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An international peer-reviewed journal

User Experience Design: The Evolution of a Multi-Disciplinary Approach

Deborah J. Mayhew

Journal of Usability Studies, Volume 3, Issue 3, May 2008, pp. 99-102

Article Contents

An Early and Brief History of Software Engineering

The following sections present the history of software engineering in the 1960's through the 1980's.

The 60's and 70's

In the beginning (let's say in the late 1960's), there were programmers. Period.

There was little or no real division of labor or specialization in the software development industry. Programmers did business and functional analysis, they did project management, they did system architecture, they did user interface design, they coded, and they did software testing and quality control and user support. In some cases they even did sales.

There were also no standard or commercial software development methodologies in use. Each development project team leader (a programmer) in each company simply conducted their project in whatever way made sense to them, learning from their own experience.

I started my career in the software industry in 1978. I was in the middle of a PhD program in cognitive psychology at the time. I had picked up some programming skills as a research assistant in graduate school, and took a job one summer as a programmer in a software development consulting firm to make a little money to support myself while finishing my degree. I planned to leave the job at the end of the summer to return full time to my degree program, but became enamored of the software development business (not to mention actually earning a decent salary) and decided to stay on. I finished my PhD around a full-time job at the consulting firm.

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