Category Archives: Software Engineering Curriculum

Topic 20 – Introduction to Applied Machine Learning

Why do I need to learn about applied machine learning?

Machine learning has solved many important difficult problems recently. A few of them are speech recognition, speech synthesis, image recognition, autonomous driving and chat bots.
Nowadays a key skill of software developer is the ability to use machine learning algorithms solve real-world problems.

What can I do after finishing learning about applied machine learning ?

You will be to create software that could recognize speech, recognize a face, translate text to speech, translate a sentence from English to French, answer a customer's question.

That sounds useful! What should I do now?

Please attend this free "Machine Learning (Coursera)" course and audit this "Applied Machine Learning in Python (Coursera)" course first.
At the same time, please read
- this "Aurelien Geron (2017). Hands-On Machine Learning with Scikit Learn and TensorFlow. O’Reilly Media" book and
- this "Brett Lantz (2015). Machine Learning With R. 2nd Edition. Packt Publishing" book.

After that please audit these "Deep Learning Specialization" courses.
At the same time, please read
- this "Francois Chollet (2018). Deep Learning with Python. Manning Publications" book and
- this "Michael Nielsen (2015). Neural Networks and Deep Learning. Determination Press" book.

After that please read this "Christopher M. Bishop (2006). Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning. Springer" book.
After finishing reading these books please click Topic 21 - Introduction to Applied Computer Vision and Natural Language Processing to continue.

Topic 19 – Introduction to Computation and Programming using Python

Why do I need to learn about computation and programming using Python?

Computational thinking and Python are fundamental tools for understanding many modern theories and techniques such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, data mining, security, digital imagine processing and natural language processing.

What can I do after finishing learning about computation and programming using Python ?

You will be prepared to learn modern theories and techniques to create  modern  security, machine learning, data mining, image processing or natural language processing software.

That sounds useful! What should I do now?

Please read this "John V. Guttag (2013). Introduction to Computation and Programming using Python. 2nd Edition. The MIT Press" book.

Alternatively, please watch
- this "6.0001 Introduction to Computer Science and Programming in Python. Fall 2016" course (Lecture Notes) and

- this "MIT 6.0002 Introduction to Computational Thinking and Data Science, Fall 2016" course (Lecture Notes)
After finishing reading the book please click Topic 20 - Introduction to Applied Machine Learning to continue.

Topic 18 – Probability & Statistics

Why do I need to learn about probability and statistics?

Probability and statistics are fundamental tools for understanding many modern theories and techniques such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, data mining, security, digital imagine processing and natural language processing.

What can I do after finishing learning about probability and statistics?

You will be prepared to learn modern theories and techniques to create modern security, machine learning, data mining, image processing or natural language processing software.

That sounds useful! What should I do now?

Please read this "Dimitri P. Bertsekas and John N. Tsitsiklis (2008). Introduction to Probability" book. Alternatively, please watch this "MIT 6.041SC Probabilistic Systems Analysis and Applied Probability, Fall 2013" course (Lecture Notes).
After finishing reading the book please click Topic 19 - Introduction to Computation and Programming Using Python to continue.

Topic 17 – Linear Algebra

Why do I need to learn about linear algebra?

Linear algebra is a fundamental tool for understanding many modern theories and techniques such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, data mining, security, digital imagine processing and natural language processing.

What can I do after finishing learning about linear algebra?

You will be prepared to learn modern theories and techniques to create modern security, machine learning, data mining, image processing or natural language processing software.

That sounds useful! What should I do now?

Please read this "David C. Lay et al. (2016). Linear Algebra and Its Applications. 5th Edition." book.
Alternatively, please watch this "MIT 18.06 Linear Algebra, Spring 2005" course (Lecture Notes).
After finishing the books please click Topic 18 - Probability & Statistics to continue.

Topic 15 – Advanced Software Design

Why do I need to learn about advanced software design?

I think that I already learned about software design in the Topic 12 – Introduction to Software Design.

Now your task is not just to build a house.  Your task is to build a city. 

The situation is similar to when you create complex software. Now, you are responsible for creating a software system containing about 10,000 classes for 5,000 people to use in 15 years. The maximum system downtime must be less than 5 minutes in 15 years.
Image that you have to create a system that serves millions of people simultaneously like Facebook or YouTube or Amazon or Office 365 or Gmail. Are you able to create it?
Image that you are tasked to create frameworks for developers to extend such as ASP.NET Web Forms or ASP.NET MVC or  Laravel or Yii. Are you able to create one?
If you are not sure how to fulfill these tasks then probably, you should learn how other people crafted similar systems and adapt their experiences to your case. Advanced software design knowledge will then be useful for you.

What can I do after finishing learning advanced software design?

You will know how to design a very complex software system that satisfies not only functional requirements but also security, modifiability, scalability, reusability, extensibility and reliability requirements.

That sounds interesting! What should I do now?

