Computer Systems Engineering (3 Years) [BEng]

Software Engineering 1

Unit code: COMP23311
Credit Rating: 10
Unit level: Level 2
Teaching period(s): Semester 1
Offered by School of Computer Science
Available as a free choice unit?: N



Additional Requirements

Students who are not from the School of Computer Science must have permission from both Computer Science and their home School to enrol.


This unit aims to help students appreciate the reality of team-based software development in an industrial environment, with customer needs, budget constraints and delivery schedules to be met.  Through hands-on experience with an industry-strength development toolkit applied to a large open source software system, students will gain an appreciation of the challenges of green and brownfield software development, along with an understanding of the core software engineering concepts that underpin current best practice.  Students will have the core skill set needed by a practicing software engineer, and will be ready to become productive and valuable members of any modern software team.

Assessment is based on:

  1. Three team-based exercises, making changes to the open source system used in the course unit.  Together these contribute towards 60% of the total course unit mark.
  2. Two individual coursework exercises together contributing towards 10% of the mark for the course unit.
  3. A multiple choice examination, at the end of the semester.  This contributes towards 30% of the total course unit mark.


This course covers many aspects of software engineering and contains much essential information about working with a large codebase authored by many programmers, most of whom are not around.

Teaching and learning methods

1 introductory lecture in semester 1, week 1.

One 2 hour workshop each week.  In these sessions, you will gain practical, hands-on experience of the techniques being taught.

Team Study Sessions
Two 1 hour sessions per week.  In these sessions you will:

  • Work with your team on the team coursework
  • Meet your industrial mentor (2 sessions per team)
  • Get your team coursework marked in a face-to-face interview (3 sessions per team).

Offline Study
A number of off-line study activities and readings are provided, that build on and consolidate the topics covered in workshops.  These are compulsory and are assessed in the coursework and exam.

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes are detailed on the COMP23311 course unit syllabus page on the School of Computer Science's website for current students.

Employability skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Group/team working
  • Innovation/creativity
  • Leadership
  • Project management
  • Oral communication
  • Problem solving
  • Written communication

Assessment methods

  • Written exam - 30%
  • Practical skills assessment - 70%



The following is an outline of the topics covered in COMP23111.

  • Team software development
  • Software project planning and issue tracking
  • Greenfield vs brownfield software development
  • Git best practices and common Git workflows
  • Automated build tools and release management
  • Automated unit, integration and acceptance testing
  • Test code quality and test coverage tools
  • Continuous integration and testing tools
  • Best practices and tool support for code review, including source code quality tools
  • Design patterns and common architectural patterns
  • Design for testability
  • Refactoring for code quality
  • Safely migrating software functionality
  • Basic risk management techniques
  • Working with open source software systems


Recommended reading

COMP23311 reading list can be found on the School of Computer Science website for current students.

Feedback methods

Staff and TAs will be on hand to provide face-to-face informal feedback during workshops and team study sessions.

The RoboTA system will provide continuous feedback on aspects of the team marking system, using the Jenkins continuous integration system.

TAs will also provide written and verbal feedback on coursework, once marking is complete.

Study hours

  • Lectures - 1 hours
  • Practical classes & workshops - 64 hours
  • Independent study hours - 35 hours

Teaching staff

Suzanne Embury - Unit coordinator

▲ Up to the top