The Software Hut (a microcosm of a real Software House) was started in 1991 and gives students an opportunity to experience the processes of engineering a real software system for a real client in a competitive environment. It is a compulsory module for second-year Computer Science students and around 200 students participate per year.
The taught element covers the tools and technologies needed to manage software development projects successfully and to deliver software products that meet both client expectations and quality standards. Students use skills learnt in their first year (i.e. team management and agile workflow) to meet standards.
Topics that are put into practice include: the requirements engineering process; software modelling and testing; using specific software development framework(s); group project management etc. Tutorials take the form of project meetings, and so are concerned with team management, conduct of meetings and action minutes.
This student enterprise is curriculum-based and aims to provide students with the opportunity
- to gain experience in dealing with external clients and in understanding and managing clients expectations
- to experience, in a competitive environment, the practical problems of constructing, managing and deploying a medium-sized software project, producing the associated user documentation and providing training and online support
- to examine selectively and use some of the tools and techniques available to solve these practical problems
- to understand the processes involved in the quality assurance of software and accompanying documentation
- to apply consistently programming standards
- to develop team working skills
- to prepare students for higher level project work, such as the individual Research Project and the Genesys Solutions software company in their third or fourth years.