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Knowledge and Skills Requirements for Software Developer Students

Authors: J. Liebenberg, M. Huisman, E. Mentz


It is widely acknowledged that there is a shortage of software developers, not only in South Africa, but also worldwide. Despite reports on a gap between industry needs and software education, the gap has mostly been explored in quantitative studies. This paper reports on the qualitative data of a mixed method study of the perceptions of professional software developers regarding what topics they learned from their formal education and the importance of these topics to their actual work. The analysis suggests that there is a gap between industry’s needs and software development education and the following recommendations are made: 1) Real-life projects must be included in students’ education; 2) Soft skills and business skills must be included in curricula; 3) Universities must keep the curriculum up to date; 4) Software development education must be made accessible to a diverse range of students.

Keywords: software industry, software development education, IT workforce, computing curricula

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