TRU launches new software engineering program

New software engineering program funded by local industry and government

TRU’s new software engineering program proves that the university is well on its way to having a full-fledged engineering program, says TRU dean of science, Tom Dickinson. (Christian Varty/The Omega)

All over our beautiful campus trees have started to drop their leaves and begun their annual amber and orange botanical decay. But between Old Main and The Clocktower there is a refuge of greenery. The evergreens still wear their lush green needles over the surrounding fields of grass.

Just after noon on Oct. 4 students started to fill up the interconnected sidewalks and pathways that run through the grassy knolls.

Tom Dickinson, dean of science at Thompson Rivers University, was there eagerly waiting the inaugural group of students that are the first to be enrolled in the software engineering program.

Thompson Rivers University has been trying to get an engineering program at the school for the better half of a decade now. The new software engineer program is the first step to reaching that goal. The program will also have a mandatory co-op program in the third-year where students will have the opportunity to experience what it’s like to be a software engineer in the real world.

Funds have been given to the school both from the government and from local tech businesses that want to see Kamloops upgraded into a player in Western Canada.

The Omega specifically asked Tom Dickinson about the history of engineering at TRU. While there has not been a full engineering program, TRU has been involved in a transfer program for over 30 years. This transfer program had been incredibly successful, with notable graduates being the dean of engineering at UBC, as well as the head of energy sustainability at BC Hydro.

“We’ve got a long list of very talented people, which is a testament to the fact that we’re small, and that it’s a very close connection we share to the professors. I think those qualities that we pride ourselves with at TRU translated very well when they went down to continue their studies,”  Dickinson said.

While the first class to attend the program is small, it is evident that the students feel a shared sense of belonging amongst each other. During the obligatory christening speech, the students were joking with each other and poking and prodding their peers, all the while with smiles on their faces.

It’s around a month into the school year and already everyone seems well-acquainted. The Omega had the chance to speak with some of the students enrolled in the new program. Most of the students were not in their first-year and had come from other programs. It seems that this new program has attracted attention from a wide background of students.

“It’s amazing to be the first generation of software engineers here. I’m excited to meet my new instructors, to have classes in the new labs,” said Antonio Patron about being in the first wave of a new cascade of engineers that will soon be graduating from TRU.