From software to systems: skills we need now

16 years ago, my teammates and I built software for big internet properties. We spun up a single instance of open-source software and added a lot of custom code. Nowadays, we build information systems - data platforms, decoupled frontends, microservices, event streams. Our software is interdependent services with many types of consumers.

In the world of "digital transformation", software is becoming systems. Unfortunately, we don't think in systems.

Systems are nonlinear. Our focus is shifts from feature development to orchestrating relationships between parts, achieving something that would not exist without those well-designed relationships.

The same is true for the people building systems. Systems reorganize our mental models and communication structures. In response, we must transform how we think together, or we will build the same old things with fancy new tools.

Yes, we need cloud-native architectures, Kafka, Kubernetes, GoLang, Terraforming, EventStorming etc. We also need some essential nonlinear thinking and communication skills. We may not think of them as "IT" skills. (Yet.) Nonetheless, they are essential for navigating from software to systems.

Diana Montalion

Mentrix: Principal

New York City, New York, United States


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