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The first graduates in Software engineering (FIL)

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By Lionel Luquin, director of studies

Three years after the software engineering course (FIL) was introduced, the first students have graduated. This original three year course, a full-time sandwich course, admits students who have a computer science diploma (DUT, or even BTS) and trains them to become professional engineers. These first graduates are a source of pride not only for the students but also for the Ecole des Mines itself.

The success of this programme is the result of several years' work. For a long time, Mines Nantes has been trying to introduce new professsional training courses, sandwich courses such as the 'Descomps' engineering course, which is open to students from different backgrounds to those usually admitted. However due to lack of funding, this project was brought to a close. In 2011, a partnership was finally established with the ITII (Industrial engineering technical institute) of the Loire region, with funding from the region, and support from a number of industrial companies. The objective is to train engineers capable of designing and developing major software systems, and to guide them in their implementation. Armed with experience in using emerging technologies, they are destined for positions in research and in development, in systems integration engineering, as technical architect,or as IT project manager in a variety of setups : service providers, startups, large industrial groups or service groups.

In order to train for these profiles, it was necessary to design special courses and adapt the style of teaching, taking into account the varied backgrounds and levels of the students. As well as the IT department, the school is supported by the expertise provided by the Social Sciences and Management department.The course aims to train students in abstract thinking, and to make them operational in a short space of time.

As well as specific subjects, there are core subjects in common with the other engineering students at the school. The small numbers of students - 24 students per year when the course is up and running - means that the students can work closely with lecturers and tutors, and benefit fom quality individual monitoring.

There is also a strong emphasis on the level of English. After two years, the students have to sit the British Council IELTS exam, which is required for entry to American and international universities. This is then followed by a work placement abroad.

All these elements are designed to enable students to move easily into the professional world, armed with a diploma that is appreciated by the companies. In fact one student took up a very good job offer in a company in Cambridge (UK).

 

A large number of job offers

 

We are not at all worried about job prospects.There are many opportunities in the IT sector. Big new groups such as Thales, well known SMEs like Somfy, and digital services companies (ESN), as SOPRA whose vice-president is the sponsor of the first class this year, are interested in taking on the graduates from this course. A recent study of skills needed in the Pays de la Loire region confirmed the scope of what is needed in the sector.

The first class of graduates has made a successful transition from school to career. Many graduates decided to continue studying, including one at HEC, and another at ESSEC. And the school received a number of offers, particularly through the graduates' CV book.

The FIL course has proved to be a useful experience for the school. It is quite possible that in the future it will capitalize on the experience, and set up another another course like this…. if companies acknowledge the demand for one.

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