Engineering the Future of Everything

Aerial view of city with curved lines linking various buildings
In the non-stop world of technological innovation, describing what software engineers do for a living is becoming an elusive art. Aerotek enjoys a wide and deep view into this complex and constantly evolving world, and we’re intrigued with the rich diversity of skillsets represented by the ever-expansive field of “software engineers”. The more we work with these often-brilliant professionals, the more we’re convinced they are engineering more than just “software” – they’re engineering the future of everything.

How big is ‘everything’?

Software engineers are more deeply challenged than ever to align their skills with the demands of the workplace. When asked by an interviewer what advice he would give to software engineers contemplating this challenge, Scott Hansellman of Microsoft famously advised, “follow the Web … become full stack.” The idea behind Hansellman’s advice was twofold: everything from the user’s end was moving to the Web, while the back-end of everything was where the systems, data and services resided. In this YouTube video interview, Hansellman suggests engineers learn JavaScript, since it’s the most popular language powering the Web, and then a systems language like C#. In a world accelerating towards Internet everywhere, getting full stack is sound career advice.

Teaching machines

A scan of the comments under the Hansellman interview reveals a heated debate about whether it’s smarter for engineers to become very good at one thing or diversify your skills up and down the stack. One of the red-hot growth layers in the stack is machine learning. In this short lesson from Google’s popular video series Machine Learning, one of their top developers provides a surprisingly clear primer on writing a six-line machine-learning program that can, eventually, tell the difference between apples and oranges. He makes it sound almost easy, yet after consuming a few of these mini-lessons you might be inspired by the power poised to be unleashed by these powerful emerging tools.

Serious gaming

While machine learning is in its infancy as an area of specialization, the world of gaming has been offering software engineers, developers and architects lucrative and interesting careers for the past several years. For a peek into what the best and the brightest engineers are up to, spend a few minutes grazing on videos like this, from Google’s Project Tango. The gaming industry, with its increasing need for ever more realistic creations of 3D, virtual and augmented worlds are becoming one of more desirable for aspiring software engineers.

Life-saving internet of things (IoT)s

One of the defining characteristics of the future of everything is the speed with which it is moving. Hackathons serve as a perfect metaphor for this increasing acceleration of technological advances. This short interview profiles a hackathon team who came together earlier this year and, in the course of 30 sleepless hours, developed a working prototype of an IoT-enabled fire alarm. When asked about the skills he brought to the table, one of the winning team’s engineers offered this great quote: “I mainly do backend and embedded programming. I was the only one in the team who had the hardware experience and knew how to read schematics and interface the hardware with software. Also, I’m always one to bring some humor to a hardcore hacking session.” We find this tale of top-gun hackers a fascinating real-world illustration of the implications for full-stack engineering.

The future is everywhere

With technological advances bursting forth on so many fronts at once – IoT, machine learning, artificial intelligence, virtual/augmented reality, robotics – an emerging type of software engineer is required to support this future. A future, which is not only already with us, but comes with such a complex ‘full stack’ of software, hardware and network components.

Our clients are constantly seeking top talent to help them secure a competitive edge in this brave and exciting new world. Whether you are a full stack engineer or a deeply focused specialist, we invite you to create your free account, and let’s make that future happen together – check out our software engineer openings today.