UTEP to Offer Software Engineering Graduate Degree


UTEP to Offer Software Engineering Graduate Degree


UTEP to Offer Software Engineering Graduate Degree
UTEP to Offer Software Engineering Graduate Degree

The growing need to supply industry with competent software engineers in a spectrum of fields is behind The University of Texas at El Paso's decision to offer a new Master of Science degree in Software Engineering in fall 2014.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the University's 76th master's degree on April 24. UTEP officials are excited about the opportunity to offer a degree that will produce graduates proficient in mission and safety critical systems in fields such as defense, finance, health care, power grids, transportation, communication, disaster response and weather forecasting.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 30 percent increase in demand for software engineers by 2018 in the areas of application and system software, which translates to almost 300,000 new jobs during that timeframe. The continued complexity in the field is expected to lead to additional growth.

"There is a tremendous demand for software engineers in industry and government," said Richard Schoephoerster, Ph.D., dean of UTEP's College of Engineering. "This program has been designed by those constituent partners, and we're prepared to fill this need."

This will be the 14th graduate degree offered through UTEP's College of Engineering.

It will be part of the Department of Computer Science under the direction of Salamah I. Salamah, Ph.D., clinical associate professor. He earned his Ph.D. in computer science from UTEP in 2007. He taught computer science and software engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., before returning to UTEP in January 2013 to direct its software engineering program.

The University started on this journey in 2010 after it received funding from the U.S. Department of Education Fund for Improvement of Post-Secondary Education program and the National Science Foundation Science Master's Program. It received assistance from industry stakeholders, especially key leaders from Lockheed Martin, in developing the degree plan's strategy and course content.

Salamah said there are only 20 accredited software engineering graduate programs in the country and the supply of those graduates cannot keep up with the demand. He said he already is being contacted by industry and students, some as far away as India, about the intense 30-hour program that should be completed in an academic year.

He expects the program to begin with approximately 20 students in the fall, but stressed that while most will come with an engineering background, the group could have some non-engineering majors – and they all are welcome to apply.

"We want students from all backgrounds so they can learn from each other," Salamah said. "That's the beauty of software engineering. It's more than writing code. It's about dealing with customers and learning what they want and what they need. There's a place for everybody at the table."