The MSc in Software Development provides a year of intensive education in software engineering and is ideal for graduates of disciplines other than computing.
This course is designed to develop the technical, analytical and professional skills required to take on software development roles within the IT industry.
Software development skills, such as programming, are essential to the technological evolution and advancement of most sectors within the economy. As a result, there is a very strong demand for software professionals.
The programme aims to:
◦provide a solid understanding of software engineering principles and techniques
◦develop the ability to analyse software problems, create and evaluate software designs and develop and appropriately test software solutions
◦foster critical analysis and evaluative skills pertaining to software engineering
The programme is separated into three parts; a foundational element covering the basics of software development and programming; an advanced element where you can tailor your area of specialism; and finally a substantial individual project.
Most foundational modules are studied in the first semester and cover introductory programming using the Java programming language alongside the foundations of software engineering and databases. Coverage of more advanced algorithmic and object-oriented programming continues into the second semester. The foundation modules are intended to provide students with an essential grounding in software engineering in a manner that is consistent with Level M requirements.
The second semester provides a number of advanced software engineering modules which permit specialism within key areas of software development. The advanced modules currently encompass aspects such as Requirements Engineering, Software Quality, Software Design Principles and Patterns, and Software Testing and Verification. Alongside these there is an opportunity to take an introductory module in Capital Markets which would help to prime students for software development roles within the financial sector.
The combination of lectures, laboratory work, tutorials and group-based projects employed throughout the foundational and advanced elements equips students with the skills needed to both design and implement complex software systems.
Three month summer projects are taken individually with supervision from a member of the School's teaching staff. The projects permit students to combine and apply the skills gained within individual modules towards the creation of a significant software artefact. Projects can be selected by students from a list put forward by the local software industry and the School. Where appropriate an industrial co-supervisor will be assigned.
Software Testing and Verification
The MSc in Software Development is, by its nature, an intensive and practical programme of study. Students build strong software development skills by putting theory into practice and this is reflected within the assessment. A mixture of individual and group based projects, assignments and practical examinations provide the primary means of assessment within modules, with written examinations also employed for some modules. The summer project is assessed through a written dissertation alongside the presentation and demonstration of the created software artefact.
The School has strong links with the local, national and international software companies situated around the University. Students have ample opportunity to meet and engage with employers through hosted careers fairs, guest lectures and industrial facing demonstrations. Where possible, MSc dissertations will be set and co-supervised by an industrial partner and may involve an on-site placement.
Employment opportunities in software engineering are excellent as evidenced through the consistent and continued growth of the software sector. A career within the profession is not only well remunerated but also rewarding, with software professionals able to select between a range of career progression paths. Given the diversity of career paths, the communicative, business-related, client-facing, analytical and evaluative skills gained from a primary degree are strongly valued by IT employers and will help augment the employment opportunities of graduates from this MSc.
Visit the MSc in Software Development page on the Queen’s University Belfast website for more details!