June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Software Engineering Constituent Committee
13.34.1 - 13.34.15
A Draft Reference Curriculum for a Masters Degree in Software Engineering: A Joint Industry, Academic, and Government Initiative
Over 50 universities in the United States and many others globally offer a masters degree in software engineering. However, the most current software engineering reference graduate curriculum was developed by the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon over 15 years ago. Given how differently today’s software is used and developed, a fresh look at graduate programs is needed. A broad coalition of professionals from academia, industry, and government is creating a new reference curriculum. This paper presents the current draft of that curriculum.
The curriculum team conducted an initial study of existing SwE graduate programs that showed broad diversity in goals, content and requirements for admission and graduation. The reference curriculum is strongly influenced by SE2004 and the SWEBOK, but also considers industry desires concerning the skills and competencies they expect to see in a graduate. It is designed to provide a graduate-level core curriculum based on a common body of knowledge and to be flexible enough for individual academic organizations to create the program that best responds to their goals, individual strengths and target student population.
Worldwide, software delivers most of the value in new products. Software is the underlying technology that advances the capabilities of many of contemporary life’s tools and toys. Medical devices, automobiles, aircraft, environmental and power generation systems, mobile phones, and entertainment components are all dependent on software-driven functionality. Much of the complexity of those products and systems resides in and is addressed by software. Because of this complexity and the inherent difficulties of software development, most of the "surprises" that occur in system integration and after product shipment and system deployment can be traced back to incorrect software implementation.
The ability of any large company or government agency to manage its projects and organization depends heavily on sophisticated software systems that support its business and technical processes, ranging from logistics systems to manufacturing systems to customer relationship management systems. Yet, reports from the U.S. Government Accountability Office1, the Standish Group2, and others have painted the same story for years – that creating and evolving large-scale software on schedule, on budget, with expected functionality, is uncommon.
Software engineering (SwE) is the acknowledged discipline by which large-scale, trustworthy, and complex software is developed. Many universities teach software engineering at the undergraduate level. More than 30 colleges and universities helped create the reference curriculum for undergraduate SwE education that the ACM and IEEE published in 20043. Many universities offer a masters degree in SwE. Yet, it was back in 1991 when the Software
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