Researchers at the University of Cambridge in England have found that the cost of dealing with computer bugs totals more than $307 billion worldwide. While some degree of debugging is to be expected in the software development process, developers spend around half their programming time finding and fixing bugs, the team at the university’s Judge Business School noted, according to the Cambridge News.
Mapping the cost of labor onto the number of work hours spent finding, addressing and debugging software flaws, the research team was able to develop an estimate of the expense created by error-laden programming. This amount is expected to grow further as the software industry continues to expand. Gartner’s most recent global IT spending forecast projected a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6 percent for the enterprise software market through 2016. With much of this change expected to be driven by new security and data management tools, the stakes for avoiding errors may be on the rise as well.
Judge Business School’s team suggested that much of the challenge of dealing with software bugs arose during the development process for new code. By adopting a more proactive coding approach, developers might be able to reduce the expenses associated with debugging later.
“It’s a lot of time, a lot of effort, but that’s the thing when you are writing software, you are generally writing something new,” Tom Britton, a Judge Business School masters student on the research team, told the Cambridge News.
According to a survey by Judge Business School researchers, developers using a source code analysis tool during the coding process spent an average of 26 percent less time on debugging, the Cambridge News reported. One of the greatest inefficiencies during the development process is identifying where errors have occurred. Using methods such as static analysis can substantially reduce the time spent looking for bugs, improving developers’ efficiency and cutting costs spent on handling flaws.
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