Is Graduate Software Engineering Discipline Hard?

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Wedge2
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Joined: 14 Jan 2020
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Location: São Paulo

25 Jun 2021, 4:01 pm

Hello,

I talked today with my supervisor about the disciplines I should enrol next semester and he suggested grad. software eng.
I kind of freaked out.
Firstly, I am about to start grad. medical physics. Although, my project involves computational stuff I am quite limited in the subject. I only know only C, I can learn C++. I am very limited at Phyton. I use Mathematica and Matlab for some stuff but that is it.

Has anyone taken this course? What languages are necessary? Are there resources to learn online? What should I study?

Thanks.



Fenn
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Joined: 1 Sep 2014
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Location: Pennsylvania

18 Jul 2021, 2:17 pm

Software Engineering has to do with the thinking and planning and working on projects with teams or people. Software is about programming in a specific language, such as C or C++ or Python. Engineering is defined by vocabulary.com this way:

"engineering
If you're good at engineering that means you're able to apply scientific or mathematical ideas to real-world projects like designing a bridge, building a radio tower, and of course, designing engines.
Think of engineering as the field where science, math, and technology meet. If you like to understand how things work and like building new things even more, then consider going into engineering. The word comes, predictably enough, from the word engine. You wouldn't want a poet designing the engine of your airplane, would you? Me neither."

When I was in college the classes I took mostly had to do with getting the computer to do specific things and "coding" - in contrast the software engineering class I took was a senior level (4th year student in a 4 year degree) class and it had more to do with planning and working together. At a graduate school level I would assume this would be about the same.

If you think about what a Civil Engineer might do before building a bridge or a building you have started to get an idea of how "Software Engineering" is different than "just coding" or "just programming". A Civil Engineer also has work to do during and after the building is built too. So does a professional Software Engineer.

One of the things usually expected in Software Engineering is special documents: Requirements Documents, High Level Design Documents, Detailed Design Documents, Software Engineering Diagrams (such as UML).

Your college probably has a "Course Catalog" with a one paragraph description of exactly what is taught and what is expected of the student. Every college will be slightly different. Your Advisor should be able to help you find the Course Catalog - you can also ask more detailed questions to the professor who is teaching the class - even before you sign up for it.

Is it hard? Yes - it requires a lot of origination and people skills, time management and project management. Basically these are all things that people diagnosed ADHD or Autisim will find challenging because of the Executive Functioning issues.

As far as programming - I wouldn't think the programming would be any harder than anything you have already done - but it might take more time - more hours per week and more hours over-all. You might be required to only to part of the programming and have the parts you did work well with the parts someone else does. You will probably have to test your software and prove that it meets the requirements (in the requirements document) - as opposed to just handing in the assignment. The software you write may be different for each team in the class or you might all be working on the same problem / requirements.


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