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Software Engineering
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Alumni views

Name: Arne Timmerman
Prior education: HBO Bachelor's degree in Technical Computer Science (Rotterdam University of professional education)
Current position: Software engineer and Team leader at Logica ICT

'When I look back on my year at Software Engineering, it’s remarkable how fast all my fellow students have moved up the career ladder. I think that’s due to the fact that the programme is very practically-oriented. One of the most important things you learn over the course of the study programme is critical thinking. That’s a skill that tends to be underestimated in this field. By the end of the programme, you can also hold your own on a lot of subjects, as you learn something about every aspect of the process.'

'The programme is definitely intensive: you spend about 40 hours a week at the university, and you have to work some weekends. I tried to set some boundaries and keep my evenings and weekends off, but I did have to read articles and papers in the train from time to time. The high level of intensity is mainly due to the group assignments, rather than the lectures themselves. The assignments generally take quite a lot of time to complete.'

'When working in groups it can easily happen that the two best programmers do all the work and the others just lounge about a bit. That’s not an option with Software Engineering, where you really have to rely on each other. Also, the questions are structured in such a way that there’s never one correct answer that will ensure a good grade. It’s all about making choices and substantiating them.'

'The difference with my HBO Bachelor's programme was huge. I think I may well have learnt more during this year than I did in my entire time at the university of professional education. After finishing my pre-university education, I made a conscious decision to attend a HBO: I’m not really into the theoretical side of things. I did learn how to be a good programmer during my time there, but this Master’s programme taught me to see the bigger picture: what is software development, where does the process start? Universities of professional education teach you specific tricks or languages that allow you to programme. At the Software Engineering Master’s programme, you don’t learn any tricks or programming languages: you learn how to read a specific language or method. You learn how to reflect on your actions and substantiate your choices. That’s a much more important skill than the ability to program in language X, which might well be obsolete in five years time.'

‘Crucially, you learn to adopt a critical attitude, a quality that tends to get underestimated in this field. You can hold your own in a lot of areas. I’m no expert on architecture, but I can definitely have an intelligent conversation on the subject thanks to what I’ve learnt here.'