Software industry needs unified face

Software industry needs unified face

“We are not just a bunch of service providers to other sectors – the software industry makes jobs and generates wealth just as much as the manufacturing or mining or retail sectors. We have never stood up and asserted our place as an industry in our own right. At SE12, this is going to change forever.”

These were the combative words of Wesley Diphoko, executive director of the Black Information Technology Forum (BITF) in the Western Cape, and an organiser of the Fourth Annual Software Engineering Colloquium (, which kicks off on 24 May, in Cape Town, at the Old Mutual Central Campus Conference Centre. It is sponsored by Old Mutual and Oracle.

“For too long our software development industry has been fragmented. We have lots of smart, hard-working developers, and lots of innovative and skilled development companies. It is time for South Africa’s software industry to unite and present a unified face to business and government policymakers.”

The main topics at this year’s colloquium are accreditation, innovation and competitiveness, as well as ways to increase investment in the South African software development industry.

The theme for this year’s event is “Made in South Africa”, which can be interpreted in two ways. Firstly, delegates to the colloquium will hear from top international and local industry figures on issues relating to building SA as a global player in software development. Secondly, the intention is to find ways to make SA a bigger and better market for its own software technology.

The Software Engineering Colloquium is organised by the South African section of the Computer Society of the IEEE (the international body for electronic and electrical engineering). For the first time, it is being co-presented by the BITF, with the objective of continuing to develop professionalism in the industry, as well as to look at factors to increase the number of young black people looking at a career in software development.

SE12 will be addressed by professors Moshe Kam, Leah Jamieson and Michael Lightner, highly respected engineers, educators and past presidents of the IEEE.

Papers will be prepared in advance for submission and presentation at the event.

There will be sessions by leading local software experts, as well as panel discussions on policy, strategy and technical issues. There will also be workshops on topics such as privacy and protection of information – extremely hot issues right now as cloud and mobile services start to blur the lines on data ownership. There will also be other purely technical breakout sessions on Friday, 25 May, including master classes on topics ranging from Java to mobile solutions in the enterprise.

More information and registration details can be found at There is an early bird discount of 25% until 7 May.

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