UL teams up with tech leaders to shake up computer science education

24 Feb 2021

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The university has developed an immersive software engineering programme that will put students in residencies with Stripe, Zalando, Intercom and more.

The University of Limerick (UL) has teamed up with tech companies in a bid to shake up computer science education in Ireland.

It is launching a new integrated undergraduate and master’s degree in partnership with more than a dozen tech companies from Ireland and around the world, including Analog Devices, Stripe, Zalando, Intercom, Shopify and Manna Aero.

The Immersive Software Engineering (ISE) programme at UL is seeking to meet increased global demand for developers. It will incorporate the concept of residencies, where students can bring what they’ve learned in the classroom into these tech companies.

Prof Kerstin Mey, president of UL, described the new programme as “incredibly exciting”.

“Our industry partners have been invaluable in the conception of this disrupting programme, bringing their incredible industry experience to the benefit of our future graduates and effectively doing something that has never been done before in shaping and changing how computer science is taught in Ireland,” she said.

Bringing diversity to software engineering

During the four years of the course, ISE students will complete five paid residencies. Each of these will be between three and six months long, giving students multiple opportunities to work with real-world tech teams.

Classes will be held in a dedicated studio, purpose-built for the course. UL said that students will work in small teams led by professors to advance important research and build new ideas.

“We want this course to change the way Ireland’s highest performing students think about computer science as a career option,” said Prof Stephen Kinsella of UL, co-director of the programme.

“We want to bring a more diverse audience to computer science. And we want ISE graduates to be the premier computer science talent around the world.”

The ISE course has received support from Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and Frontline Ventures. The industry partners are Analog Devices, Aer Lingus, Fenergo, First Derivatives, Frontline, Intercom, Manna Aero, MongoDB, Personio, Provizio, Shopify, Shutterstock, SoapBox Labs, Stripe, Viotas, Watershed, Workday and Zalando.

John Collison, co-founder of Stripe, said software engineers are in high demand in some of the fastest growing industries and that ISE “seeks to provide a great path for more secondary students – especially girls – into technology”.

Vincent Roche, CEO of Analog Devices, added that this demand for engineers is likely to grow in the coming years.

“We are delighted to work with UL to ensure students are getting real-world, hands-on experience and are proud to collaborate with the university and great organisations such as Stripe to help mould the next generation’s engineers.”

Sarah Harford was sub-editor of Silicon Republic