Workshop on Education and Training

This is part of the TOOLS USA 2000 conference, Pete McBreen is a workshop co-chair for Workshop on Education and Training see http://www.tools.com/usa/program/wet.html.

Industry training and retraining programs for career changers and skills upgrading

Industry workshop theme

The claim is always being made that there is a shortage of skilled developers, but maybe the real shortage is that of good training and retraining programs. Since the 1970's there have been industrial training courses designed to allow people to start a career in software development. Historically these courses have ranged from 8 weeks to 9 months in duration, though current practice seems to have opted for a 6 month course. This workshop is intended to explore the needs of people entering a software development career with a view to determining what software developers need to know in order to be effective.

These retraining programs are not the same as traditional academic software courses, mainly due to the participants desire to have a shorter program that allows them to get back into the workforce sooner than would be possible with a traditional degree program. Similarly, industry short courses are inappropriate since they do not provide sufficient depth or breadth to meet the needs of participants.

Some companies have attempted to construct a retraining program by assembling a series of industry short courses together but experience to date with this approach has been mixed. The main problem appears to be in integrating the courses so that the knowledge and skills are transferable into working on real world projects, as opposed to learning how to solve small parts of toy problems.

Workshop aims

The intention of this workshop is to identify what is needed in order to provide effective retraining programs. In pursuit of this aim, participation is open to everyone who has an interest in improving the quality of software development. By intention and design, this workshop has a pragmatic stance that asks "What retraining programs are needed to ensure software quality, given that the bulk of practitioners in the field do not have Computer Science or Software Engineering backgrounds?"

Participants are invited to submit a position paper that outlines their thoughts, experiences and viewpoints with respect to how retraining programs can contribute to software quality.

Possible areas to be covered by the position papers include:-

Position Papers

To participate in this workshop please send your position paper in HTML format to petemcbreen@acm.org with the subject line "TOOLS 2000 WET position Paper." Early registration for this workshop ends 30-June-2000, see TOOLS Registration.

All of the position papers will be posted here, please read them prior to attending the workshop.

Pete McBreen's position paper

Format

To allow maximum time for exploration of ideas during the workshop, all position papers will be posted to the web, with only a short period being allocated to "question time" to clarify our understanding of each others position papers.

Deliverable

The output of this workshop will be a discussion document that identifies the requirements for retraining programs from industry, academic and participant viewpoints, together with the constraints on these programs. From these participants will synthesize a realistic set of goals and expectations that industry should have for graduates of this type of retraining program.

Another possible deliverable is notes relating to realistic expectations for the transitioning of teams to object technology through the use of these retraining programs.

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Pete McBreen, pete@mcbreen.ab.ca