Von Cobol nach Java

Facebook arbeitet an einer KI, die automatisch Code von einer Programmiersprache in eine andere übersetzen kann. Das Feld ist nicht gänzlich neu, es gab schon Versuche, KI zu verwenden um beispielsweise statische Analyse und damit Code-Qualität zu verbessern. Wenn eine Maschine zwischen Code übersetzen kann, werden eine ganze Reihe von Banken jubeln, endlich nicht mehr auf unersetzbare, uralte Cobol Programmierer angewiesen zu sein, die auch noch unfassbare Stundensätze aufrufen.

Es ist eine Gelegenheit, schwierigere Probleme anzugehen.

Yesterday, a software engineer, also new to the organization, roughly told me the following. The way the organisation plans projects is so different to what he is used to as a software engineer. Planning projects with a horizon of 12 or even 24 months is something he says he just cannot wrap his head around.

While this is very common and necessary in the hardware industry, it is indeed something terribly alienating software people. Software is typically treated as a living product, that takes tiny changes at a time, it is more governed towards a direction to take than having the one exact goal it has to hit by a specific date.

These very fundamental goals both mindsets follow make it difficult for change to happen. While the software engineer above obviously has a point to make, he cannot reach the people he needs to reach, because both sides are just too far apart.

At the same time, I don’t yet have an answer to the problem, but the problem itself became so obvious when this colleague told me he just doesn’t know what to say. The digital world does not yet have a common language, not to mention a common way to think about approaching problems, and unless this hurdle is taken, change will only happen slowly.