Collaboration with IBM, Alumnus Provides Student Opportunities
An ongoing collaboration with IBM and a successful alumnus has provided software engineering students with valuable experience on a project for a professional client.
In 2019, SUNY Oswego computer science faculty member Bastian Tenbergen worked with alumnus and current IBM senior manager Paul Austin ’89 to design a new program within the school’s software design classes. CSC 480 Software Design works to provide students with “development process management techniques” applicable at a professional level.
The class typically centers around a semester-long project, which students collaborate on. After Tenbergen spoke with Austin, they decided that IBM would act as a client for the students within the class.
For Austin, the decision to collaborate with his alma mater was easy.
“I like giving back to Oswego,” said Austin, a writing arts major whose journey took him initially into technical writing. “I also like helping people through the problems that I had to go through before … This is one way for me to share what I’ve learned with people whom I care for—Oswego students.”
Austin described working with the students as “a blast,” saying that they were eager to learn and adapt to the new
“Oswego has a wonderful program in software engineering,” said Austin, adding the students “demonstrate a lot of innovative spirit.”
For the project, students work in teams, where they each tackle individual parts of the program. This requires intensive collaboration and teamwork within the class.
Austin said it is “really wonderful” to watch the students grow across the semester, beginning with no knowledge of the product and finishing with a fully functional program.
“We really get practice with working in a team environment,” said Annarudi Ugino ’21, a computer science major who was enrolled in the class. “I was on a technical team, but we interacted with more designed-focused teams and testing teams … We all kind of helped each other and got the information from each team to get the product completed to the stakeholder’s satisfaction.”
The opportunity to work with a company like IBM ensures that students understand how companies in the industry operate.
“Most students who have an opportunity to work in a context like this, seamlessly transition to a company experience,” Tenbergen said. “They have to learn very little about how a company works.”
— Story by Dylan McGlynn ’21
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