Maintaining Knowledge Currency in the 21st Century

10th SEI Conference on Software Engineering Education and Training, Virginia Beach, Virginia, April 1997.

Paul Ammann and Jeff Offutt.


Software engineering is a rapidly changing discipline, and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. This pace of change brings both problems and opportunities to universities that teach software engineering. Engineers are no longer satisfied with one or two initial university education experiences, but by necessity are becoming lifetime learners, with frequent trips back to educational providers. This recurring education is needed to update engineers' knowledge with new ideas and concepts, and to update engineers' skills. In this paper, we take the position that universities can and should respond to this situation with a new model for graduate software engineering education, which we call professional currency certificates. These courses should offer the depth of knowledge and university academic credit that traditional academic courses offer, but with the convenience and practical nature of corporate training courses. This hybrid model results in a new kind of course that more closely meets the needs of lifetime learners.

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