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Software engineering is the process of analyzing user needs and designing, constructing, and testing end user applications that will satisfy these needs through the use of software programming languages. It is the application of engineering principles to software development. In contrast to simple programming, software engineering is used for larger and more complex software systems, which are used as critical systems for businesses and organizations.
A software engineer takes the software needs of end users into account and consequently develops or designs new applications. Furthermore, software engineering may involve the process of analyzing existing software and modifying it to meet current application needs.
As computer hardware becomes cheaper, the focus transfers to software systems. Large software systems may be more complex than the hardware used to run them, so there is great demand for best practices and engineering processes that can be applied to software development. There must be discipline and control during software engineering, much like any complex engineering endeavor.
In modern consumer electronics, devices in direct competition often have similar hardware and processing power, but the user experience will vary greatly depending on the software being used.