Australian Software Factory

Centre for Research on Engineering Software Technologies

Australian Software Factory (ASF) is aimed at bringing software developers (i.e., students enrolled in relevant tertiary degree programs), educationists and trainers, and private and public organizations and citizens together for building and leveraging software development capabilities and competencies. The Australian Software Factory provides software development students with a unique platform for gaining and applying theoretical knowledge and practical skills of effectively and efficiently designing, developing, and evolving software based innovative solutions for real World problems. The Australian Software Factory enables students enrolled in software development degrees to use their summer holidays to experience how industrial software development projects are conceived, designed, implemented, and delivered.

The students are engaged in problem-based learning about software development using state-of-the-art software development methods, processes, and tools. The students work on assigned projects in close collaboration with project owners. Each project team consists of 3 members who follow the principles of self-organizing teams according to Agile Methods. Each team may be part of a cluster that work on larger projects broken down into sub-projects for different teams in a cluster. The working culture and mentoring approaches emphasize the value of discovering innovative ways of solving complex problems through experimentation. This develops practical skills grounded in fundamental theories of computing, peer reviews, self-reflections and mentoring. Whilst the students work in small teams (i.e., 3 members), they are encouraged to take a cohort approach for creating a supportive and conducive working environment and community of practices.

The Australian Software Factory runs from December to February, which is summer break in Australian Universities. The participating students are chosen based on their academic achievements, software development skills, and enthusiasm to learn and excel in the software development profession. The Australian Software Factory takes in only 12 highly motivated and keen software development students each year. The selected students spend at least 20 hours per week on the assigned project and endeavor to uphold the policies and procedures of the ASF.

The students can join ASF for achieving different academic and professional development goals. For example, some students may join ASF for advancing their knowledge and skills of software development methods and practices by working on challenging and complex projects before going to the job market; others may join ASF to fulfill their work experience requirements if the prefer to work in more familiar environment that can give them a feeling for the industrial software development setting; another set of students may join ASF in order to develop their skillsets for use in their final year projects.