Module Identifier COM8220  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Mr Christopher W Loftus  
Semester Available all semesters  
Pre-Requisite Available only to students taking the Diploma/MSc in Computer Science scheme in Singapore.  
Course delivery Workload Breakdown   55 hours of contact time; lectures, practicals, workshops.  
  Workload Breakdown   145 hours of private study, practical work and assessment.  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours Written Examination  50%
Semester Assessment Assignment  50%
Supplementary Assessment Supplementary examination will take the same form, under the terms of the Department's policy  100%

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
1. select appropriate procurement strategies, including contractual arrangements, and identify appropriate tenderers for substantial software procurements;

2. participate at a professional level in the preparation of invitations to tender and responses to such invitations;

3. critically assess the human resource strategy of a software company;

4. assess the effects of legislation relating to the engineering profession and professional codes of conduct, as they exist in different countries, on the operations of a software company.

5. plan networks that are cost effective and realistic in terms of products and services currently available;

6. critically assess proposed networking solutions;

7. investigate, and propose solutions to, problems of quality of service;

8. assess the effect of likely technological and regulatory developments on existing network applications.

9. make decisions and provide guidance to others in the choice of appropriate communications technologies to deploy, to solve real world requirements.

Brief description

This module covers the basic technology of the Internet and other communications systems. It goes on to consider the structure of the software industry, the basic procurement methods and contractual models, and issues connected with intellectual property rights, human resource management and professionalism.


Part A

1. Introduction

2. History of Communications A brief history of the development of both the technology and regulation of communication systems. Common Carriers; Singaporean carriers: SingTel and the new market entrants.

3. Basics of Data Communication Analogue and digital data transmission; Synchronous and Asynchronous transmission; Parallel and Serial transmission; Modems and the PSTN, concentrators, multiplexors; Co-ax, twisted pair, fibre optic media; Speed, distance, error rates of various transmission media.

4. Local Area Networks Bus, Ring, Star topologies; Cost of attaching devices to networks; Media access and sharing strategies.

5. Wide Area Network technologies and services Public Switched Networks and private lines; Kilostream, Megastream and similar services; N-ISDN; Examples of WANs. Fast Network Technologies.

6. Standards The needs for standards and the areas they cover; Standards setting process; Standards setting bodies; BSI, ISO, ANSI, IEEE, ITU (CCITT), IAB; IETF;De facto standards. The ISO OSI Model.

7. The Internet The Internet, its applications and their history and evolution. Internet standards, control and regulation. Protocols used on the Internet such as: IP, ICMP, TCP, UDP, FTP, Telnet, etc.

Part B

1. The Industry The nature and characteristics of the software industry: broad and narrow definitions. Classification of the products of the industry. Treatment of software assets under different accounting regimes. Structure of the software industry: distribution by size, ownership, specialisation. The growth of outsourcing and its effect on the structure of the industry in different countries. Treatment of software in the calculation of GDP.

2. Procurement Bespoke software v. packaged software. Identifying potential suppliers.   Procurement strategies: study of a range of strategies used for procuring large systems by governments in different countries. Case studies of some major procurement failures. Problems occasioned by the need for long-term maintenance of large software systems. Contracts for the provision of bespoke software: fixed price, time and materials. Contracts for packaged software. Use of standard terms and conditions. The Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977.

3. Management Mission statements, aims and objectives. The need for strategic planning and the problems of doing it in technology-driven industry. Application pull v. technology push. Comparison of the problems of strategic planning in hi-tech products companies and service companies. Special problems of human resource management in the software industry: difficulties caused by a project-based environment; need to keep technical knowledge up to date; effect of strong competition for qualified staff. Motivational theory: application of theories such as Maslow's hierarchy of needs and Herzberg's two factor theory to the software industry. Case study of a medium-sized bespoke software company.

4. Regulation Regulation of the engineering profession in the UK, the USA and continental Europe. The Washington Accord and the Bologna Declaration. Codes of conduct: the BCS code, the IEEE-CS/ACM joint code.

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
M.F. Bott, J.A. Coleman, J. Eaton, and D. Rowland. (2001) Professional Issues in Software Engineering. 3. Taylor and Francis, London ISBN 0748409513
B A Forouzan (2000) Introduction to data communications and networking. 2. WCB/McGraw-Hill ISBN 0071181601


This module is at CQFW Level 7