Advanced software design requires a lot of reading. Please do review your software design knowledge introduced in the Topic 12 - Introduction to Software Design first.
Because nowadays software can be applied to many fields, each of them requires specific advanced software design knowledge, in this topic, we only focus on enterprise software because of its popularity.
Before you design a complicated system you must thoroughly  understand its sophisticated requirements. This is a critical step when building a large system. Please read this "David C. Hay (2002). Requirements Analysis: From Business Views to Architecture" book to learn how to capture requirements for an enterprise system.
After that please read this "Deepak Alur et al. (2003). Core J2EE Patterns: Best Practices and Design Strategies" book this "Martin Fowler (2002). Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture" book.
After that please read 
- this "Eric Evans (2003). Domain-Driven Design: Tackling Complexity in the Heart of Software" book and
- this "Jimmy Nilsson (2006). Applying Domain-Driven Design and Patterns: With Examples in C# and .NET" book and 
- this "Scott Millett and Nick Tune (2015). Patterns, Principles, and Practices of Domain-Driven Design" book.
After that please read this "David Budgen (2011). Software Design" book.
After that please read this "Len Bass et al. (2012). Software Architecture in Practice" book, especially chapter 5, 8 and 11.
After that please read 
- this "Cloves Carneiro Jr. and Tim Schmelmer (2016. Microservices from Day One: Build robust and scalable software from the start" book and 
- this "Sam Newman (2016). Building Microservices: Designing Fine-Grained Systems" book.

After finishing the books please click Topic 16 – Calculus to continue.

Topic 16 – Calculus

Why do I need to learn about calculus?

Calculus is a fundamental tool for understanding many modern theories and techniques to create software such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, data mining, security, digital imagine processing and natural language processing.

What can I do after finishing learning about calculus?

You will then be able to learn modern theories and techniques to create security, data mining, image processing or natural language processing software.

What should I do now?

Please read
- this George B. Thomas et al. (2018). Thomas' Calculus: Early Transcendentals" book or
- this "James Stewart (2016). Calculus. Cengage Learning" book first.
Alternatively, please watch 
- this "MIT 18.01 Single Variable Calculus, Fall 2007" course (Lecture Notes) and 
- this "MIT 18.02 Multivariable Calculus, Fall 2007" course (Lecture Notes).
After finishing the books please click Topic 17 - Linear Algebra to continue.

Topic 14 – Introduction to Database Design

Why do I need to learn about database design?

Database is the heart of your application, especially enterprise applications. Designing a database incorrectly will cause your application eventually fail.

What can I do after finishing learning about database design?

You will know how to design a relational database and write SQL code PROPERLY. You will know how to build a data warehouse. You will know WHY you should use a relational database system and how it actually works.

That sounds useful! What should I do now?

Please read this "Stephane Faroult and Peter Robson (2006). The Art of SQL" book first.
Then please read
- this "W. H. Inmon (2005). Building the Data Warehouse" book and
- this "Ralph Kimball and Margy Ross (2013). The Data Warehouse Toolkit: The Definitive Guide to Dimensional Modeling" book and
- this "Vincent Rainardi (2007). Building a Data Warehouse: With Examples in SQL Server" book.
Finally, please read
- this "C. J. Date (2012). Database Design and Relational Theory: Normal Forms and All That Jazz" book and
- this "C.J. Date (2011). SQL and Relational Theory: How to Write Accurate SQL Code" book.
After finishing the books please click Topic 15 - Advanced Software Design to continue.

Topic 13 – Software Project Management

Why do I need to learn about software project management?

Knowing how to create applications does not mean that you will create software SUCCESSFULLY. Creating software successfully means that you satisfy all customer's REQUIREMENTS on TIME and on BUDGET with high QUALITY while making both customer and yourself HAPPY. Especially, your software must create REVENUE for your customer.

Have you ever wondered why many software projects failed; why Google, Microsoft, IBM, etc. abandoned many projects? Software project management will provide you knowledge so that you could improve the success of your software projects and mitigate all the project risks.

What can I do after finishing learning about software project management?

You will know how to plan a project, including scoping, estimating time and resources, creating a schedule, identifying and responding to risks, etc. 

You will know how to create software following a methodology (i.e. waterfall, rational unified process, iterative and incremental development, agile method, Scrum method, extreme programming).

You will know how to manage project configurations, how to control project changes, how to report project status, how to control product quality, process quality.

You will know how to collaborate with others to create software, how to motivate your partners.

Uh-oh! I am a developer. I do not want to be a project manager. Do I really need to learn this topic?

If you have a doubt about its usefulness then please only return to this topic 
- when you are asked by your manager when you can finish your task and you do not know the answer or 
- when you cannot work with other team members together to finish a task requiring a collaboration to be done or 
- when you cannot complete a task on time due to incidents or 
- when you wonder why a project manager's salary is 3 times larger than yours.

Alright! What should I do now?

