Vacation Employment

Bachelor of Software Engineering (BSE) Student Information:

The Bachelor of Software Engineering (BSE) course (2770) is currently fully accredited by the Australian Computer Society (ACS) and by Engineers Australia (EA). One of the requirements for EA accreditation is that students graduating with Engineering degrees (including the BSE) complete 12 weeks of approved engineering work experience and submit a report on that work. This work is best undertaken in the vacation between second and third years and/or between third and fourth years. Students who have completed all academic requirements for their degrees are not eligible to graduate until this work experience has been completed.

Students wanting to graduate in the Bachelor of Software Engineering program must complete a statement during the course of their study or at the end of their four year program indicating if they have worked in a full-time job, for a period of 12 weeks (or more) either in one block or in 2 blocks of 8 + 4 or 6 + 6 weeks, in employment related to software engineering, computer science, IT or Engineering. They are required to follow the vacation guidelines below and submit two certificates of vacation employment (see below).

The Faculty of Information Technology keeps the original documentation from students and employers to support the case for continued full accreditation by Engineers Australia.

Vacation Employment Guidelines

The following guidelines are provided to assist the Bachelor of Software Engineering students to find suitable vacation employment that satisfies the eligibility criteria and write a report to complete the requirements.

Objectives

The main learning objectives of the vacation employment program for Software Engineering students at Monash are:

  • To gain experience within a professional engineering setting while studying for Bachelor of Software Engineering degree
  • To learn about the future career roles and paths in the software engineering, computer science, IT, Engineering or related profession
  • To produce a formal technical report of the vacation employment activity by reflecting on what was achieved at a professional, personal and peer group participation level.

Vacation Work

Students are responsible for finding their own employment. It is recommended that the students start looking for summer vacation work (Dec-Feb) during the mid year break (June). In practice, students who have completed at least two years of the BSE program are more likely to find vacation employment.

Possible ways to find vacation employment include:

  • career fairs during semester one
  • on-line and newspaper job ads
  • information circulated by the Faculty of Information Technology, or by the Wired IT students association, about local and international internship positions for our undergraduate students
  • Monash University Employment and Career Development website
  • contact organisations directly to apply for vacation work (financial institutions, telecommunication companies, transport and other utilities, government departments, small to medium enterprises, consultancies, other engineering firms and research organisations such as CSIRO and DSTO, etc).

Note: Summer vacation scholarship placements (including within Monash), and research projects undertaken with MURPA, can count towards meeting the vacation employment requirements.

Other Sources of Information

Students should check some of these sites for general information about engineering positions. They can also get an idea of what kinds of (short term) full-time positions are available and the rate of pay that you can expect if applicable.

Applying for Work

Students should make sure that their vacation job application is done professionally. It should include a covering letter, a CV and an academic transcript. The Monash Careers and Employment Service can provide assistance in the preparation of CVs and application letters. A sample letter of application for vacation employment is given in Writing for Science: a practical handbook for science, engineering and technology students (Silyn-Roberts, 1996, pg.170) (available at Hargrave-Andrew Library: 808.066 R587W). Sample application letters are also available from the Monash Careers and Employment Service, and in the course material for FIT2003 IT professional practice.

  • Name of the University, your course and your year level
  • Type of employment sought: Vacation Employment
  • Duration and relevant dates when you are available
  • Your contact details for interview and follow up
  • Why you want to work for that organisation
  • About you - any special area in SE /IT/Engineering that you are particularly interested in.

Remuneration

Although it is important if you find paid employment, to make sure that you are paid at an appropriate level for the work undertaken, you must also remember that vacation employment helps you gain valuable industry experience in a professional work environment. It is important to have terms and conditions of your employment in writing from the potential employer before commencing work.

Report

The report must demonstrate that the student has worked in an organisation with a professional engineering setting, but not necessarily with only an exclusive focus on software engineering practice. The formal report must include a record of the work experience or internship with an analysis of outcomes achieved. The report should contain a section on self-reflection and also record experiences on group interaction with peers.

A Spiral Bound copy of the report must be submitted to the vacation employment supervisor. It must include:

  1. Cover sheet with: Student Name and ID, BSE Year Level completed, Contact Details of the vacation employer, Contact Person Name, Phone no., email address, Company Name & Address, Dates of Employment.
  2. Employer's Certificate: A letter in the Employer's company letter head stating that student xxx has completed the assigned jobs and documented the work satisfactorily for the company's records  worked for xx weeks in the vacation employment.

The Body of the Formal Report: Report writing is an important skill for a professional software engineer. References on report writing are available at Andrew-Hargrave Library. Writing for Science: a practical handbook for science, engineering and technology students written by Silyn-Robert, Published by Longmna, NZ, 1996 is recommended by the Mechanical Engineering Department for their vacation employment students. Students should refer to that and any others that are available to produce a professional report about their vacation employment. For example, a formal report should contain a title page, an executive summary, a table of contents, an introduction and a conclusion. The sections headings (and sub-headings) need to be appropriate, though they may vary depending on the nature of the work experience, and can be based on the following:

  1. A brief description of the Vacation Employer's Business and its organisational structure (max. 3000 characters)
  2. A description of the engineering process involved from the project/job; allocation to its completion in terms of assignment of tasks, monitoring of work in progress, how is evaluation done to ensure completion of the job on time and within budget. Include comments on any outcomes of interest out of the assigned work and process (max. 3000 characters)
  3. A description of the interactions and communication flows in the company between various groups: between (software) engineers, between management and staff; and between software engineers and technicians. Give names and positions of people to whom you were responsible (max. 3000 characters)
  4. An overview of the projects in which the student was involved  and details of the actual work that the student did ( max. 3000 characters)
  5. References to how the theoretical/practical knowledge in the BSE course was applied in the vacation work and any difficulties experienced (max. 3000 characters)
  6. A critical review of the value of the vacation employment experience to the student (max. 3000 characters)

Assessment

The vacation employment supervisor or a designated staff member will read the completed report by the student and assess whether the student has completed the vacation employment satisfactorily and whether the formal technical report meets the requirements as set out above. The supervisor or the designated staff will notify the student if the report is unsatisfactory or the work experience is not suitable.

The student and the Faculty of Information Technology administrative area responsible for recording student course completion details will be notified if the student has successfully completed a vacation employment component.

Note that a student may complete the 12 weeks of full-time vacation employment in one block or in 2 blocks. If a student is completing the requirements in 2 blocks, it is important to include the details of the satisfactory completion of the 1st block of employment along with the second and final documentation. The student must keep a copy of the report for their records and the original will be kept at Monash.

Submission of the Report

Reports must be submitted to the vacation employment supervisor in the Faculty of Information Technology office at Clayton campus. Students must submit their reports at least 12 weeks prior to the date of graduation ceremony to ensure that they are assessed in time for including these student names in the graduation list.