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Studying Software Engineering at HSE

The Master’s programme in System and Software Engineering aims to provide students an opportunity not only to acquire the knowledge and experience they need in their chosen profession, but also to help them generate a systemic view on bringing resolutions to the difficult professional challenges they are certain to face in the future. Academic Supervisor Dmitry Alexandrov talks about programme features and international students share their experience of living and studying in Moscow.

The Master’s programme in System and Software Engineering aims to provide students an opportunity not only to acquire the knowledge and experience they need in their chosen profession, but also to help them generate a systemic view on bringing resolutions to the difficult professional challenges they are certain to face in the future. This is especially true as it relates to modelling process-oriented parallel and distributed information systems, designing integrated information systems, implementing resource-efficient algorithms, and creating services for analysis, recognition and information processing.

Dmitry Alexandrov, Academic Supervisor of the programme, points out: ‘As part of the educational process, we engage professionals from leading companies in the IT industry, including Microsoft, IBM, Apple, Yandex, Mail.Ru Group, CROC, and MERA, which will enable students to eventually become leading experts in their profession.’

He adds that the primary emphasis of the programme is on students’ acquisition of skills in managing software creation, component-based development of software products, creating mobile apps for popular platforms, implementing a cloud back-end for client applications, designing ergonomic user interfaces, and understanding market laws and business models for monetizing apps. These skills and necessary both today for graduates looking to secure employment in their area of study and for them to later engage in continuous training throughout their professional lives; this is especially relevant for the IT field given the rapid, almost daily, changes in programming languages, platforms and technologies.

Solving real world challenges while studying abroad

Apart from academic motivations, students from around the world come to HSE to take part in projects aimed at solving real world challenges. One suchstudent is Hu Ping from Brown University (USA)who is studying on an exchange programme organized by Middlebury College (USA). After spending three years studying Russian, Hu wanted a chance to practice her language skills as she works on a project called Taxigram, an application designed to calculate the best routes with respect to time and price and allow for ordering any means of transport directly from the application.

‘Taxigram is part of my coursework for Mobile Application Development for iOS, taught by Dmitri Alexandrov’, Hu said. ‘What makes Taxigram different from other taxi ordering apps is its ability to suggest routes that use both a taxi and public transport – this helps save money and time. The look, feel and functionality of the app are also customized for each city. Currently, I work on the iOS side, adding and improving various features, including a button to conveniently order a taxi to or from any of the three airports in Moscow’.

Apart from Taxigram, Hu is also involved in other app development projects, including one that may prove useful for foreign students in Moscow. ‘Right now I'm working on a speech-to-text translation app. It'll allow users to record speech and create vocabulary decks to study from’, he said.

Following her exchange programme at HSE, Hu plans to complete an internship at Dropbox over the summer before her final year at Brown University where she studies Computer Science.

Expanding horizons

Mahammed Umaru is another international student who chose to attend one of Russia’s top programmes in the field of software development technology while gaining opportunities for personal growth and development that come from experiencing a different culture.

‘I have had a great experience so far despite some of the challenges I’ve faced. I will give the school credit for not only impacting knowledge but also for being open to students to express their opinions about the issues and challenges each is facing in the course of study’, he said.

Mahammed is currently working on two apps, including one that serves as a counterfeit medicine detector using NFC technology. The other app is HSEBUDDY, which is intended for the university’s International HSE Buddy Network.

I have had a great experience so far despite some of the challenges I’ve faced. I will give the school credit for not only impacting knowledge but also for being open to students to express their opinions about the issues and challenges each is facing in the course of study

‘The idea for HSEBUDDY came to mind after receiving the help of HSE’s buddy network during my registration and enrolment’, he said. ‘Despite the effort they made to help international students, certain challenges were faced by some international students and the buddies themselves. In a nutshell, this app will enhance the buddy network performance and will help international students know everything they need about HSE and Russia at any given time’.

During his time at HSE, Mahammed has developed a fondness for Moscow, especially its pace of life and architecture. ‘There is an energy to this city that is quite unlike anywhere else I've ever seen’, he said. ‘The hustle and bustle of Moscow's Metro during rush hour, for example, cannot fail to get your heart racing. It is vibrant, intense and also beautiful. On the other hand, its raw energy and power can crush you underfoot if you don't treat it with the respect it deserves and commands’.

Regarding his plans for the future,  Mahammed is above all looking to improve his own life and the lives of other people. ‘I believe that what I learn and know will only make a difference if it can bring solutions to a big problem that affects humanity and makes the lives of others better’, he said.

The best option available

‘My main reason for coming to HSE Moscow was that I wanted to study computer science and software engineering in English in Moscow. HSE was basically my only option. There were no other programmes taught in English’, said Joonatan Heiskanen, who chose HSE after a Russian friend of his had learned about the opportunity.

‘I felt excited when I arrived, and a buddy was at the train station to meet me’, Joonatan said. ‘Moscow seemed like a maze, so it was very good that the buddy was there’.

My main reason for coming to HSE Moscow was that I wanted to study computer science and software engineering in English in Moscow. HSE was basically my only option. There were no other programmes taught in English

Like many international students, Joonatan found language to be one of the most difficult aspects of adjusting to life in Moscow. ‘Most things here are written in Russian, so even navigating the Metro is almost impossible without being able to read’, he said. ‘I learned the basics of language quickly with friends and the HSE language course, so I got used to it quickly. Also, going to shop for products was hard in the beginning when you can’t read what you are buying. Students who had been here longer were very helpful. People coming here should definitely learn a bit of Russian, at the very least learn to read the Cyrillic alphabet. It takes a week and it will be immensely helpful’.

Despite the initial difficulties, Joonatan has adapted well, discovering several malls for shopping, movie theatres, parks, and places to eat with friends. Following the completion of his studies, Joonatan plans to stay in Moscow and develop his career.

See also:

Bachelor's Programme in Software Engineering Receives Prestigious International Accreditation

The high quality of HSE’s Bachelor programme has been recognised by experts on the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), the headquarters of which are located in the U.S. For more than 85 years, ABET has been accrediting college and university programmes in the applied and natural sciences, computing, engineering and engineering technology. HSE’s Software Engineering programme is the only one in Russia to have received this accreditation.

'The Best Experience of My Life'

HSE is becoming more and more popular among foreign students. We talked to English speaking graduates of the English-taught Master’s programme System and Software Engineering and found out about their experience of studying in HSE, life in Moscow, and what do they do as professionals now.

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In May, the HSE Voronovo Learning Centre hosted the International Spring School on Human Rights, a five-day educational retreat organized jointly by the HSE Department of Public Policy, the University of Bologna and the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

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French Delegation Visits School of Business Informatics to Discuss Cooperation in Big Data Studies

In March 2016, the School of Business Informatics (Faculty of Business and Management) at HSE was visited by a delegation from France’s University of Évry; in late 2015, a student exchange agreement was signed between HSE and this university. The delegation brought 19 students from the Master’s programmes in the field of big data at the University of Évry to Moscow.

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‘Texts and Places: Introduction to Russian History, Language and Culture’ (I testi dei luoghi: introduzione alla storia, alla cultura e alla lingua russa), an international Spring School at HSE organized jointly by Julia Ivanova, leading research fellow at the Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities, and the University of Eastern Piedmont Amedeo Avogadro, took place from March 15 to 23.

Computer Science Faculty Students Win Yandex Hackathon

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American Student Does Mathematical Research at HSE

Nicholas Howell is a PhD student at University of Oregon. He came to HSE Faculty of Mathematics on the invitation of his research advisor Vadim Vologodsky to do research during two months. In his interview Nick talks about his time in Moscow.