Part of the series Progress in IS pp 39-50


Worker-Centric Design for Software Crowdsourcing: Towards Cloud Careers

  • Dave Murray-RustAffiliated withCISA, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh Email author 
  • , Ognjen ScekicAffiliated withDistributed Systems Group, Vienna University of Technology
  • , Donghui LinAffiliated withDepartment of Social Informatics, Kyoto University

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Crowdsourcing is emerging as a compelling technique for the cost-effective creation of software, with tools such as ODesk and TopCoder supporting large scale distributed development. From the point of view of the commissioners of software, there are many advantages to crowdsourcing work—as well as cost, it can be a more scalable process, as there is the possibility of selecting from a large pool of expertise. From the point of view of workers, there is a different set of benefits, including choice of when and how to work, providing a means to build a portfolio, and a lower level of commitment to any particular employer. The crowdsourcing of software development—in common with some other activities such as design—represents an alternative to existing mechanisms that require skilled workers. However, if crowdsourcing were to replace traditional employment for a significant proportion of software developers, the reduced levels of commitment between workers and commissioners could prove problematic for workers over time. In this paper, explore three areas of interest: (i) trust and reputation development; (ii) team selection and team building; (iii) contextualisation of the work carried out. By drawing together work in these areas from the point of view of workers rather than commissioners, we highlight some of the incipient issues with the growth of crowdsourced labour. We also explore ways in which crowdsourcing of software development—and other skilled practices—differers from microtasking.