An Industry Perspective on What We Should Be Teaching Our Next Generation of Software Practitioners in the Universities with Paul McMahon

It has been observed that what we have traditionally been teaching our future software practitioners in the universities is significantly different from what practitioners often experience when they leave the university and go into industry. As an example, one software engineering professor recently stated that we give students requirements and ask them to develop software to meet those requirements, but our students often don’t have real stakeholders and we don’t give them ambiguous requirements like they will face in industry.

This presentation explores an approach to help bridge this gap utilizing actual, common industry situations along with the Essence framework to better prepare our next generation of software professionals for the challenges they are certain to face in industry. Specific examples discussed include the critical areas of stakeholder management, requirements management, defect management, and cybersecurity.  The need for improved critical thinking skills will be highlighted along with practical examples that can be used today in the universities to help students strengthen these essential skills and be better prepared for future challenges.

Paul E. McMahon

Paul E. McMahon is Principal Consultant at PEM Systems where he has been coaching large and small teams in practical approaches to increase agility for the last 20 years. Prior to his independent coaching, Paul spent 25 years working as a software developer in the US defense industry. Paul recently released his seventh technical book, Shy Boys: Notes from Ten Years of Working with Software Engineering Giants. When he isn't coaching you can find Paul running or playing golf. He has completed 20 marathons including 12 Boston Marathons. You can email him at