DCU School of Computing launches new degree to produce top programmers

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New computing degree aimed at students with prior skills and passion for programming

DCU's School of Computing is launching an innovative degree programme designed to produce more graduates with the skill-sets necessary to fill the ICT skills gap and meet the demands of employers both at home and abroad.  The BSc in Problem Solving and Software Development (PSSD), the first of its kind in Ireland, is aimed at students who can demonstrate a passion for, and ability in, computer programming and ICT.  Subject to successful accreditation and approval by DCU’s Academic Council, the programme will admit its first entrants in 2013. 

 The main departure from the normal DCU entry route will be the requirement for each applicant to develop and submit a portfolio of his or her work in programming and ICT skills. This portfolio, similar to that required for degrees in music and art, will have to demonstrate the student's prior ability in computing. Those applicants with portfolios of sufficient quality will be called for interview and success at the interview will ensure an offer, subject to minimum CAO points and maths requirements (C3 in Higher Maths or A1 in Ordinary Maths). Mature students may be given unconditional offers.

 Dr David Gray, the leader and co-proposer of the new degree programme, describes the delivery of the programme and its entry requirements as being "designed to recruit and produce the calibre of programmer that will be excited rather than intimidated by new problems.  The maths requirement emphasises the need for top software developers to have a solid foundation in logic and mathematics."

 This degree will foster the 21st century skills espoused by DCU's Generation 21 initiative. More than half of the programme will comprise significant software development projects, typically carried out in teams as in the real world of software development. While students will be mentored closely, particularly in the first two years, they will be expected to become independent learners, excellent communicators and team-workers, but above all, expert problem-solvers and programmers.

 There will also be significant industry engagement during the four-year programme of study. Students will spend all of their third year on INTRA - DCU's industrial training or internship programme - and employers are already enthusiastic about the programme’s potential, and are offering to help mentor students' projects. 

 Microsoft’s Academic Engagement Officer, Michael Meagher said “Problem Solving & Software Development allows students who are passionate about technology to take a new pathway to gaining a qualification in computing. Microsoft are very excited about this new degree programme and see this as an innovative new way for students to gain access to a university education. The content looks at real life scenarios and, working with cutting edge technology, these graduates will be highly sought after.”

Further details can be found at http://pssd.computing.dcu.ie

This degree programme is subject to accreditation