Undergraduate Courses \ LM051 B.Sc. in Computer Systems

Introduction


Advanced and highly sophisticated computer systems are an integral feature of life today.  In particular, software-intensive systems play an important role in many different problem domains such as telecommunications, education and entertainment, business and finance, medical devices, automotive and aeronautical systems.  Computer technology is often seen as a driving force behind these developments.

But creating software-intensive systems is a human activity.  Despite all the advances, software-intensive systems still present many demanding challenges for the professionals who design, build, test and deploy them.  Some of these challenges are due to the inherent complexity of the problem domains, others are due to the ever-increasing possibilities for novel and innovative applications.  One way or another, being involved in the development of computer-based systems promises to be an exciting and indispensable career for the foreseeable future.

Since 1979, the Computer Systems programme has aimed to equip students with the knowledge and skills to become successful and effective computer professionals.  Over 2,000 students have graduated from this programme, going on to lead a variety of interesting and rewarding software careers based in large and small organisations, in industry, in research and in education and training.  As ever, the primary focus of this course is one the underlying principles of software development and their application to modern software development practices.

In particular, it is the intention that students secure a firm and lasting intellectual foundation that will allow them to acquire new and specific technical knowledge over a lifelong career.  The course is designed to give the student ample opportunities to learn and apply knowledge in small tutorial and practical groups.

Programme of Study


The syllabus has been designed to provide the student with knowledge of:
• Principles of software design and implementation
• Programming languages and systems used in technical and business software
• Information systems design methodology
• Understanding the social, organisational and historical context of computer systems

An integral part of the course is the Cooperative Education period, during which the student will spend eight months working in a course-related job in a business or industrial environment outside the University.  The applied nature of this work placement complements the academic dimension of the course.

Students undertake a substantial individual project in their final year, which integrates and applies their previous learning and deepens their knowledge of some particular application or research area relevant to the course.

Programme Outcomes


On successful completion of this programme, students will have the ability, skills and knowledge to:
1. Define and accurately use the technical terms of computer science and software development.
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the theory and recurring fundamental concepts of computer science.
3. Identify the principles of software development upon which the successful application of these concepts relies.
4. Draw on mathematical principles and engineering principles to solve problems.
5. Select appropriate languages, tools and methods for given problem situations.
6. Construct models of problem domains using appropriate notations.
7. Develop and validate solutions using appropriate technology. 
8. Display a mastery of current software development languages, systems, methods and tools.
9. Use modern software development practices in a range of roles and development situations.
10. Cooperate with other team members in the analysis, design, construction, installation and maintenance of software-based systems and products.
11. Acquire new technical specifics with confidence and certainty over a lifelong career.
12. Exhibit a strong sense of professionalism in a range of contexts.

Entrance Requirements


Applicants are required to hold at the time of enrolment the established Leaving Certificate (or an approved equivalent) with at least Grade C3 in two higher level subjects and grade D3 in four ordinary or higher level subjects (including Mathematics; Irish or another language; and English).  In addition, applicants are required to hold at least a grade B2 in the Leaving Certificate Ordinary Level Mathematics, or approved equivalent.

Mature students (in general 23 years of age on the 1st of January of the year of registration) are most welcome to apply for entry to the B.Sc. in Computer Systems programme at the University of Limerick. Each mature student applicant is considered on an individual basis. Academic qualifications, work experience, motivation and overall potential for this programme of study are evaluated usually by means of an interview. Further details are available from the Mature Student Office.  Mature students normally apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO) but are assessed on an individual basis. There are two alternative Entry requirements for mature entry:
1. Evidence or certification from an appropriate online programming course such as those provided by Coursera or Udacity, etc. OR
2. a FETAC Level 5 or 6 qualification in one of the following domains:
Web/Internet, Software, Programming, with a minimum of a Distinction grade in the programming components
 

Career Opportunities


Strong growth in the employment of computer systems professionals is predicated in the most recent reports by Forfás and the ESRI.  Shortages of software engineers and analysts/programmers are forcing Irish employers to source IT skills from abroad, and these shortages will persist into the future.  The demand for qualified personnel in these careers will continue to be particularly strong:
• Software Engineering
• Systems Analysis and Design
• Software Support Services
• Network Administration and Support
• Software Quality Assurances
• Management Consultancy
• Research and Development
• Information Systems Development
• Database Design and Administration
• Software Development
• Data Analytics Specialist 


FAQ


1. What is a FAQ?
A list of prepared answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions on a particular topic.

