Everyone has a slightly different definition of what exactly qualifies as software development. At its core, it is the process programmers use to build computer programs. It has many different parts, multiple people working on the project from start to finish, and endless applications.
Brittle software that can’t stand up to basic tasks is like a late-stage game of Jenga. It indicates there are some essential pieces missing. It can be time-consuming to maintain, and everyone involved in the project is on edge because every time something is touched, it almost crashes. No one likes brittle software, but examples of it are all around you. That’s why the right software development team is so important.
Software development is more than just creating something that works on a computer; it’s all about coming up with solutions to real-world problems through technology. Before you can understand the different types of development or the people who work on it, let’s take a more in-depth look at what software development is and how it can be used.
What is Software Development?
According to IBM, software development takes on many different definitions, but software development is a set of computer science activities dedicated to creating, designing, deploying, and supporting software. At its core, software is the set of instructions that tell your computer what needs to be done. It is free of hardware and makes your computer programmable.
Software development is like driving. It’s not just about getting the car moving in the right direction, but also involves constantly paying attention to what is happening and making little adjustments accordingly. You don’t make a sharp left turn going 80 mph in a top-heavy car because you’ll flip it! Making constant small adjustments throughout the ride is how you safely get to your destination.
The same can be said about this process, too. You can’t make drastic changes to your program without expecting things to crash. You need to make little adjustments here and there throughout the software development life cycle to reach your eventual goals.
There are many different aspects of software development, including the different types and who handles which part of the development process, but everything revolves around writing and maintaining source code. This code is what controls everything you do on a computer. Whether within a program, on the internet, or even offline — code is the surface on which everything is built.
Writing and interpreting code is important, and software developers drive the software development life cycle.
Who is on a Software Development Team?
Everyone on a software development team plays a valuable role in the process. These roles both interact and overlap at times, but each role’s day-to-day responsibilities vary significantly across different development departments and communities. Having a proper understanding of what each role does allows you to know what needs to be done at each stage of the software development life cycle.
Having a good software development team is like having a great hotel staff. Each department and employee serve a specific function that is absolutely central to running the operation. Without your front desk or housekeeping team, you’re going to have unhappy customers. Without programmers or software engineers, you’re not going to have a program or website. Here’s a deeper look at what goes into each role and how they can assist you.
Programmers or Coders
For the most part, computer programmers write, modify, and debug software. They write code that creates server applications, maintains and monitors software, and finds new ways to test and document software.
The code they write programs computers for specific tasks such as merging databases, processing online orders, routing communications, conducting searches, and displaying text or graphics on your website. Programmers or coders take instructions from software developers or engineers and then use coding languages like C# or Python or Java to execute them.
Writing code is like writing a recipe, but for the computer to cook up instead of a person. Just like a recipe has a list of ingredients and an order of operations in which to do things, so does code in a program. Each line of code and keystroke operate in the same function, but instead of the result being a delicious meal, you get a fully functioning program. A top-of-the-line coder is just like a premier chef: both are worth their weight in gold and are highly specialized in what they do.
Coders and programmers are the lifeblood of the software development life cycle, often writing most – if not all – of the code themselves. When you need something new added to your site or tested, chances are a programmer is going to be implementing it for you.
Software engineers ensure that software development projects stick to the specified design and client’s requests. They test products, identify defects, ensure programs run without bugs, and compile all quality assurance reports before the software is deployed or released to users. They apply engineering principles to software and systems in order to solve problems.
By using modeling language and other tools, they devise solutions that can be applied to any issues instead of just fixing specific or one-time things for clients. Typically, software engineering solutions adhere to the scientific method and must also work in the real world; just like bridges or elevators need to work once designed, so does software.
Software engineers are a lot like your college RA. They are hands-on with whatever project they are working on, keep things on task, and make sure things get done. Without your college RA, things would’ve gotten out of hand in a hurry, and the same can be said about your software engineers. They keep things focused while also having their fingerprints on every aspect of the project.
