UNI­VER­SITY OF HULL

A long-es­tab­lished in­sti­tu­tion with strong in­dus­try links

EDGE - - TIME EXTEND -

“We have alumni in most ma­jor stu­dios, and they of­ten visit us”

The Uni­ver­sity Of Hull dis­tin­guishes it­self with a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence that in­cludes an in-house com­mer­cial devel­op­ment stu­dio, SEED, run by stu­dents and staff. Hull’s Com­puter Science For Games Devel­op­ment course of­fers a three-year BSc, one-year MSc or in­te­grated fouryear MEng, and is de­liv­ered by staff such as se­nior lec­turer War­ren Viant.

Why should stu­dents choose the Uni­ver­sity Of Hull?

Over our 20 years of game pro­gram­ming ed­u­ca­tion, we’ve ac­quired a rep­u­ta­tion for grad­u­at­ing high-qual­ity game pro­gram­mers. We have alumni in most ma­jor stu­dios, and these stu­dios of­ten visit us to pro­vide guest lec­tures to stu­dents and give us feed­back to use in our cur­ricu­lum devel­op­ment. So be­tween these in­dus­trial links and our fo­cus on staff devel­op­ment, we’re able to pre­dict which skills stu­dents are likely to need when they grad­u­ate with a good de­gree of ac­cu­racy. Another ma­jor ad­van­tage that Hull of­fers is the op­por­tu­nity to work on real, com­mer­cial projects within SEED, our in-house soft­ware devel­op­ment unit, or HIVE, our vir­tual en­vi­ron­ment cen­tre.

What’s the think­ing be­hind those ini­tia­tives?

Be­ing able to pro­gram well is key, but em­ploy­ers want more than just ro­bots who can churn out C++ code – they also want to see a wider skillset: team­work, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, deal­ing with clients, and pro­fes­sion­al­ism are all crit­i­cal skills too. SEED and HIVE are our solutions to this, al­low­ing us to teach valu­able em­ploy­a­bil­ity skills and ex­pose stu­dents to real com­mer­cial soft­ware devel­op­ment with a wide range of clients. One of SEED’s most suc­cess­ful prod­ucts is an Emer­gency Ser­vice Com­mand & Con­trol sys­tem used by many UK fire ser­vices. The im­por­tance of this ex­pe­ri­ence is hard to over­state. Stu­dents are ex­posed to the project life cy­cle: they meet cus­tomers, gather re­quire­ments, agree the spec­i­fi­ca­tions, de­velop the soft­ware, and de­liver, in­stall and sup­port the prod­uct.

Which tools do you fo­cus on?

In terms of tools and soft­ware devel­op­ment kits, we fo­cus on Vis­ual Stu­dio 2013/2015, Para­soft C++ Test, In­tel Par­al­lel Stu­dio, Sony PlayS­ta­tion Suite, DirectX, HLSL, OpenGL and GLSL. How­ever, li­braries and game en­gines such as Unity and Un­real are avail­able for use in projects, and our stu­dents have used them to great ef­fect in game jams and com­pe­ti­tions. The skills they de­velop with us mean they can quickly learn and use other tech­nolo­gies, which is im­por­tant as they pur­sue their ca­reers in this ever-chang­ing field.

What do you hope your stu­dents will gain from their time at Hull?

The big ad­van­tage – and the one that makes Hull unique – is the op­por­tu­nity for high-qual­ity in­dus­trial ex­pe­ri­ence for stu­dents in SEED and HIVE, which is guar­an­teed for all masters stu­dents. There are other, wider ben­e­fits to this too, in­clud­ing an in­creased aware­ness of, and in­volve­ment in, com­mer­cial soft­ware devel­op­ment by aca­demic staff – over half of us are ac­tively en­gaged in SEED-re­lated ac­tiv­ity. The avail­abil­ity of rel­e­vant com­mer­cial soft­ware devel­op­ment also pro­vides case stud­ies we can in­te­grate into the teach­ing of soft­ware en­gi­neer­ing. This gives stu­dents a valu­able in­sight into their fu­ture ca­reers and helps to en­sure all our pro­grammes min­imise the skills gap be­tween grad­u­a­tion and em­ploy­ment.

SEED is cur­rently work­ing with HFR Solutions to pro­duce VR train­ing sys­tems for the emer­gency ser­vices

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