A New Pathway:
A Software Engineering Master’s Program for Liberal Arts Graduates
This paper is an interim report of an innovative Software Engineering Master’s program, focused on Liberal Arts graduates and supported by NSF S-STEM, with the objective of creating a new pathway to a computing career. Reports such as Rising Above the Gathering Storm and its follow-ups by the National Academies highlight an urgency to develop and retain a homegrown workforce in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), especially historically underrepresented groups, such as women, due to global competition for science and engineering talent. This program is an innovative research program to increase the homegrown computing workforce. It started in the fall of 2015, and the first students will soon graduate. Results include validation that these students can be very successful in a software engineering masters’ program, even with little prior computing knowledge. There have also been improvements to the curriculum (which have benefited all our students) as a result. One on-going challenge is student recruitment; to date, all of them have been through personal touch. We will experiment with targeting sociology majors in the next year.
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