Program arms students for growing software field

Focus is on future problem solvers and managers

by Andy Poon staff writer

A new 16-month program that prepares science and engineering graduates for careers in the burgeoning field of computer software systems is off to a flying start.

With only 25 spots in the inaugural class up for grabs, students faced fierce competition to get into the Master of Software Systems (MSS) degree program in the Centre for Integrated Computer Systems Research (CICSR). The program was launched in January.

"We had more than 60 students apply for the program in one month," says Adjunct Prof. Panos Nasiopoulos, the program's director. He says the number of applicants would likely have been even higher had they not pre-screened as many applicants as possible.

"The fact is the software industry is probably the hottest industry right now," Nasiopoulos says. He cites research which suggests B.C. needs at least 5,000 software engineers with 300,000 needed in North America overall.

In the MSS degree program, students take 30 credits of core classes over three semesters with a four-month paid industry internship during the fall term.

The program's main focus is to provide knowledge of the concepts, tools and techniques involved in developing the oftware that is used to run computers, operate networks and allow people to work with computers. Applications range from microwave operating software to hybrid systems that control airplanes.

As Nasiopoulos puts it, the goal is to turn out not only programmers and software engineers but problem solvers and managers.

"Yes, we want more software engineers and programmers but we also want to turn out managers who can understand what their team of programmers face and what are realistic demands to ask of them," he says.

The program is offered by CICSR in collaboration with the Faculty of Science's Computer Science Dept. and the Faculty of Applied Science's Electrical and Computer Engineering Dept.

The class will be expanded to 50 students next January and potential students are encouraged to apply as early as March 1. The deadline for applications is July 31.

more information
Visit or contact the MSS office at or 604-822-8807.