Software project management requires a lot of reading. At this point you need to read at least 7 books about software project management.
In order to get familiar with software project management please read this "Andrew Stellman and Jennifer Greene (2005). Applied Software Project Management" book first.
After that please read this "Frederick P. Brooks Jr. (1995). The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering" book to learn the timeless principles of software project management.
After that please read this "Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister (2013). Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams" book to learn how to deal with human side of software project management.
After that please read this "Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister (2003). Waltzing With Bears: Managing Risk on Software Projects" book to learn how to deal with software project risks.
After that please read this "Philippe Kruchten (2003). The Rational Unified Process: An Introduction" book and this "Per Kroll et al. (2003). The Rational Unified Process Made Easy: A Practitioner's Guide to the RUP" book to learn how to develop software using a managed process.
After that please read this "Scott W. Ambler et al. (2005). The Enterprise Unified Process: Extending the Rational Unified Process" book.
After that please read this "Steve McConnell (2006). Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art" book to learn how to estimate effort, time and cost for a software project.
After that please read 
- this "Ken Schwaber (2004). Agile Project Management with Scrum. Microsoft Press" book and
- this "Jonathan Rasmusson (2010). The Agile Samurai: How Agile Masters Deliver Great Software. Pragmatic Bookshelf" book and
- this "Kenneth S. Rubin (2012). Essential Scrum A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process. Addison-Wesley Professional" book and
- this "Mike Cohn (2010). Succeeding with Agile - Software Development Using Scrum. Addison Wesley" book and
- this "Kent Beck and Cynthia Andres (2004). Extreme Programming Explained Embrace Change. 2nd Edition. Pearson Education" book and
- this "James Shore and Shane Warden (2008). The Art of Agile Development. O'Reilly" book.
After that please read this "Mike Cohn (2005). Agile Estimating and Planning" book.
After that please read this "Project Management Institute (2017). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge" book.
 After finishing the books please click Topic 14 - Introduction to Database Design to continue.

Topic 12 – Introduction to Software Design

Why do I need to learn about software design?

What will you do if you are tasked to build a house. You will need to sketch its first and build the house based upon the sketch. Otherwise you may build a house that may collapse in a few weeks or cannot be decorated due to errors.

The situation is similar when you create software. You need to plan how you will build it first by deciding how many components and objects will be used and what are their responsibility, how they work together, how data will be organized, how data will be flowed within your application, how users will interact with the application, etc.

Software design knowledge will show you how to do these tasks.

What can I do after finishing learning software design?

You will know how to create a design for an application including static and dynamic structure, data organization, business processing workflows, etc.

Is is really useful? I feel that you can write the code right after having the requirements and I could refactor my code when needed.

That's great if you can do it like that. Just return to this topic
(i) when you do not know how to write the code for a feature or 
(ii) when you cannot refactor your code because only a small change breaks the whole application or 
(iii) when you write a software system together with 20 other developers and you do not know how to integrate results of all developers into one solution or 
(iv) when you software system serves 20 users simultaneously very well but it stops when serving 2,000 users simultaneously and you do not know how to fix it.

Alright! What should I do now?

Software design requires a lot of reading. Each application type (enterprises, games, desktop, web, mobile, security, etc.) require specific design knowledge. At this point we focus only on the basic elements of software design.
In order to get familiar with software design please read these 3 below books in parallel:
- Grady Booch et al. (2005). Unified Modeling Language User Guide.
- Craig Larman (2004). Applying UML and Patterns: An Introduction to Object-Oriented Analysis and Design and Iterative Development.
- Robert C. Martin and Micah Martin (2006). Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C#.
After that please read this "Erich Gamma et al. (1994). Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software" book. Please focus on the Motivation section of each pattern. You can skip a pattern if the problem presented in its Motivation section is not relevant to your situation.
After that please read this "Frank Buschmann et al. (1996). Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture Volume 1: A System of Patterns" book.
After that please read this "Bertrand Meyer (1997). Object-Oriented Software Construction" book and this "Grady Booch et al. (2007). Object-Oriented Analysis and Design with Applications" book.
After finishing the books please click Topic 13 - Software Project Management to continue.

Topic 11 – Software Testing

Why do I need to learn about software testing?

Just image that a user installs your application, opens it and "BOOM!", it crashes. Is it good?
An even worse case is when your software operating an airplane suddenly hangs up while the airplane is still flying in the sky. Can you image what may happen?

How do you ensure that your application solves your customer's problems? How do you know if your software meets its users' requirements? How do you give your users' confidence about the correctness, reliability and security of your software?

In order to answer these questions adequately you need to learn about software testing.

What can I do after finishing learning software testing?

You will know how to design and write a test case, how to prepare test data, how to test software structurally and correctly, how to automate testing tasks, how to report bugs.

I am a programmer. I am not a tester. Do I really need to know how to test software?

Many application capabilities must be tested by a programmer.
Many software testing tasks can only be done by a programmer.
Therefore you have to master software testing knowledge.

Alright! What should I do now?

Please read 
- this "Cem Kaner et al. (1999). Testing Computer Software. 2nd Edition. Wiley" book and 
- this "Lee Copeland (2004). A Practitioner's Guide to Software Test Design. Artech House" book.

After finishing these books please click Topic 12 - Introduction to Software Design to continue.