About me

Self portrait of Ian Sommerville

I wrote my first computer program in 1970 and have been involved in software engineering research and teaching since the late-1970s. So I have lived through changes to computer generations from mainframes to minicomputers to PCs and mobile devices. I started using the Internet in the early 1980s and my first web site was published in 1995.

I was born in Glasgow, Scotland and educated at Strathclyde University (BSc Physics) and St Andrews University (MSc, PhD Computer Science).

I joined the School of Computer Science at St Andrews University, Scotland in 2006 and retired in 2014. I spent 20 years (1986-2006) as a professor of software engineering in the Computing Department at Lancaster University, England. Before that, I was a lecturer in Computer Science at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh (1975-78) and at Strathclyde University, Glasgow (1978-86).

I have worked in several areas of software engineering – software tools and environments, requirements engineering, dependable systems and large-scale complex systems. Since the early 1990s, I have taken a sociotechnical and not simply a technical view of software engineering where I looked at how human. social and organizational factors affect complex systems and systems engineering processes.

I retired in 2014 and I now have the luxury of doing things that I enjoy, like programming,  and not having to do the inevitable crap that comes with all jobs. I write about some of the other things I do on my personal web site.

I’m best known professionally for my textbook on software engineering which has been in print since 1982 and which has sold over 750, 000 copies worldwide. I have recently published a new introductory text on software engineering called ‘Engineering Software Products’, in which I suggest a new approach to the teaching of software engineering.  

Contact details

Website: iansommerville.com

Email: name: software.engineering.book; domain:gmail.com

YouTube: youtube.com/user/SoftwareEngBook

Twitter: @iansommerville