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25/07/2021

University of Limerick and tech leaders redefine computer science education with new Master's degree

University of Limerick and tech leaders redefine computer science education with new Masters degree

Patrick and John Collision, founders of Stripe which has teamed up with UL for the new programme

THE University of Limerick has teamed up with a host of leading international technology companies to redefine computer science education.

UL has announced a new integrated undergraduate and Master's degree in partnership with over a dozen leading tech companies from Ireland and around the world, including Analog Devices, Stripe, Zalando, Intercom, Shopify, Manna Aero, and many more.

The Immersive Software Engineering (ISE) programme at UL will seek to meet increased global demand for developer talent with the internet economy rapidly growing.

ISE will bring the concept of ‘residencies’, which are more common to medical degrees, and use them as a key feature for the first time in computer science education. Just as trainee doctors apply skills that they have studied in a classroom to the real world, so will ISE students, and they’ll be doing it inside some of the world’s most exciting tech companies.

University of Limerick President, Professor Kerstin Mey said: “This partnership is an incredibly exciting one for the University. UL has always been a dynamic and innovative university that works with industry to help shape the graduates of tomorrow. The employability rate of UL graduates is consistently the highest of any Irish higher education institution and this will only serve to increase that leading edge.

“Our industry partners have been invaluable in the conception of this disrupting programme, bringing their incredible industry experience to the benefit of our future graduates and effectively doing something that has never been done before in shaping and changing how computer science is taught in Ireland.

“UL has always been a pioneer. We are a ‘disruptor’ in the most positive sense. Over the last eighteen months, the evolution of this programme has built on that proud tradition.

“We are now ready to unveil Immersive Software Engineering to the world and are excited by the opportunities it presents,” Professor Mey added.

Software engineers and computer scientists can command high salaries straight out of university, and there is significant demand for more of them, with over three quarters of tech companies in Ireland saying the shortage of tech skills is losing them money.

John Collison, co-founder and President of Stripe, said: “Software engineers enjoy incredible careers solving some of the world’s most important problems in the fastest growing industries, yet we have nowhere near enough of them. Immersive Software Engineering seeks to provide a great path for more secondary students - especially girls - into technology.”

Vincent Roche, CEO of Analog Devices, Inc (ADI) said: “The global demand for developing skilled software engineers driven by the connection of physical to cyber world and big data processing is growing at an exponential rate. As we at ADI solve the most challenging real-world problems in areas such as healthcare and industrial, we have an increasing demand for these skillsets and see the need growing in coming years.

“We are delighted to work with UL to ensure students are getting real-world, hands-on experience and are proud to collaborate with the university and great organisations such as Stripe to help mould the next generation’s engineers.”

During the four years, ISE students will complete five paid residencies, each between three and six months long. During residencies students will be a part of real, professional teams solving problems like improving access to financial services around the world, fighting the climate crisis, and building next generation instrumentation for healthcare.

ISE has also received support from Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, and venture investors Frontline Ventures - among many others.

ISE intends to attract Ireland’s elite young talent and will gather learnings from the world’s best computer science programmes, with all classes held in a dedicated studio, purpose-built for the course.

Students will work in small teams led by professors to advance important research and build new ideas. 

UL’s Professor Stephen Kinsella, co-director of the programme who worked directly with industry representatives to bring the project to fruition, explained: “We want this course to change the way Ireland’s highest performing students think about computer science as a career option. We want to bring a more diverse audience to computer science. And we want ISE graduates to be the premier computer science talent around the world. We’re really excited to be able to work with so many great partners to bring this vision to life.”

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