Oswego adds in-demand software engineering major

computer labSUNY Oswego has received approval to become the first public college in New York to offer a software engineering degree.

“At a time when our state and nation face a shortage of engineers and computing professionals, this program will enable us to recruit the state’s best and brightest students into a career field that offers lucrative job opportunities and helps to address New York’s growing need for computer specialists,” SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley said.

While other SUNY schools have computer engineering programs, the bachelor’s degree in software engineering is unique to Oswego.

“As we talked with businesses, industries and nonprofits in the region, we continuously heard there was a high interest in an engineering program and engineering graduates,” said Dr. Susan Coultrap-McQuin, Oswego’s provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Rameen Mohammadi, associate provost and a member of the computer science faculty, noted the opportunities at local large employers like Lockheed-Martin and Sensis, as well as smaller contracting companies in the Utica-Rome area. Employers told the college that searching nationally is expensive and that there should be plenty of placements for Oswego graduates, he added.

The new major evolved from Oswego’s longstanding bachelor’s program in computer science and newer graduate program in human-computer interaction, Mohammadi said. Components of software engineering were already embedded in introductory computer science courses, he added.

Students pursuing the new degree can focus on human-computer interaction, with courses tying into the master’s degree program, or “middleware” development, Mohammadi said. Middleware is the software that connects network applications and components.

“Software engineering students will complete a yearlong capstone experience where they will solve real problems for real clients,” Mohammadi said. “We felt it was essential for someone receiving a software engineering degree to have that experience.”

SUNY Oswego will also pursue the highest educational standard in the field from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. “We will be seeking ABET accreditation as soon as that is possible,” Coultrap-McQuin said. “The program was designed with the accreditation standards in mind,” she added.

The new program will open up a new field to students in public higher education, Stanley noted. “It is our goal to make education accessible and affordable to more students, and the new software engineering program is a major step in that direction,” she said.

With the software engineering major now approved, Coultrap-McQuin said SUNY Oswego will look to establish additional programs in engineering to meet other demands in the field.

“Business and industry look to colleges and universities to educate the engineers and computer scientists who are needed for today’s workforce and the workforce of the future,” Stanley said. “We have an obligation to meet their needs.”

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PHOTO CAPTION: Software talk—Jim Early, assistant professor of information science and a member of Oswego faculty who will be teaching software engineering, talks about the program with senior computer science major Ryan Mann in Snygg Hall.

(Posted: Sep 04, 2008)

Tags: software engineering, science, none, james early, innotech