Software Engineering to be offered next fall



A new computer science class, Software Engineering, will be implemented in fall 2014.

“We decided that we need more opportunities in computer designing,” said Shelley Gates, Career and Technical Education Department Chair. “We’re hoping that the class will inspire students into pursuing careers in computer sciences.”

This new class will teach more advanced computer design than previous courses.

“Students will be learning things such as mobile phone application design, using data to answer questions, and how to code computer software,” said Gary Haller, who will be teaching Software Design starting next year.

“The class will be team-based, with more solving of real-world problems,” said Haller. “Instead of a textbook, students will be given a problem and will work with it. There’s a certain amount of exploration involved.”

“Being able to code is such a basic skill; there’s an emphasis on it, even as young as elementary school,” said Gates. “We thought that students should be able to learn about something that’s running our lives, even if you don’t plan on pursuing a career in it. More people need to be interested in computer sciences.”

Software Engineering is a class not only new to Evanston, but to all high schools. Project Lead the Way, an organization that sponsors most of the computer science classes at ETHS, recently added Software Engineering to the curriculum after testing it out at Niles West High School.

Students will be able to receive AP grade credit for Software Engineering, although no AP test will be taken for it.

Sophomore Luis Quinteros, who has taken both Game design and Web Design, is excited about taking the new class.

“This class is going to be a little more challenging,” he said. “Like in Web Design, you’re given the code and you design the website, but for this class, you’ll be coding it yourself. I got interested in the class because I was thinking of going into game designing or software engineering.”

“We designed this course based on student interest,” said Haller. “We wanted to fit the need of students interested and wanting to explore computer engineering.

The new class also wants to bring in more female students. This year, fewer than 10 females took a computer science class.

“We’re hoping that we see more female students interested,” said Haller. “We feel that females are vastly underrepresented in our computer science classes.”

“So far, it seems that for this new class we have a higher female interest rate, with 20-25% of the students being female. This is an encouraging sign, as one of the hopes of the new course is to bring in more females into the field of information technology.”