Module Identifier CS38010  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Mark B Ratcliffe  
Semester Semester 2 (Taught over 2 semesters)  
Other staff Miss Allison Coleman, Professor Diane Rowland, Mrs Janet H Hardy, Mr Rhys Parry  
Mutually Exclusive Only available to students registered for degrees in the Department  
Course delivery Lecture   22 lectures  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Course Work: Development of a business plan for a small business  50%
Semester Assessment Essay:  50%
Supplementary Assessment Will take the same form, under the terms of the Department's policy.  100%
Further details  

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will, in the context of a small software company, be able to:

Brief description

Employers of graduates in computing disciplines are unanimous in agreeing that such graduates should be familiar with a range of non-technical material, legal, financial, managerial and organisational, that is relevant to the industrial or commercial context in which the graduate will work. The Engineering Council also supports this view and requires that accredited courses should include such material and that it should be assessed.
Some material of this kind is taught at appropriate points in other modules at lower levels. The purpose of this module is to present material in the key areas of professionalism, finance, health and safety, and intellectual property in a more unified fashion, in the context of the software industry.


1. Organisations and their Structures
Limited companies, private and public; partnerships; sole traders. Special features of limited companies; responsibilities of directors.

2. Company Finance
The need for capital; investment and working capital; sources of funds; equity capital and loan capital. Cash flow and its importance. Costing: fixed costs and variable costs; overheads; opportunity costs; depreciation. Problems of cost allocation. Budgeting. Assessment of capital investment. Discounted cash flow analysis, with particular reference investment in software tolls and new product development. Financial accounts: balance sheets, profit and loss accounts, cash flow statements. The treatment of software in company accounts. Ownership of rights in software as goodwill.

3. Intellectual Property
The nature of intellectual property. The law relating to different types of intellectual property (confidential information, copyright, trade marks, patents) and the relevance of each type to the software industry.

4. Health and Safety
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and other relevant statutory provisions. Human factors. Financial considerations.
Regulatory issues as they affect software systems: standards, certification and licensing, professional codes of practice, legal regulation. Liability: negligence and product liability; the Consumer Protection Act 1987; negligence. Is software a product?

5. The Engineering Profession
The structure of the engineering profession, both in the UK and abroad. Professional codes of conduct and codes of practice.

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
M.F. Bott, J.A. Coleman, J. Eaton, and D. Rowland (2001) Professional Issues in Software Engineering 3rd Ed.. Taylor and Francis, London ISBN 0748409513


This module is at CQFW Level 6