Integrating Problem-Based Learning and Project Management: On-the-Job Innovation in Software Engineering Training
Software engineering education, which is typically linked with pressing global practical issues and challenges, has witnessed increasing efforts to prepare the undergraduates and graduates with the right set of knowledge and skills relevant to the rapidly-changing industry. One of the attempts to align academic curricula with businesses’ expectations has been the inclusion of some problem-based learning (PBL) units in various engineering degree programs, which has been advocated as effective in developing the learners’ technical knowledge, hard and soft skills and attitudes. However, with the high demand for professionals skilled in many different computing-related areas, the gap between industry expectations and engineering education is still widely recognized. This paper presents an initiative to develop the new staff’s professional performance in a globally-recognized software company in Vietnam. It concerns an on-the-job program which integrated PBL principles and real-world project management. The initiation involved 01 Senior Project Manager, 02 Associate Project Managers and 05 Senior Software Engineers as trainers and 23 novice employees as trainees. Targeted to serve GenZ software human resources, this training program was based on real business-requested projects which introduced top-hiring technologies, covering business-requested technical stacks and simulating teamwork-focus development process. The qualitative and quantitative data revealed positive effects regarding the goals targeted, namely retaining talent employees and supporting the new staff’s development of professional skills. The program holds implications for increasing and diversifying the collaboration between universities and IT industry in tandem with the well-researched and long-established PBL modules in degree software engineering programs.
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