Without software engineers, the development lifecycle would be a mess. Having a strategy is crucial and thinking outside the box helps; that’s why a good software engineer is such a valuable asset. Thinking of solutions to issues before they begin can be the difference in your site and customer base thriving or withering.
While developers might have a less formal role than engineers, they are no less important. They are just as actively involved with specific project areas and even write code, too. Most developers drive the overall software development lifecycle, including working across a multitude of functional teams in order to transform client requirements into features.
If building a program was like building a house, software developers are the foremen of the project. A home requires a lot of components and has many people working on it, just like a website or application. Without someone keeping the project on time, on task, and on budget, things could get derailed quickly. That’s why software developers are so important to the process.
They manage the development teams, process, conduct software testing, and even perform maintenance from time to time. The software development life cycle is the roadmap to every project. Software developers are in charge of making sure everything stays on track.
How Does the Software Development Life Cycle Work?
1. Needs identification
This stage of the development life cycle surrounds market research and brainstorming. Before software can be built, you need to perform extensive market research to see if it is even worth it. Developers must identify the functions and services the software should provide to its target customers.
There are many different ways to get this information, but it is usually obtained from existing customer feedback and surveys. IT teams and other parts of companies must also come together to discuss possible strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for the product. This process will be smoother to develop if everything is planned well from the start.
2. Requirement analysis
Next in the development cycle is requirement analysis. The project’s stakeholders agree on the technical requirements and specifications of what goals the software is trying to achieve. This part of the cycle outlines the details of every component, scope, task, and everything else the developers will need to do from start to finish in order to finish the project.
Everyone has a say in this phase. Developers, users, testers, project managers, and quality assurance all contribute to determining what needs to be done at every aspect of development in order to make this happen quickly and efficiently.
Once everything is outlined, the project moves into the design phase. Architects and developers draw up advanced and specific technical specifications to create the software properly. During this phase, stakeholders take into consideration things like risk levels, team composition, application technologies, time, budget, limitations, design, and methods. A Design Specification Document (DSD) will lay out the design, components, communication, and what it will look like on the program’s front end once it is finished.
4. Development and implementation
Once the DSD is entirely mapped out, we move on to the development and implementation phase. Developers code based on the specifications needed for the product to look and function the way it is intended.
Following company procedures and guidelines, these developers build the back end and all interfaces, while the database administrators create all of the relevant data in the database. Once the coding has been completed, developers will deploy a version of the product to test and troubleshoot further in the next phase.
The testing phase is arguably the most important phase. In it, developers will test for bugs and check to make sure that the software performs as designed. There are two methods for testing: either relying on past knowledge of how the interface is supposed to function, or by going off a script of commands created to ensure everything is functioning smoothly.
Ignoring problems that come up in this phase is like continually throwing junk in your closet. One day, it’s going to get so full it’ll come crashing down on you. Now you have a giant time-consuming mess on your hands, and all you needed to do in order to prevent this was take care of the junk as it arrived. If any major bugs appear during testing, they will be worked out before being moved on to deployment.
6. Deployment and maintenance
Once the software has been thoroughly debugged and functions as it was designed, it is ready for launch! But the release of the product isn’t the end of its life cycle. Now it has to function and serve its purpose, and sometimes while doing that, it will crash or need maintenance. Caring for your product once it has been released into the world is crucial, because being unable to fix an issue could mean the difference between a successful or short-lived product life cycle.
Comparing Different Types of Software Development
Each type of software has its own special function. While some software takes the form of internet browsers or iPhone applications, others can be found as operating systems or even in your vehicle. Depending on what you need to accomplish, you might be taking advantage of one or all of these types of software. Let’s take a more in-depth look at what each type of software is and what it can offer your business.
