Program Will Train Software Developers of the Future

Valencia Community College is partnering with UCF and three other colleges to create a new Bachelor of Applied Science in Software Development. The National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technology Education program has awarded the participating institutions a three-year, $570,000 grant for a project called SDEP (Software Development Educational Pathway). The B.A.S. Software Development track will be a transfer-only bachelor’s degree, meaning that students must complete an A.S. degree in Computer Programming and Analysis to be eligible to pursue this new option.

Seminole State College, Brevard Community College, and Lake-Sumter Community College are also partners in the project.

Central Florida’s largest software development employers—including Electronic Arts, Disney and Lockheed Martin—will play a major role in developing the program. A curriculum of applied software development courses is being created that will focus on the skills and knowledge that local industry requires of software developers, said Dr. Colin Archibald, Computer Programming & Analysis professor at Valencia.

“There’s a huge difference between computer science and software development,” said Archibald. “Florida doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree that focuses on application development. There is an unmet demand for graduates who can build web applications, smart phone apps, and database-driven applications right now, even in this weakened economy.”

The first-of-its-kind program will also feature an intercollegiate computer programming contest with students from the four colleges competing in a super-bowl of computer programming. The “Valencia Programmers” team is already being formed, led by West Campus student Edmary (Edy) Rosado.  

Valencia students will be able to complete their junior and senior years online. Streaming video technology will enable students to attend classes, meet with academic advisors, work in teams, and even hang out in virtual environments. This makes the bachelor’s degree accessible to A.S. Computer Programming & Analysis graduates who cannot easily travel to campus, but have broadband Internet access in their homes.