Document Type

Conference Proceeding




Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Computer and Information Science




This conference paper was originally published as: Duley, R. , & Maj, S. P. (2002). Cutting Hacking: Breaking from Tradition. Proceedings of 15th Conference on Software Engineering Education and Training. (pp. 224 - 233). USA. IEEE. Original article available here

© 2002 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works.


Code construction is the one inescapable phase of the software development cycle yet educators seem unable to escape the mind-set which equates programming with syntax and semantics. Accumulated coding wisdom of more than four decades, now being codified in the SWEBOK, should smooth the process of learning to develop software if presented early in the student's career. Typically, however, it continues to be presented in advanced programming units rather than as fundamental understanding. As a consequence, code hacking is the norm in undergraduate years. This paper examines current practice and presents the view that what is needed is not a return to basics but rather an advance to basics - that syntax and semantics should be seen as a means of expression of formulated ideas and that student software engineers should be exposed immediately to the notion of code construction as the application of basic concepts rather than fluency in a language - thereby potentially bringing together programming practice and software engineering theory



Access Rights



Link to publisher version (DOI)