2. What is "Computer Systems" LM051 (B.Sc. in Computer Systems) is a level 8 Honours Degree offered by the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems at the University of Limerick. This course has a very long track record of equipping students to be successful professionals in the dynamically changing world of the software industry.

3. Do I need to be good at Maths? It is not essential to be a genius at Maths, but being good at Maths helps. Problem solving and analytical ability are much more important requirements, and I am not sure that these skills are really tested in the Leaving Cert. The minimum Mathematics requirement (B2 at the Ordinary Level in the Leaving Cert.) is quite low relative to the amount of Mathematics that is covered in the Computer Systems course.

4. How many CAO points do I need? In 2015 the minimum points were 375, due to supply and demand. This has nothing to do with the quality of the course, or for that matter, the abilities of the students.

5. Why would I waste my points on a course that is only 375 points?  I expect to get much higher points than that in my Leaving Cert.
A good question, but why would you waste 4 or more years of your life on a course that does not lead to a wide choice of careers, enduring job satisfaction, the opportunity to work in different countries, or your own personal fulfillment? Many software developers would be software developers for the sheer fun of it, even if it was not their job. Because it is not targeted at a particular industry or kind of job, a degree in Computer Systems provides a good basic education that trains you in computational thinking.

6. What kind of job will I get afterwards? Probably a very good one, in the sense of being well-paid and satisfying. Most of the Computer Systems graduates go to work in software companies, in management consultancies, or in the software development departments of large businesses, such as banks or manufacturing companies. Their job titles include Programmer, Analyst/Programmer, Software Engineer, Systems Analyst, System Administrator, Database Administrator, etc. Check out this recruitment website offering IT Jobs, but you will find out at first hand during Coop.

7. What is Coop?
Cooperative education (COOP) is an integral part of every undergraduate course at U.L. Computer Systems COOP takes place after the second year, when students are placed in companies for 8 months of practical work.

8. What kind of work will I be doing on COOP? Most likely you will be part of a team, working with experienced software developers who will be impressed with your contribution. They will be assigning you tasks in some of the following areas: programming, probably program maintenance, help desk duty or technical support, system administration, software testing, Web page design and/or development.

9. What type of person is suited to a degree in Computer Systems? Many different kinds of people enjoy the challenges involved in this course. Historically (well, the course does go back a long time) up to 35% of the students have been female. People who enjoy solving problems, who are prepared to put in the time required and are motivated to succeed will do well in this course. About 10% of the class each year are mature students.

10. Is there a high drop-our rate?
Not really. Like all courses, some students find that this is not the course for them, but you are not forced to stay in a course if it does not suit you. The University of Limerick facilitates students who want to transfer between courses, to a much greater extent than other Universities.

The reasons for transferring are as varied as the people concerned. Some students do not make an informed decision before undertaking the course - the Leaving Cert. does not really prepare you for the nature of the work involved. Some students have the ability but lack the motivation. Others have the motivation, but their abilities are probably better suited to other courses or careers.

Contact


Course Director:  Dr. Norah Power
Email:                     This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Telephone:           +353-(0)61-202769

Course Structure

Click here to view Course Structure

Year 1 | Semester 1

Year 2 | Semester 1

Year 3 | Semester 1

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

2 Elective(s) to be chosenYear 4 | Semester 1

Year 1 | Semester 2

Year 2 | Semester 2

  •  

Year 3 | Semester 2

2 Elective(s) to be chosenYear 4 | Semester 2

  •