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The Australian National University

COMP4800

Industrial Experience

All students in the Bachelor of Software Engineering (BSEng), must complete 60 days of relevant industrial experience as part of the requirements for their degree. This is in addition to the required 192 units of mandatory and elective courses.

The industrial experience component of the BSEng program is represented as COMP4800. Although this is a zero unit course, it requires a little more from you than just completing the 60 days of associated work.

The Programs and Courses entry for COMP4800 can be found here.

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Work Requirements

You are required to complete 60 days work experience. Of those 60 days, at least 20 must be in a software engineering context, at least 20 must be in a professional context, and no more than 20 can be in any employment.

You are required to organise the industrial experience yourself, and once you have completed the 60 days, you must then write a report and submit it to the COMP4800 course convenor for assessment.

Insurance

Please note the following regarding insurance:

  • If you are in a paid arrangement, you will be covered by the employer's workers' compensation scheme.

  • The ANU covers students on courses related unpaid work experience, but the insurance only applies if arranged prior to the work being undertaken. Software Engineering students can be covered for the full 60 days, but you MUST fill out the Student Activity Approval Form and be assessed for elligibility by the ANU insurance office.

Report Requirements

Your report should address three aspects of your industrial experience:

  1. Software Engineering (Technical): While at university, you are exposed to many of the underlying principles of software engineering. You will build up a reasonable knowledge of relevant methodologies, technologies, tools and ideas. However, your industrial experiences may conflict with what you have learned at university. Some employers will no doubt regard what you have learned as being impractical. Some of you will be fortunate enough to work in an organisation that employs practices that follow the software engineering principles taught at university. Either way, you should report on the benefits and drawbacks of software engineering principles, technologies and tools within the organisations where you obtain your industrial experience. The question that you should be asking is: “What principles, technologies and tools is my employer using to solve software-related problems, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of how each principle, technology and tool is applied, or not?”

  2. Software Engineering (Professional): While the understanding of principles, technologies and tools is an important facet of software engineering, professionalism is equally important. The BSEng degree is a professional degree based on the requirements of the Engineers Australia. Professional behaviour within the engineering domain means not only the possession of technical capability to solve engineering problems, but also that professional practices are always used to protect all stakeholders associated with a system being constructed or maintained. The Engineers Australia Code of Ethics describes how a professional engineer should behave and support community, environment and the engineering profession. As the ANU BSEng is an Engineers Australia accredited degree, anyone possessing this degree should support the Engineers Australia Code of Ethics. Within your industrial experience report, you should reflect on how you were able to uphold and promote professional standards, preferably using the Engineers Australia Code of Ethics as a basis for this reflection.

  3. General Employment: Employment of any kind will typically expose you to common workplace issues such as industrial relations, workplace health and safety, organisational structure, communications, social interactions and so on. Different types of organisations possess different structures and have differing attitudes towards employees. Different organisations doing the same type of business may also possess different structure. Most organisations have their own particular culture. It is important that you get to understand some of these issues in the general context of employment as well as the specific context of being employed as a software engineer. Your report will need to contain significant reference to some of these issues and how they affected you.

Rather than treating the task of writing and submitting a report on your industrial experience as just another academic task, you should see this as a serious opportunity to evaluate your software engineering education against the reality of working life. Make an attempt to identify what topics, ideas, discussions in your course had the most influence in helping you do your particular jobs. Conversely, try to identify areas of the course that you found unhelpful. Reflect on the likely reasons for this.

It may be valuable for you to think about what sort of job you see yourself doing in (say) two, three or five years time, and to include this in your report. Then if you go back and read your report later, you may be able to identify your own process of maturing as a software engineering professional.

Report Structure

While we do not specify a structure for your report, the following elements must be included:

  1. Heading: “Industrial experience report for BSEng”.

  2. Name and student number.

  3. For each different job you did:

    1. Name of Employer

    2. Job title and role.

    3. Period of employment.

    4. Contact details and/or letter from your supervisor.

    5. Brief job description.

    6. Summary of work actually done.

  4. A reflective discussion of the three areas described above.

The last item will make up most of your report. The rest is just brief factual information to set context.

Item 3(d) is required because we need to be able to verify your work activities. If you can get it, you could include a short letter from each supervisor at the end of your report. That will save us chasing them up. Alternatively an up-to-date phone number will do.

Word Count

Your report should be between 1000 and 3000 words in length.

Submission and Due Date

A satisfactory report must be submitted using Wattle by the end of the examination period of the semester in which you are enrolled.

Late submissions will not be accepted. If you do not submit a satisfactory report by the due date, you will be unenrolled from the course.

Assessment scheme

Your report will be assessed as either satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

There is no reason for any student to submit an unsatisfactory report if you approach the task in a positive, thoughtful, reflective way.

We do not anticipate issuing a fail grade to anyone submitting a COMP4800 report. You will simply not receive a degree until you have submitted a satisfactory report on your industrial experience.

A satisfactory report will:

  • contain the required elements listed above,

  • be well laid out for ease of reference and citation,

  • be easy to read and understand,

  • clearly indicate, through your reflections and evaluations of actual experience, that you have grasped the key elements of software engineering, and

  • also contain some indication of your intuition, your level of maturity, your philosophy of software engineering and will indicate how you have come to this position by drawing connections with your current knowledge and skills.

An unsatisfactory report usually:

  • does not contain several of the required elements, and/or

  • demonstrates an obvious rush just to "get it out of the way" by inclusion of clichés, motherhood statements and obvious observations, and/or

  • is written appallingly (with lots of spelling and grammatical errors to the point of incomprehensibility).

Any report deemed unsatisfactory will be returned to a student for further work and resubmission.

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