Meet the next generation of software developers

5 Aug 2010

The next generation of software developers who will be capable of tackling complex mission critical enterprise applications are here – and they come fom an unexpected place, the North West of Ireland.

Students taking the Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) Enterprise Applications Development course spend one semester working for SITA, which provides them with insight into commercial software development and business experience. This course, developed in conjunction with SITA, provides both a post-graduate computing diploma and Master of Science qualifications.

“The Enterprise Applications Development course allows graduates to exercise their skills in a live environment while gaining experience in a world-class company,” explained Thomas Dowling, head of Department of Computing at LYIT.

“Our aim is to provide our students with good employment prospects by turning out excellent candidates for companies both here in the North West and across the country.”

SITA has more than 115 employees based at its development centre in Letterkenny, including the eight graduates from LYIT’s Enterprise Applications Development course.

“SITA designs and implements mission-critical enterprise applications that are used every day in the global air transport industry, from airport operations to passenger systems and baggage management,” Maurice Maher, SITA’s director of software development in Ireland.

Global perspective

“In fact, almost every airline and airport in the world does business with SITA, so during their time with us, the LYIT students experience the complexity of developing enterprise applications for use across this fascinating industry.”

Technologies the students put into practice at SITA include Silverlight, .Net (Dot Net), WPF, C#, Java Services (SOA), Web Services, Hibernate, Spring, Linux, Oracle and SQL. These are used in systems to run major international airports; enable airlines to embrace web technologies; and integrate the multiple complex systems used across the air transport industry.

LYIT graduate Ray Hogan said: “My time spent at SITA has been invaluable. The experience I’ve gained with both cutting-edge technologies and development practices has far surpassed any of my expectations. During the course at LYIT we were studying, using and comparing the leading enterprise technologies and architectures used in real-world business applications. However, it wasn’t until the placement that I had the opportunity to use these technologies extensively and combine them in a practical sense. It is like the equivalent of a medical student making the transition from research in a controlled laboratory environment to performing brain surgery.”

Maher added: “As a local employer, SITA is committed to contributing to the Letterkenny community, including working closely with LYIT. We believe in the importance of solid training for the next generation of software developers and with the LYIT placement programme, we have the added benefit of assessing potential candidates for future job opportunities.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years