Sometimes referred to as an operating system or an OS, system software is the program your computer operates on. It is what translates input commands into language machines can read. An operating system controls all the computer’s hardware components. Examples of standard operating systems are:
- Windows OS from Microsoft
- Mac OS from Apple
- Apache OS for Web Servers
- UNIX OS for Proprietary Systems `1`
Without an operating system, you wouldn’t be able to manage any utilities, hardware, or other operational systems necessary to run the application or program.
Programming software is used to build the things you see on the front end. Programmers use this software for things like text editors, compilers, linkers, debuggers, and other tools to create code using Java, C++, PHP, or Simlab. The best example of this is the text editor side of WordPress or any popular blogging site.
This is some of the most commonly-used software in the world, thanks to the introduction of smartphones. Otherwise known as apps — there is one for everything — these have become essential. But apps aren’t just limited to your phone. Computers use many different apps, such as:
- Word Processors
- Internet Browsers
- Media Players
- Photo Editing Tools
- Anti-Virus Software
Apps are another way to get the right content into the right hands or solve logistical issues. Every day, applications are finding new ways to innovate how we engage with our technology.
Embedded software might not typically be thought of as a type of software since it controls machines and devices that aren’t considered computers. These devices and their software can be connected via the internet and can be seen in places like:
- Telecommunications Networks
- Industrial Robots
- And More
How Can Software Development Work for My Business?
The examples of software development helping businesses are truly endless. At Ayoka Systems, we pride ourselves on always coming up with solutions to our clients’ problems. Whether they are trying to launch a new product, organize their business internally, or fix long-standing issues, we can help.
Systems Integration and Automation
One client needed to integrate their new accounts receivable with their current accounts payable system to allow the IT staff to not have to manually query the database for accounting to finish their duties for the month.
Ayoka Systems developed a secure enterprise application that allowed them to perform the accounts payable integration through simpler interfaces. The results were achieved, and the client was able to execute considerably fewer steps in their monthly accounting process.
Local and Accessible Web Development
The biggest challenge facing this client was the need to increase sales to government customers. In order to do that, they needed to expand their software development team. Instead of outsourcing to IBM Global Services or other similar options, they wanted local, cost-effective options. The goal was to develop a partnership that could meet aggressive schedules for new software development, while also completing a list of enhancements using existing applications.
Because of our partnership with this client, they were able to update all existing software and then transition to providing long-term e-government software development services, database design, and development services.
Manufacturing Web-based Software Application
The manufacturing industry is one that faces an exorbitant number of challenges. There are so many variables to consider, like currency fluctuation, commodity prices, global competition, and skyrocketing customer expectations. These demands put a lot of stress on any industry and business; that’s where Ayoka can make a difference for you.
We offer a variety of manufacturing industry-based solutions specifically designed to deal with the challenges that face your operation. We specialize in services like:
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
- Business Intelligence for Manufacturing (BI)
- Programmable Logic Controller Integration (PLC)
- Customer Relations Management (CRM) Software Solutions
- Custom Mobile App Development
Slight variations in the manufacturing process can be catastrophic. Things like minor changes in temperature, resistance, and speed can bring your operation to a screeching halt. That’s why having technological solutions can save you money in the long run.
Finding Solutions for Web-Based Issues
One of our commerce clients was in a bad position. Their previous software development company had been dragging out the process for almost two years, failing to deliver what the client wanted. This resulted in bugs that prevented the customer from using most of their e-commerce application features — forcing refunds and dissatisfaction.
Once they contacted us, we were able to investigate their source code and quickly repair all bugs. From there, we steadily redesigned the website to add all missing functions. After about 6 weeks, all major bugs were repaired, and they were able to launch just in time for their sales season.
Let Ayoka Systems Be Your Software Development Solution
Generally, every business can benefit from software development solutions. At Ayoka Systems, we strive to be your solution. Whether you are looking to expand your business scope in a hurry, have an issue you want to address, or feel strung along by your current outsourced software development company, we are here for you. Contact us today to get the software solutions you need.