Australian Software Factory Becomes Operational

With great pleasure and sense of satisfaction, I like to share the news that the Australian Software Factory (ASF) became operational in the School of Computer Science, the University of Adelaide from December 2015. The idea was conceived with the vision of enabling talented software development students to gain the knowledge and experience of applying industrial strengthen software development methods, processes, and tools on real life software development projects for enhancing their productivity and employability. We selected seven highly energetic and committed students to join the Australian Software Factory this year – six students are participating in the ASF for fulfilling the requirements of their Bachelor of Software Engineering degree work experience and one of them is a summer internship student. Unfortunately, we had to decline a few very good International students because of some procedural and legal ambiguities, however, we are trying to get the ambiguous points clarified. A brief description of the goals, and logistics of the ASF has been provided below: Australian Software Factory (ASF) is aimed at bringing software developers (i.e., students enrolled in relevant tertiary degree programs), educationists and trainers, and private and public organizations and citizens together for building and leveraging software development capabilities and competencies. The Australian Software Factory provides software development students with a unique platform for gaining and applying theoretical knowledge and practical skills of effectively and efficiently designing, developing, and evolving software based innovative solutions for real World problems. The Australian Software Factory enables students enrolled in software development degrees to use their summer holidays to experience how industrial software development projects are conceived, designed, implemented, and delivered. The students are engaged in problem-based learning about software development using state-of-the-art software development methods, processes, and tools. The students work on assigned projects in close collaboration with project owners. Each project team consists of 3 members who follow the principles of self-organising teams according to Agile Methods. Each team may be part of a cluster that work on larger projects broken down into sub-projects for different teams in a cluster. The working culture and mentoring approaches emphasise the value of discovering innovative ways of solving complex problems through experimentation. This develops practical skills grounded in fundamental theories of computing, peer reviews, self-reflections and mentoring. Whilst the students work in small teams (i.e., 3 members), they are encouraged to take a cohort approach for creating a supportive and conducive working environment and community of practices. The Australian Software Factory runs from December to February, which is summer break in Australian Universities. The participating students are chosen based on their academic achievements, software development skills, and enthusiasm to learn and excel in the software development profession. The Australian Software Factory takes in only 12 highly motivated and keen software development students each year. The selected students spend at least 20 hours per week on the assigned project and endeavour to uphold the policies and procedures of the ASF. The students can join ASF for achieving different academic and professional development goals. For example, some students may join ASF for advancing their knowledge and skills of software development methods and practices by working on challenging and complex projects before going to the job market; others may join ASF to fulfil their work experience requirements if the prefer to work in more familiar environment that can give them a feeling for the industrial software development setting; another set of students may join ASF in order to develop their skill sets for use in their final year projects.