Speaker: Phill Conrad, University of California, Santa Barbara
Title: Coding to Learn vs. Learning to Code: The gap between undergraduate programming exercises and industrial software development
Most students completing a four year undergraduate degree in Computer Science will go on to a career in the software development industry. They often find a gap between the coding skills that served them well in school, as compared to the expectations of their new employer.
Industrial software development differs fundamentally from most of what students encountered in school in nearly every dimension, including size, time-frame, scope, motivation, tools and practices.
In this talk I present an overview of two projects related to understanding and bridging this gap to offer students a competitive advantage in preparing for these careers. The first is a work in progress, joint with Michelle Craig of U. Toronto, in which we analyze interviews with twenty early-career software developers that describe their experiences of this gap. I'll survey some related work, and summarize our findings. The second is the ongoing evolution and evaluation of a second-year undergraduate software development course that seeks to address this gap. A key feature of this course is the use of legacy code projects—projects that are handed down from one generation of students to the next each time the course is offered. My talk will focus on this aspect of the course, and the challenges of both implementation and evaluation.
About the speaker:
Phill Conrad is a "Lecturer with Security of Employment" (similar to U. Toronto's "Associate Professor—Teaching Stream) at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he has been on the Computer Science faculty since 2008. Prior to that, he held faculty positions at the Temple University, and the University of Delaware, where he earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science 2001. In addition to the work described in this talk, his other current projects include the development of an open-source scalable, modular autograder, a framework for generation of practice and exam problems, and a web application curriculum for the Santa Barbara High School CS Academy.