Skip to navigation Skip to content

Professional Software Development

A fast track conversion course

This conference has ended

Providing high quality professionals for the software development industry.

Keep informed

  • Course Summary

    This course aims to give those with a non-computing background the opportunity to enter a fast paced and exciting industry. Students will gain the skills needed to support the demand of the software industry on a local and global scale.

    The growth of the ICT industry has been identified as a top priority for the Northern Ireland Executive. According to Invest NI, Northern Ireland is the leading foreign direct investment region in Europe for software development and IT technical support centres. There are more than 900 companies in the ICT sector and many of these are international organisations.

    The majority of new jobs have been in knowledge industries particularly ICT including software development, software testing and funds administration.

    It is against this backdrop that we offer this course to graduates in subjects other than computing as an opportunity for career change, to enable them to exploit the opportunities for personal and professional development offered by this burgeoning sector.

  • Modules

    The Professional Software Development course is taught over a full academic year, split into 3 semesters.

    Computer Hardware

    This module introduces students to the basic hardware components from which a computer system is constructed and the organisation of these components. Students will also gain an understanding of how computers communicate in the context both of local and wide area networks.

    Professional Software Development I

    The module introduces software development concepts and practices. This will be reinforced by interwoven practical lab sessions and tutorial workshops which will focus on and enhance all the necessary practical skills: problem solving, software design, programming skills and software testing to the high level of competence required by industry.

    Operating Systems Fundamentals

    This module gives students a detailed introduction to the functions of modern operating systems. Students will have the opportunity to develop and consolidate their understanding of computer hardware as well as their software development skills, and will gain experience of using a modern Unix-like operating system.

    Professional Software Development 2

    This module uses interlinked lectures and lab sessions to introduce selection and repetition mechanisms with Java. This enables the introduction of arrays as an extended intermediate storage structure and also files as a permanent storage mechanism.  The students will be provided with an opportunity to display strong personal management and team skills.

    Database Systems

    This module recognises the need for flexible and efficient storage of information in computer applications. The underlying principles of database organisation are presented, and practical implementation in a modern DBMS environment provides a basis for the construction of larger-scale e-business solutions.

    Mobile Devices and Applications

    This module will provide students with the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills that will equip them to obtain employment within companies specialising in mobile technologies. Students will gain detailed knowledge of the underlying wireless infrastructure and protocols and the relationships these have with the app creation process and developing software solutions targeted at mobile platforms such as Android, Windows Phone, iOS, and Browser apps based on HTML5.

    Data Structures

    This module seeks to extend student knowledge and practical skills in programming in Java. This will be achieved by focusing on the theoretical underpinning knowledge of a range of data structures and common abstract data types. It will also create an understanding of their effectiveness through considered analysis and experimentation.

    Concurrent Systems

    This module introduces students to the fundamental concepts required to design and develop concurrent systems. The module will provide an overview of the underlying principles of concurrent programming and will give students the opportunity to develop simple practical applications illustrating specific aspects of concurrent systems.


    Students are required to undertake a substantial individual project to complete the course. Its purpose is to provide an experience of developing a computing solution to a realistic problem, both to demonstrate capability and to enhance employability. This work combines skills and knowledge acquired previously on the course with those acquired during the project. In particular, students will have an opportunity to (i) strengthen their competence in project management, in taking an initial concept through to a successful implementation; and (ii) enhance their communication skills, in producing a dissertation and defending the work.

  • Job Market

    There is a strong demand in the local Northern Ireland economy and beyond for graduates with software development skills. Coupled with the skills and knowledge of their primary degree, graduates from this course will be well placed to find employment in private industry, public sector organisations and in research. They will have the necessary skills to work in initially work in roles such as software developers, software testers and/or academic or commercial researchers but will also have the capacity to diversify into other roles such as independent consultants.

    Professional Recognition

    BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT

    Accredited by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT for the purposes of partially meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered IT Professional.

  • Applications

    To apply for this course, please use the Online Application System.

    Entry Requirements

    1) A second class honours degree or better from a university of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, from the Council for National Academic Awards, the National Council for Educational Awards, the Higher Education and Training Awards Council, or from an institution of another country which has been recognised as being of an equivalent standard; or

    2) an equivalent standard (normally 50%) in a Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate, Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma or an approved alternative qualification; and

    3) the content of the qualification presented (as described in (i) may have a maximum of 50% computing content.

    You must satisfy the General Entrance Requirements for admission to a first degree course and hold a GCSE pass in English Language and Mathematics at grade C or above (or equivalent)

    The Faculty of Computing and Engineering does not accept students with Essential Skills in Application of Number as the only mathematics qualification. Please contact the Faculty Office directly on Tel: 028 90 366305 if you have a query concerning this matter. Thank you.

    In exceptional circumstances, where an individual has substantial and significant experiential learning, a portfolio of written evidence demonstrating the meeting of graduate qualities (including subject-specific outcomes, as determined by the Course Committee) may be considered as an alternative entrance route. Evidence used to demonstrate graduate qualities may not be used for exemption against modules within the programme.

    English Language Requirements

    English language requirements for international applicants
    The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

    Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

    Teaching and Learning Assessment

    Teaching is delivered through a combination of lectures, directed tutorials, seminars and practical sessions. Support is also provided for project preparation and implementation.

    The course is assessed by coursework and/or written examinations.

    Exemptions and Transferability

    The entry requirements facilitate accreditation of prior learning.

    Scholarships, awards and prizes

    Industry sponsored prize for the best overall student performance.