Campus & Community

Stevens Faculty Work Highlighted in IEEE Software Magazine

A paper taking an in-depth look at the GSwE2009 Guidelines was published in the July 2011 issue of IEEE Software. Co-authors from Stevens include Dr. Mark Ardis, Distinguished Service Professor in the School of Systems & Enterprises (SSE), Kahina Lasfer, a PhD student in SSE at Stevens, and Dr. Art Pyster, Distinguished Research Professor and the Deputy Executive Director of the Department of Defense Systems Engineering Research Center, which is managed by Stevens. The other authors are Dr. Pierre Bourque, École de Technologie Supérieure, Dr. Thomas Hilburn, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Scott Lucero, Department of Defense, Dr. James McDonald, Monmouth University, and Dr. Mary Shaw, Carnegie Mellon University.
The guidelines, development of which were overseen by Dr. Pyster, were originally put into effect in late 2009 to reflect software’s greater role in today’s systems and recognize the growing interdependence of software and systems engineering. They were developed to improve existing software engineering graduate programs from the viewpoints of universities, students, graduates, software builders, and software buyers. The guidelines are intended to increase enrollment in graduate software engineering programs by making the programs more valuable to potential students and employers.
“The new software engineering guidelines incorporate more systems engineering material, an area of particular strength for Stevens,” explained Dr. Pyster last August. “We are uniquely positioned to implement these new guidelines to meet the changing needs of the software engineering workforce.”
The two-year project included participation by more than 40 experts from academia, industry, government, and professional societies.
Now, Dr. Ardis et al. have published a paper outlining the features of the GSwE2009 guidelines, which have been used extensively since their development. Some examples of how they’ve been used include:
·         As the foundation for a related curriculum effort on software assurance for the Department of Homeland Security, the Master of Software Assurance (MSwA) project
·         In the creation of similar guidelines for systems engineering on the BKCASE project
·         In creating at least two new graduate software engineering programs, and they have been used to revise several existing programs
·         To influence revisions to SWEBOK, the Guide to the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge
“The paper describes the guiding principles of the GSwE2009 project, including the need for ongoing review in our rapidly-changing field,” said Dr. Ardis. “It provides a flexible architecture for implementing a graduate software engineering program based on the guidelines. This architecture was helpful to other curricular efforts, such as MSwA, and will be for any program wishing to review their curricula.”
In addition the paper describes the expected background of students entering graduate software engineering programs and describes the expected outcomes of these students. Along with a brief overview of the history of software engineering education, it details strategies that might be used to help students who are not fully equipped for such a graduate level program.
Other important contributions of the paper include a description of the process followed to create GSwE2009 and the extensive review process. The abstract of the paper follows:
The importance and complexity of software systems require software engineers who possess the appropriate skills, knowledge and experience to develop, maintain and acquire such systems. Graduate education is a key ingredient in advancing the state of professional software engineering practice. This paper describes the principal features of a new reference curriculum for master's programs: Graduate Software Engineering 2009 (GSwE2009): Curriculum Guidelines for Graduate Degree Programs in Software Engineering. These features include the GSwE2009 guiding principles, preparatory knowledge, student outcomes, curriculum architecture, and a core body of knowledge. In addition, the paper includes discussion of the GSwE2009 project organization, process, and activities.
More information and related reports about the GSwE2009 guidelines may be found at the project's website: