(Leading to a futuristic software engineering degree in Sri Lanka)
University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is a well-known provider of career-focused education degrees that gives students the tools needed to thrive on the global stage and is benchmarked as a university that is at the forefront of developing degrees in evolving disciplines like Software Engineering. In 2010, UCLan became the first UK modern university to appear in the QS World University Rankings. In 2015 the Centre for World University Rankings placed UCLan in the top 3.8 percent of all worldwide universities. Locally, UCLan is affiliated with Universal College Lanka (UCL), who is known for establishing partnerships with top-ranked universities in the world.
UCL’s collaboration with UCLan has resulted in bringing students in Sri Lanka, the opportunity to study for the industry renowned BSc (Hons) in Software Engineering that is designed with employability in mind. It has been developed in consultation with industry experts so that the curriculum and experience gained by students is one that has all the components that are at the forefront of advancements in technology. This is aligned with UCL’s vision to develop a highly skilled workforce for current and future industry needs in Sri Lanka.
Providing an insight into the International Foundation Programme and the degree curriculum, Mr. Thepul Ginige, Senior Lecturer and Programme Coordinator at UCL stated “use of technology is increasing most parts of everyday life, and there’s a constant need for the software behind it to be updated, maintained and improved. Our foundation and degree programmes, therefore, focus on and develops a student’s software development skills in a practical and hands-on manner. It is a diverse course, that covers all the basic knowledge required and a range of technologies from mobile app development to enterprise applications across the whole software development lifecycle, from understanding requirements through to design and implementation and testing.
Students enter the degree programme upon completion of the foundation programme. In the first year, students will develop interactive games using 3D-graphics, Computer Networks and Security and System Analysis and Database Design. In Year 2, they work in a team to design and develop substantial, realistic applications and learn how to apply industry-standard software development techniques to traditional and distributed applications, design efficient databases using a leading database management system and to programme effectively in Java and C++ and Mobile applications.
They study communications and networks as well as participate in a team-based software development project to apply their project management skills. By Year 3, they will be ready to tackle complex, concurrent systems involving multiple, interacting components, where they will take a one-year industrial placement in one of the top 25 blue chip companies in the country and get opportunities to work on live projects for real clients, thoroughly preparing them for immediate employment.
These contemporary and professionally focused opportunities equip our graduates with the expertise needed to take their dreams to elevated heights, perfectly blending high-quality academic study with real-world practice to offer a learning experience that is truly value-based and gives students the opportunity to build a portfolio of software projects that they can showcase to potential employers. Students are encouraged to do a 1-year internship after the 2nd year and return to finish the final year of study.” Mr. Ginige also emphasised on further value based activities that are carried out at the UCL.
These comprise of guest lecturers from top industry personnel that share their expertise, providing professional insight and enhancing learning experiences. Others included training workshops that develop and enhance management skills and knowledge of organisational contexts. Ginige concluded “Making sure what students learn with us is relevant, up to date and what employers are looking for is our priority. Therefore, the grounding they get with us will help them to challenge conventional thinking and develop their own solutions to the many issues that face software engineering and provide them a pathway to study and specialize in any of the futuristic technologies in the industry.”