Asee peer logo

Software Engineering Education Needs More Engineering

Download Paper |


2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Software Engineering Curricula

Tagged Division

Software Engineering Constituent Committee

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1166.1 - 25.1166.25



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


A. Frank Ackerman Montana Tech of the University of Montana

visit author page

A. Frank Ackerman has 50 years of experience in all phases of software development. In 1985, he founded the Institute For Zero Defect Software to do applied research, consulting, and training for software development organizations seeking to improve the reliability of their software. His personal experience has lead him to the conviction that today's development organizations can achieve significant improvement in software reliability for a small increase in effort. Some of his current research and educational activities are focused on improving current specification, coding, test, and review techniques for the development of high quality software. Ackerman has been active in either the ACM or the IEEE throughout his career. He is a Life Member of the IEEE. Presently, he is an Associate Professor of software engineering at Montana Tech of the University of Montana. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago and holds a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

visit author page


Sushil Acharya Robert Morris University

visit author page

Sushil Acharya, D.Eng., Associate Professor of software engineering, joined Robert Morris University in the spring of 2005 after serving 15 years in the Software Industry. With U.S. Airways, Acharya was responsible for creating a data warehouse and using advance data mining tools for performance improvement. With i2 Technologies, he worked on i2’s Data Mining product “Knowledge Discover Framework” and at CEERD (Thailand), he was the Product Manager of three energy software products (MEDEE-S/ENV, EFOM/ENV and DBA-VOID), which are in use in 26 Asian and seven European countries by both governmental and non-governmental organizations. Acharya has a M.Eng. in computer technology and a D.Eng. in computer science and information management with a concentration in knowledge discovery, both from the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand. His teaching involvement and research interests are in the areas of software engineering and development (verification and validation) and enterprise resource planning. He also has interest in learning objectives-based education material design and development. Acharya is a co-author of “Discrete Mathematics Applications for Information Systems Professionals," 2nd Ed., Prentice Hall. He is a life member of Nepal Engineering Association and is also a member of ASEE and ACM. Acharya is a recipient of the “Mahendra Vidya Bhusak” a prestigious medal awarded by the Government of Nepal for academic excellence. He is a member of the Program Committee of WMSCI, MEI, CCCT, EEET, ISAS, AG, KGMC, and IMCIC and is also a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Systemics, Cybernetics, and Informatics of the International Institute of Informatics and Systemics.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Software Engineering Education Needs More EngineeringThe term “software engineering” first appeared in the professional literature in the proceedingsof the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) conference in 1976. At that conference it wasrecognized that something more than computer science and programming was necessary tosuccessfully build the ever larger and more complex software systems that were required fordefense, government, and industry. These systems had become just as costly and took just aslong to build, test, install, and maintain as a battleship, a refinery, or a census. In fact, thecomputers and software that controlled these large systems were becoming ever more critical tothe success of these traditional systems or processes. The art of computer programming haddeveloped rapidly in academic departments and research laboratories without any associationwith traditional engineering. It was natural then, to approach the “software problem” by applyingtraditional engineering practices. Thus was “software engineering” born. This paper willconsider each of the major engineering practices in turn and evaluate the extent to which eachpractice is taught in academic software engineering programs. The IEEE/ACM, SoftwareEngineering 2004, Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Degree Programs in SoftwareEngineering will be used to study recommended courses and knowledge areas. This paper willreport on the extent to which each practice is actually performed in industry in so far as suchpractices have been reported in the literature. It will be shown that while much progress has beenmade in applying traditional engineering practices to software engineering, we are not quite yetat the point where “software engineers” can be admitted to the ranks of professional engineers. Inaddition we will discuss what we need to do in academia to close the gap between softwareengineers and professional engineers.

Ackerman, A. F., & Acharya, S. (2012, June), Software Engineering Education Needs More Engineering Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21923

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2012 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015