The Software Engineering Body of Knowledge V4 is due to land in 2023. Here’s some quick thoughts on an article summarizing the V4 updates and their impact on education.

For those who are unfamiliar, the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK) organizes and outlines generally accepted software engineering practices. It is an IEEE standard meant to define a shared baseline of software knowledge to improve education and training across the field.

The article I’m reviewing, Envisioning software engineer training needs in the digital era through the SWEBOK V4 prism, is just 5 pages long. Most of it is a table if you want to look up information on specific topics.

What interested me most about this article was that the authors experimented with educational techniques for each of the SWEBOK knowledge areas and suggest educational methods best suited for each topic.

Project-based learning and reflection are the overwhelming favorite educational methods across the board. This is also reflected in the specific recommendations in various knowledge area comments. Running integrated projects, analyzing past projects, or simulating situations using past projects were regularly mentioned as recommended educational approaches.

Another noteable recommendation was to teach software construction (i.e. writing code) using automated tests and examples.

These educational recommendations make sense in light of the key themes in the SWEBOK updates.

The first theme in the SWEBOK v4 updates is accelerated and more integrated software lifecycles. In other words, more rapid delivery with developers involved across more lifecycle activities. The developers increasingly participate in decisions and are not walled-off implementers. All this requires developers with a better sense of how quality and process flow is impacted throughout the software lifecycle.

In this light, continuous processes like Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and the DevOps movement underlie many of the SWEBOK v4 updates.

The report also calls out low-code/no-code and AI assistance as special topics. That fits well with their forecasted acceleration of development flows. These tools facilitate developers delivering quickly while participating across more of the software lifecycle.

In summary, SWEBOK v4 caters to faster development cycles with developers participating in decisions across the lifecycle. This requires new tools to improve developer productivity and suitable educational methods. Project-based and reflective learning are the top recommended teaching techniques. This makes sense, practice and prior examples are key to building the necessary experience for such integrated and fast-paced expectations.