The Coevolution GAP in Software Developer Education

Paul Ralph


Perceiving a misalignment between the education of software developers and empirical research on software development practice, this research investigates whether software developer education contains a systematic gap. To make the question tractable, the analysis focuses on the ACM Model Curricula for Software Engineering and Information Systems. These are coded according to Simon’s suggested topics for a curriculum in the science of design and SCI Theory (a software design process theory), and analyzed using a root definition for an educational program in software development. Both curricula appear to exhibit a systematic gap. In Simon’s parlance, this gap concerns the search for design candidates and choice of an optimal or satisfactory option. In SCI’s parlance, this gap concerns “coevolution,” the generation of design candidates and its effects on problem framing. This conclusion motivates a revision of the model curricula to improve coverage of these crucial topics.