SECDEP: Software engineering curricula development and evaluation process using SWEBOK

Journal Article
Alarifi, Abdulrahman . 2016
Magazine \ Newspaper: 
Information and Software Technology
Volume Number: 
74
Pages: 
114 to 126
Publication Abstract: 

Context: Software engineering (SE) has a multidisciplinary and dynamic nature that makes it challenging to design its educational material. Guide to the software engineering body of knowledge (SWEBOK) which has evolved to become ISO/IEC 19759 standard has identified various knowledge areas to be part of any SE curricula. Although there is a number of studies that address the gap between SE curricula and software industry, the literature lacks defining a process that can be leveraged for continuously improving SE curricula to fulfill the software development market demands.

Objective: In this paper, we propose a Software Engineering Curricula Development and Evaluation Process (SECDEP) that takes advantage of the SWEBOK guidelines to improve the quality of SE programs based on objective and subjective evidences.

Method: Our process consists of multi-steps in which the local software market needs and the target SE program objectives and constraints are all taken into consideration. As a case study, we follow our process to investigate the core SE courses delivered as part of the SE curricula in a set of universities in our region.

Results: The conducted case study identifies the factors that might contribute to mitigating the skills shortages in the target software market. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our process by identifying the weaknesses of the studied SE curricula and presenting recommendations to align the studied curricula with the demands of the target software market, which assists SE educators in the design and evaluation of their SE curricula.

Conclusion: Based on the obtained results, the studied SE curricula can be enhanced by incorporating latest SE technologies, covering most of the SWEBOK knowledge areas, adopting SE curricula standards, and increasing the level of industrial involvement in SE curricula. We believe that achieving these enhancements by SE educators will have a positive impact on the SE curricula in question.