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Software Engineering

Academic staff

Software Engineering (MSc)

Tijs van der Storm - IvI

Name: Dr. Tijs van der Storm

Education: PhD degree in Computer Science

Position at UvA: Lecturer

'The relationship between lecturers and students is extremely pleasant. Obviously, lecturers have a certain amount of authority due to their knowledge, and students tend to want a lot of reassurance. We just tell them: we don’t know the answer either, you’ll have to find out for yourself and substantiate your decisions. In most cases, that’s all the support we give them, which always comes as a shock.'

'The first course, Software Architecture, tends to be somewhat of a ‘bloodbath’. Instead of giving multiple choice answers, we ask our students to design an architecture and motivate their choices. No one really understands the assignment at first, and a lot of students get failing grades. It’s basically a form of shock therapy, designed to let them know that it’s all about substantiation rather than giving the right answer.'

'You can tell that students from universities of applied sciences have received a different kind of training. They work hard and efficiently, and can function well in a group. On the other hand, they also tend to have more difficulty when it comes to critical thinking, reflection and analysis. We try to help them acquire those skills over the course of the year. For example, we ask them to seek out and assess suitable literature. They need to learn how to analyse information that isn’t presented in a book in pre-digested form. I should point that that other students from different backgrounds also lack this ability. We do strive to instil an academic attitude in our students, as we believe this is essential in the field they will be working in.'

'Effective cooperation always proves to be difficult. In some cases, students working in a group will get mired in endless debates without taking any concrete action. When that happens, the lecturers – especially Hans (Dekkers) – will intervene, driving home the point that they must keep working together effectively and come up with a solution in the short term. After all, cooperation and timely results are essential in courses such as Requirements Engineering.'

‘Essentially, SE students need to be highly inquisitive and eager to learn. If you posses those qualities, the process will be a lot more enjoyable. Obviously, some students are only motivated by the prospect of a degree, but they will have a much harder time coping. You’ll have to give up any part-time jobs and most of your spare time for a whole year, but you can achieve a lot if you’re truly willing to step outside your comfort zone.'

'My own research is becoming more and more important to me, and I’d love to involve my students in future. Once it’s finished, I hope the results will be accepted by the scientific community. That would also be great for the participating students.'