Schooling yourself in release engineering

>> Monday, March 31, 2014

Traditionally, there haven't been many courses offered in colleges or universities that cover the fundamentals of release engineering.  This means that students don't get exposed to the potential that a career in release engineering has to offer.  Conversely, it also doesn't provide students who become employed in more traditional developer roles the background regarding the complexity and challenges that arise within the scope of  release engineering.  However, this is beginning to change which is fantastic!  For example:

Release Engineering as a Discipline,  Center of Computer Science, RWTH Aachen University in Aachen Germany

Overview of the Build and Release Process, (updated link) Seneca College, Toronto


Release Engineering -- Applications of Mining Software Repositories, École Polytechnique, Montréal

Software Release Planning, University of Calgary

Seneca College Library Image ©moqubhttps://flic.kr/p/9PyVVm Creative Commons by-nc-sa 2.0


If anyone knows of other courses that are offered, I'd love to hear about them.  Maybe someday I won't have to explain to new people I meet what a release engineer does all day.  Just kidding, this will still happen :-)

7 comments:

Ian Bull 11:46 AM  

How do you define 'release engineer'? IMHO it's more than just co-ordinating the release, it's everything from SCM management, to review process design, to scalable build architecture to release planning and execution.

Do you see it this way, or is it more focused on one aspect (say software releases)?

Lynn Carter 12:15 PM  

Excellent point. Does anyone know of a taxonomy of knowledge and skills that we might use to help define the domain?

Lynn Carter 12:16 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kim Moir 12:36 PM  

Hi Ian:
Excellent question. I think it really depends on where you work and the scope of the role. For instance in a small company/project you might do all that. In a larger company/project some of these roles may be tasked to other teams. For instance, at Mozilla we have release management who do a lot of release planning work in concert with product management who decide the features to include.

If you look at the wikipedia definition I would include all the related disciplines as part of release engineering, but that is my perspective

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Release_engineering

Actually, that is on my list of things to blog about - releng 101 :-)

What do you think?

Chris Tyler 8:48 PM  

Hi Kim,

Thanks for mentioning my SBR600 "Software Build and Release" course at Seneca. The page you've linked to is a subtopic; the main page is at http://zenit.senecac.on.ca/wiki/index.php/SBR600

(Since the emergence of a new architecture is a rare thing, we're temporarily offering SPO600 "Software Portability and Optimization" in place of SBR600, focusing on portability to the new 64-bit ARM aarch64 architecture - though some of the same topics are covered. SBR600 will return in January 2015).

Incidentally, we avoid the term "Release Engineer" here because the use of the word "Engineer" is regulated. I wonder how many other jurisdictions have this issue?

Kim Moir 7:55 AM  

Thanks Chris. I've updated the link. Yes, the word engineer is protected in many jurisdictions - I live in Ontario too :-) I always forget about that. I guess I should just call myself a software developer who specializes in release engineering or something like that :-)

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