An Agile Conversion Masters Degree Programme in Software Development

Abstract

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry in New Zealand is growing rapidly. The traditional university courses are preparing an insufficient number of graduates to sustain the growth. Many of the traditional graduate students lack key soft skills that are important in team based software development. This paper reports on the development of a conversion Master of Software Development degree. The students are all graduates with little or no computer science degrees, are taught key programming skills, with a focus on agile development. The programme begins by focusing on individual programming skills through solving problems. Later industrial partners are engaged by providing industrial problems to agile teams of students. The industrial partners are active partners in the agile teams as product owners. By solving the problems, the students develop both technical and non-technical skills while utilizing the skills obtained from previous studies. The results from the first year of the programme are encouraging. A key result is that a high number of students found work in paid IT positions before graduating. The main issue of the first year was introducing too many topics at the same time, over-assessment, not enough communication and contact time, little opportunity for the students to make their own experiences, and learning by making mistakes. The programme has been changed for the next year’s cohort to introduce less topics at once, provide time and space for learning, and a redesign of scheduling assessments.

Authors

Karsten Lundqvist, Craig Anslow, Michael Homer, Kris Bubendorfer, Dale Carnegie

Published in

ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE), 2018
Michael Homer — 2018