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IT Innovation, Modern Developer | November 12, 2018

If You Work in Software, You Do a Lot More Than People Give You Credit For

By: Dominic Collard

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Ask a classroom of children what they want to be when they grow up, and “work for a software company” is unlikely to be one of the top answers. But whatever their dream job—doctor, astronaut, musician, teacher, scientist—odds are that software will be crucial to it.

Professional athletes have their every move recorded and analyzed with software. Politicians rely on software to measure how a proposed policy might go down with voters. Software saves animals from extinction, helps children learn, makes musicians sound better, and powers rockets into space.

Software is the sector loved by every other sector, and so to work in it is to be at the heart of shaping the future of our world.

Our sector needs to do a better job of telling that story. To understand this notion, watch the reaction of the next person who asks you what you do for a living. “Software” conjures images of geeks writing code through the night amid discarded pizza boxes. The profession as it’s now articulated ranks right up there with traffic warden and tax inspector as a conversation turnoff.

How about next time, instead of responding “software developer” or “software marketer,” or “software salesperson,” say “cancer curer” or “future-car builder” or “refugee rescuer”...and see how the conversation takes off.

Those are not exaggerations. Oracle software is doing all of those world-beating things—and countless more. Hundreds of thousands of organizations use our software to run every aspect of their business. Some tasks might seem mundane—payroll, procurement, document management. But see how far a company or non-profit goes if it doesn’t pay its people on time, spends more money than it needs to, or loses confidential records. When an organization doesn’t get the basics right, its progress is stunted and ultimately everyone suffers.

And then there’s the real jaw-dropping stuff: applications powered by machine learning providing predictive maintenance to ensure that huge cargo ships don’t get stranded at sea; software that creates smooth information pathways among researchers, pathologists, and clinicians so that they can realize the grand promise of “precision medicine”; voice analysis systems that help police spot inconsistencies in a suspect’s testimony; data analytics software that helps high school and college advisers get at-risk students on track before they drop out.

Think of the impact all of those “software” projects have—all the products those ships carry that are vital to everyday life; all the people who will live healthier lives; all the communities made safer; all the kids more likely to fulfill their potential.

The rise of autonomous software—software that runs almost entirely on its own, like one of those record-breaking domino runs that just requires a push of the finger to get it going—will do for the IT sector what the steam engine did for heavy industry. More than just a technological innovation, autonomous software represents a paradigm shift in how businesses resource themselves for the information age, allowing them to redeploy talented people away from mundane tasks and toward innovations, inventions, and progress.

Oracle’s lead in this emerging market is one of the reasons we aren’t just one of the biggest software companies in the world, but also one of the best and most important.

So next time you’re asked: “And what do you do for a living?” why don’t you reply: “I’m helping to build a better future as part of the most exciting profession in the world.”

Dominic Collard, based in London, is a business reporter for Oracle, covering the spectrum of cloud computing.

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