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Conforming Curricula For Software Engineers: Observations From The Australian Experience

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.292.1 - 6.292.9



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Paper Authors

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Rick Duley

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S P Maj

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D Veal

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2793

Conforming Curricula for Software Engineers: Observations from the Australian experience

Rick Duley, S P Maj, D Veal Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia


Of the 37 universities in Australia offering undergraduate courses in computing, eleven offer courses in Software Engineering which are accredited by the Institute of Engineers, Australia and which may lead the graduate to membership of the Institute. In this way Australia has seized the initiative in the recognition of Software Engineers as professionals and the Institute has plausible claim to being the first national professional engineering body in the world to have accredited four-year undergraduate software engineering degrees as professional qualifications. Traditionally, undergraduate computer courses in Australia have fallen under one of three headings: Computer Science, Information Systems (or Information Technology) and Computer Systems Engineering. Software engineering, it is well known, fits none of these categories. Furthermore, it is long recognised that the education of practitioners in the emerging field of software engineering would require a different approach to that traditionally applied to computer science. Juggling the concurrent requirements of duration and content has required a reshaping of curricula. It is this curricular restructuring which attracted the attention of the authors who instituted a survey of the eleven universities involved in the education of potential professional Software Engineers which has produced graphical evidence confirming the distinct and individual nature of SE as a discipline and demonstrated the willingness of tertiary education institutions to respond to the needs of that discipline. This paper reports on moves in Australia towards the recognition of software engineering as a bona fide profession in its own right and presents the results of the survey showing the changes in curricular definition which have taken place as universities move to support the new discipline.

1. Background

’Software Engineering" (SE), as a term describing a distinct engineering discipline, was more of an aspiration than a fact when it was first used at NATO conferences in 1968 and 1969. Conference organisers were challenging the belief that software development was essentially art and inspired creativity rather than more traditionally based on precision, discipline and attention to detail1. Today its product controls automobiles and aircraft, watches and washing machines, rockets and robots. As that came to be the case it became evident that such a practice could no longer remain an heuristic process and Software Development (SD) has been a subject of study

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Duley, R., & Maj, S. P., & Veal, D. (2001, June), Conforming Curricula For Software Engineers: Observations From The Australian Experience Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9031

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