Impact of Digitization and Human Capital

Part 6: Improving Efficiency by Cross-sharing Experiences

CHUMA Hiroyuki
Faculty Fellow, RIETI

This time, I would like to introduce GitHub, a software development platform, as a case example of how digitization made it possible to cross-share experiences. According to Toshiaki Kurokawa, a computer science specialist and software developer, it has become a standard practice in software development to use GitHub as a platform on which developers with various know-how from all over the world work together, regardless of their organizational affiliations.

What is interesting about GitHub is its innovative system enabling developers worldwide to share what they are learning day by day with others. Pieces of source code developed by individual developers in the course of their work on the platform are automatically patternized into code snippets for use in programming, and accumulated as such on the GitHub site. Such code snippets are displayed as they become available on PC screens standardized for use by developers.

Thus, developers around the world can develop applications by combining a variety of code snippets made available on the GitHub platform. Furthermore, certain development tools—those with basic AI capabilities—would help discover programing errors and provide advice on programming.

When knowledge learned in practice by a variety of people is embedded into standard development screens as automatic patterns, developers can improve their work efficiency significantly by using them. Therefore, the availability of such a development screen or an environment in which other people's knowledge is readily available makes a huge difference in the efficiency of application development. It also enables developers to compete and collaborate with diverse cohorts, whereby they can enhance their self-evolving capabilities and secure real options to choose from in formulating business strategies.

Apart from GitHub, another useful site is Stack Overflow, which hosts Q&A for programmers. This enables developers to solve their problems as they arise, thereby proceeding with their work with a sense of assurance. Users of the site are diverse, ranging from freelancers to engineers working for leading IT companies and university researchers, and they can make their professional contributions wherever they are.

Some people may be concerned about the possibility that such cross-sharing of experiences may lead to the leakage of business secrets or infringement of intellectual property rights. Concerning this point, I will discuss it in the next article.

>> Original text in Japanese

* Translated by RIETI.

May 24, 2017 Nihon Keizai Shimbun

March 6, 2018

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