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BSc Computer Science and Mathematics / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Software Engineering 1

Course unit fact file
Unit code COMP23311
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course covers many aspects of software engineering and contains much essential information about working with a large codebase authored by many programmers, most of whom are not around.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Introduction to Programming 1 COMP16321 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Introduction to Programming 2 COMP16412 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Students who are not from the School of Computer Science must have permission from both Computer Science and their home School to enrol.


This unit aims to help students appreciate the reality of team-based software development in an industrial environment, with customer needs, budget constraints and delivery schedules to be met.  Through hands-on experience with an industry-strength development toolkit applied to a large open source software system, students will gain an appreciation of the challenges of green and brownfield software development, along with an understanding of the core software engineering concepts that underpin current best practice.  Students will have the core skill set needed by a practicing software engineer, and will be ready to become productive and valuable members of any modern software team.

Assessment is based on:

  1. Two team-based exercises, making changes to the open source system used in the course unit.  Together these contribute towards 60% of the total course unit mark.
  2. Two individual coursework exercises together contributing towards 10% of the mark for the course unit.
  3. A multiple choice examination, at the end of the semester.  This contributes towards 30% of the total course unit mark.

Learning outcomes

  • make use of industry standard tools for version management, issue tracking, automated build, unit testing, code quality management, code review and continuous integration.

  • write unit tests to reveal a bug or describe a new feature to be added to a system, using a test-first coding approach.

  • explain the value of code reviews, and to write constructive and helpful reviews of code written by others.

  • make use of basic Git workflows to coordinate parallel development on a code base and to maintain the quality of code scheduled for release.

  • explain the role of software patterns (design and architectural) in creating large code bases that will be maintainable over the long term.

  • explain why code that is easy to test is easy to maintain, and make use of test code smells in identifying and correcting design flaws (design for testability).

  • apply basic software refactorings to maintain or improve code quality.

  • explain the challenges inherent in cost estimation for software development, and create defensible estimates with the help of work breakdown structures.



The following is an outline of the topics covered in COMP23111.

  • Team software development
  • Software project planning and issue tracking
  • Greenfield vs brownfield software development
  • Git best practices and common Git workflows
  • Automated build tools and release management
  • Automated unit, integration and acceptance testing
  • Test code quality and test coverage tools
  • Continuous integration and testing tools
  • Best practices and tool support for code review, including source code quality tools
  • Design patterns and common architectural patterns
  • Design for testability
  • Refactoring for code quality
  • Safely migrating software functionality
  • Basic risk management techniques
  • Working with open source software systems


Teaching and learning methods

1 introductory lecture in semester 1, week 1.

One 2 hour workshop each week.  In these sessions, you will gain practical, hands-on experience of the techniques being taught.

Team Study Sessions
Two 1 hour sessions per week.  In these sessions you will:

  • Work with your team on the team coursework
  • Meet your industrial mentor (2 sessions per team)
  • Get your team coursework marked in a face-to-face interview (3 sessions per team).

Offline Study
A number of off-line study activities and readings are provided, that build on and consolidate the topics covered in workshops.  These are compulsory and are assessed in the coursework and exam.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Group/team working
Project management
Oral communication
Problem solving
Written communication

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 30%
Practical skills assessment 70%

Feedback methods

Staff and TAs will be on hand to provide face-to-face informal feedback during workshops and team study sessions.

The RoboTA system will provide continuous feedback on aspects of the team marking system, using the Jenkins continuous integration system.

TAs will also provide written and verbal feedback on coursework, once marking is complete.

Recommended reading

COMP23311 reading list can be found on the Department of Computer Science website for current students.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 1
Practical classes & workshops 64
Independent study hours
Independent study 35

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Suzanne Embury Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Course unit materials

Links to course unit teaching materials can be found on the School of Computer Science website for current students.

course textbook



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