[clug] Software Engineering

Jacinta Richardson jarich at perltraining.com.au
Fri Sep 1 12:33:08 GMT 2006

Tarrant wrote:

> I'm considering studying either Bachelor of IT, or Software Engineering at
> ANU (not next year, but the year after - deferring to earn that precious
> thing called money) but I am having difficulty making the decision between
> the two for a list of reasons. Just wondering if any of the fellow members
> are currently studying, or have studied software engineering - and if you
> are happy to answer some questions I may have, could you please drop a
> message to Tarrant at aeria-design.com

G'day Tarrant,

I studied Software Engineering at the University of Melbourne, which I assume
has some differences, and some similarities to the ANU's course.  The University
of Melbourne doesn't have a Bachelor of IT as such, but rather a Bachelor of
Computer Science and also a Bachelor of Information Systems.  I'll describe and
contrast these degrees and hopefully you'll find something useful within.

The Software Engineering degree is a 4 year degree in the Engineering Faculty.
As well as a fair grounding in Computer Science subjects it also requires at
least second year maths, some statistics, management and electrical engineering.
 I believe this is based on the requirements set down by the IEEE.  This is an
engineering course and you will learn the importance of requirements, quality
assurance, design and testing.

The Computer Science course is a 3 year degree which balances between the
Science and Engineering Faculty.  It provides a good background in how to
program (non-language specific), algorithms (including understanding
complexity), testing, automation (and build processing), creating libraries (and
shared objects etc), graphics, operating system essentials, etc.

The Information Systems course is a 3 year degree which appears to belong to the
Business school.  It provides some background in how to program (Java and Visual
Basic) and in-depth understanding how to use existing tools to their highest

Which is the best course really depends on the student and what they want to do
with their life.  If you are content with the idea of being a developer for the
rest of your life, then go with Comp Sci.  If you're tempted by the idea of
being an analyst or project manager seriously consider a Soft Eng degree.

I chose Software Engineering because it had the higher Entrance requirement
(which is a bad way to choose a course, but has worked for me).  I have since
found that my Software Engineering education has made a big difference to my
working life.  Although *most* of what I do just uses skills I learned from
Comp. Sci. knowing *how* to generate a Software Requirements Specification, and
why they're good things has proven invaluable, knowing *how* to formalise things
is great too.  Likewise understanding statistics has helped me make good
business decisions.  It was a heck of a lot harder than a standard Comp Sci
degree would have been, but now that the pain has receded, I believe it was
worth it.

If the comparison were between the Comp. Sci degree and the Info Sys. degree I'd
have to recommend Comp. Sci. every time.  You may not learn skills that
immediately transfer to your work place.  For example, you're unlikely to learn
Perl, PHP or Python, and you might not learn Java; but you will learn
programming fundamentals which puts you in a good position to pick languages up.
 Likewise, a good Comp Sci course will teach you to evaluate the complexity of
an algorithm, and hopefully that will prevent you from writing a solution which
is O(N^3) when it's only a little more difficult to make it O(N).  The Comp Sci
degree is lots of fun and has very few contact hours in the final year, so more
time for drinking beer and partying (or working... if you're into that kind of

I hope some of this helps.


   ("`-''-/").___..--''"`-._          |  Jacinta Richardson         |
    `6_ 6  )   `-.  (     ).`-.__.`)  |  Perl Training Australia    |
    (_Y_.)'  ._   )  `._ `. ``-..-'   |      +61 3 9354 6001        |
  _..`--'_..-_/  /--'_.' ,'           | contact at perltraining.com.au |
 (il),-''  (li),'  ((!.-'             |   www.perltraining.com.au   |

More information about the linux mailing list