car the other day and noticed this bumper sticker. It made me think. Most of us live lives infused by software. Think of the applications on your mobile phone. Think of banking and the stock exchange. Think of education and medical care. We shop using software. We use software to find love. Software allows us to communicate instantly with people across the world. We see their faces and hear their voices as if they are sitting in front of us in the same room.


The realities of our world have been created by software engineers. Software will play an even larger part in the future of our world with the advancement of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Robotics. We are creating software that can learn and think as good as humans can. And soon these algorithms will perform most tasks done by humans in even smarter ways. Software engineering is one of the most exciting careers we can work in, and we can be almost certain of continued employment and career advancement for the rest of our lives. Or can we?


Software engineers will create the future. But what if our creations no longer need us? To what extend will automation make our skills redundant? What are the prospects that smart machines and software algorithms will be created autonomously? What if the sign on the door of your future career prospects reads "Humans need not apply?"


The two dangers faced by software engineering into the future, in my view, are smart automation and the lack of commercial maturity. Much has been written about the technical aspects of future skills. In a recent publication, The World Economic Forum states that "A faster, more affordable pathway to upskilling in the face of automation and a high-quality, future-resilient job could lie in non-degree credentials." The world of education and job creation is being uprooted by the global pandemic and advancements in technology.


Much is being done to improve the technical education and preparedness of software engineers. There are multitudes of technical upskilling platforms, courses and books available. But very little in the training of software engineers prepare them as future leaders of teams, navigating the political landscape of corporate organisations, and especially as commercially savvy, business-minded corporate leaders.


The focus of this book, as the title states, is about the essential business skills needed by software engineers now and into the future. Are you doing all you can to stay technically relevant in this fast-changing world? That is good. But you also have to increase your commercial maturity and business acumen. This book will help you.


I will cover the following topics:


  • The future-proof software engineer: staying relevant in a fast-changing world

  • A fork in the road: career advancement choices

  • The business sweet spot: where supply and demand meet

  • Stormy weather: navigating internal politics, building relationships, forming alliances

  • Partnering for success: managing vendor relationships

  • It is the economy, stupid: cost to serve and cost to value commercial management

  • Take them on the journey: team leadership, future skills

  • Jumping down the cliff: making an impact fast

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