Institute for Software Research
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


Computer Science for Practicing Engineers
Computer Science for Everyone Else

David Garlan, Anthony J. Lattanze

October 2011


Keywords: Computer Science for Practicing Engineering, course overview and objectives

The Computer Science for Practicing Engineers (CS4PE) course is a breath-oriented course covering key topics in computer science that represent critical foundational knowledge for anyone developing software. The course is designed for students and professionals who do not have a formal background in computer science, but currently write, or anticipate writing software as a key part of their job. CS4PE represents one important facet of Computation Thinking [Wing 2006]. Computational thinking is a fundamental skill for everyone, not just for computer scientists. To those core concepts essential to a particular professional discipline, we need to add computational thinking to every professional's analytical ability.

The purpose of this report is to describe the motivation for, and the development of, the CS4PE course. The aim is to describe why such a course is needed, the design of the course, our experience in delivering the course since its inception, and feedback received from a peer review of the course content and assignments during the 2010 Conference on Software Engineering Education and Training. We will also discuss how and why the course has evolved since its initial development and delivery, as well as future directions that we expect the course to move in.

29 pages

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