they need; there’s designing the software; there’s
testing. As I explain it to my students, think of it as
a giant jigsaw puzzle. Each of us is working on pieces
and when we’re all done, we’ll put those pieces
together. And they have to fit.”
Enrollment in the software engineering track has
exploded in recent years.
“The reason for that is pretty simple: that’s where
the jobs are,” Dunsmore says. “When the recruiters
come into the Lawson Commons area, they are typically
looking for software engineers.”
Dunsmore says companies demand versatile
recruits who possess the ability to flourish in a team
environment and are well-versed in design, program-
ming and communication. The advent of smartphone
and tablet technology has also contributed to the influx
of software engineering students. The market for new
applications is still growing, and the “on the go” format
has attracted students. A decade ago, most students
were creating products for desktop computers. That
is no longer the case.
Another spring-semester senior project, GetFit, a
phone and tablet application to help users find gyms
and workout buddies, exemplifies this trend.
“There are a lot of fitness apps out there, but there’s
no fitness app that helps you find workout partners
nearby,” says senior Gurmukh Uttamchandani. “You
can then chat or message them and schedule a workout.
We also added a custom workout feature where you can
create your own workout with the number of reps you
want to do and add it to your schedule. Anyone can see
your schedule and they’ll be able to see what time they
can work out with you.”
Nesen, who has the role of project coordinator
(just like software engineers have in industry), says
she was impressed with what the students have done.
Each project charter states the team’s goal and requires
a product backlog; a list of system requirements; design
plans; and the completion of three “sprints” every few
weeks to get the program or app to function better
until its completion.
“During the sprints, they have a team leader and
a deputy leader, just in case the team leader is gone;
Professor Dunsmore and I don’t interfere,” Nesen says.
“I think it’s a very great experience for them. When
they get to the workplace, they already know how to
collaborate with people — not just how to discuss ideas.
They learn how to use software repositories like Git
or SVN (SubVersioN), where they can collaborate and
share their code.”
Many seniors will continue to work on projects
after they graduate. Dunsmore says that although there
hasn’t been a new Facebook or Instagram forged from
his software engineering classes, some projects have
WHEN THEY GET TO
THE WORKPLACE, THEY
ALREADY KNOW HOW
TO COLLABORATE WITH
PEOPLE — NOT JUST HOW
TO DISCUSS IDEAS.
— ALINA NESEN
“There was a team that did an
app that if you were walking around
campus and wanted to go to one of
the ITaP (Information Technology at
Purdue) labs, then you could see
where the nearest lab was that had
seats available,” Dunsmore says.
“I TaP was interested in it, publicized
it and included it in their app.”
Simpson, Flick and the rest of
the Pureddit team are confident in
their skills and plan to keep their
project moving forward after finish-
ing the software engineering track.
“If we have time, we definitely
want to make this a mobile app,”
says Ryan Mason, another member
of the Pureddit team. “If we don’t get
to finish it by the end of this semester, we can work on it after the
semester is over. Most of us are avid
Reddit users, so this is definitely a
project that will hold our interest.”