14 Aug, 2017
NUS Institute of Systems Science (ISS) is one of the Asia's top universities standing proudly at 15th place according to QS world university rankings 2017/18. NUS has so far delivered its MTech programmes to more than 2,000 students since 1996, with a focus on the practical aspects of IT and data science.
The popularity of NUS in MTech solely for how it has brought distinction between the real world education and the conventional classroom academics, i.e
1. Refreshing the Academic Curriculum over the years
While the Concept of Internships for a degree in technology is not new but NUS has managed to not only reshape it but has also been able to take your Masters degree in Software Engineering to a whole new level.
How NUS Balances Real World Education with Classroom Learning
In the words of Dr Leong Mun Kew, Deputy Director of NUS-ISS, “The MTech programme is a postgraduate degree designed by practitioners, for practitioners. Our staff are industry experts with many years of experience, who can share with the students real working experiences and not textbook answers. We also require our students to go through an industry project during their internship – not a student toy project, but one where there are real deliverables that can solve real pain-points faced by the industry”.
Students aspiring to pursue Master of Technology in Software Engineering (M Tech SE) programme from the NUS Institute of Systems Science (NUS-ISS) experience the real world education by completing their internship at enterprise cloud software startup- Instant Edge in Singapore. The student interns of NUS are responsible for the entire “Managed Operations” feature of the Instant Edge platform, an integrated application capability designed and built as part of a joint co-innovation initiative between NUS-ISS and Instant Edge. It is actually the student's’ capstone project, which they can complete in the form of an internship, as part of their syllabus. The project requires students to build real-world systems and solve actual problems for local organisations.
This way studying at NUS gives them the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experiences, as they immerse in real-world settings and take on projects within sponsoring companies.
Student Speaks: Hands-On Experience With NUS
When it comes to offering students a global outlook and world class education experience in the field of Technology, NUS makes sure everything is in place regarding Internships. Why?
Because internships are an important way to gain experience and exposure into a particular industry. It allows students and recent graduates to gain an insight into how a company operates in the real world at the same time gives them them to witness the cycles that an organisation goes through.
BENEFIT: Such a knowledge is impossible to gain or even convey in a classroom setting and can only be learned through firsthand experience.
Vignesh's Learning Journey at NUS
Vignesh’s scope of work at Instant Edge included requirements gathering, analysis, designing, architecting, implementing and testing the “Managed Operations” module for the platform.
Selvaraju Vignesh, MTech SE student and intern at Instant Edge, said, “I got to experience the journey of a software lifecycle, from its inception to its deployment, in a startup environment where everything was dynamic”. Vignesh added that his biggest takeaway was gaining the knowledge of all the obstacles that may arise in different phases of a software’s lifecycle and the means to tackle them effectively. Through this internship, he has learnt to adopt changes and make them part of the whole software development process.
His teammate, Vrinda Gupta, who was in charge of requirements, design and implementation for the module, felt that the internship was the best way to learn how to navigate the working world – that is, through real-world, hands-on experience.
“The M Tech SE programme at NUS-ISS provided me with all the key learnings that are required to complete the internship successfully,” Vignesh added. “The core subjects I learned in NUS-ISS contributed to building a strong foundation for this internship, especially the Object Oriented Analysis and Design course, with the help of which I was able to analyse user requirements, identify analysis objects, devise the software architecture, as well as design and implement the design objects.”
Whereas Vrinda, who also developed push notification for the “Managed Operations” application, added, “Moreover, basic electives like Enterprise Java helped me improve my technical skills to build more robust, secure and scalable applications”.
A New Outlook to Software Engineering
Internships are not just about work – the people and culture often build the fondest memories of the job experience, and lay the day-to-day basis for a conducive and fun learning environment. For NUS-ISS MTech SE interns at Instant Edge, the start-up environment provided them the autonomy to learn and grow.
In the words of Mohanty Rameswari, who led the NUS-ISS interns at Instant Edge, “As part of the energetic and friendly team, I felt empowered to learn, develop and challenge myself every day during the internship”. She had previously worked in a multinational corporation (MNC) for six years, and the internship by NUS was a refreshing experience for her. In addition to design, system architecture and testing and implementation, she also handled the project management.
“Team collaboration, approachable leadership, open communication were the backbone behind the growth of Instant Edge. The internship has helped me realise my strengths and aided me in defining my career aspirations,” Rameswari added.
“I was given as much autonomy as everyone else in the company although I was just an intern. I was constantly encouraged to provide my opinions, feedback and suggestions. Our team was very well-bonded and differences in opinions were resolved through healthy discussions,” Vrinda agreed.
The close proximity between teammates in a startup setting also called for constant communication. This provided valuable interaction and working opportunities with people who might not be from the same culture.