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Software engineering is where the rubber hits the road in terms of requirements definition, creating a solid design, fitting stuff into an existing legacy environment (SAP anyone? Java EE?), iterating prototypes with stakeholders... and usually in large corporations. It was out of many years of budget overruns in defense procurement that software engineering cornerstones such as CMMI emerged.

To me, the essence of software engineering is that 20% is about building the 'good' solution itself, e.g. architecture, code, release / deployment, ... the remainder of the engineering is navigating / tolerating the inherent corporate messiness of politics, opinions, power, and everything else... engineering the solution is the easy part; engineering good requirements and quality is tough.

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