A company working in close cooperation with the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, University of Pécs has recently equipped an IT classroom with state-of-the-art, brand new computers that meet the needs of 21st century education. The ExxonMobil Business Support Centre Hungary Ltd. purchased 17 high-performance computers for the institute, which are capable of operating in a stand-alone network, making them suitable for teaching advanced courses. They also fit easily with the measurement tools used in education support at the Department of Systems and Software Engineering and the Dept. of Computer Engineering - and the collaboration will be used to further develop these tools in the future. In addition to financial support, the company, which has close links with the faculty, also offers students the opportunity to join projects and gain work experience during their university years.
A few years ago, the faculty launched BSc and MSc in Computer Science Engineering in English, which requires students to participate in an internship programme at a company. Several students spent their internships at ExxonMobil, where they got to know the company culture and the expectations of the international company, and the company also developed a positive image of the students' knowledge and skill levels. Two years ago, a programming competition organised by the faculty provided another reason to connect, and the company offered to fully equip one of the computer labs in the school. The room, equipped with 17 newly purchased state-of-the-art computers, is designed to be suitable for teaching both general IT skills and specific subjects. The computer network in the classroom can be completely separated from the university network, and has the potential for further development: additional devices, such as network equipment or measuring instruments suitable for university research, can be connected to it as well.
"Contrary to popular belief, IT is a highly resource-intensive industry and technology.
The IT education at our faculty is device-oriented, providing students with a variety of measurement tools and technical devices.
Sometimes, more powerful computers are necessary to perform certain tasks, as we work with or develop virtual machines and larger, interconnected systems. We use measurement or control tools, large computers or clouds, and to be able to serve the needs of market players, a higher education institute needs to continuously upgrade its tools. There is an industrial revolution going on, similar to the invention of the steam engine in its day, except that today the machines are computers. A basic computer can be programmed to do a great number of things. It can control the steering wheel of a car, or with artificial intelligence, it can collect medical data, all of this requires a highly developed base technology. The revolution today is in the search and invention of applications," says Prof. Dr. Péter Iványi, Head of the Department of Systems and Software Engineering, and supervisor of the BSc and MSc Computer Engineering programmes.
The cooperation between Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology and companies operating in the competitive sector is multifaceted: in addition to providing computers, tools and equipment to support higher education, companies also give lectures to students and invite them to work together on projects. Some companies run external departments at the faculty, and some of their staff members are embedded in the university's training programme, teaching classes and creating projects.
The faculty's lecturers try to tailor the course content in such a way that, in addition to deep professional knowledge, the students' soft skills - such as project management and communication - develop as well.
"It varies from company to company as to how and what methodology is used and what techniques are introduced. However, these are the areas that are particularly important for employees, and where students develop a lot during an internship. What we find is that when a student spends a semester at a company, their attitude to work and learning changes, they become more focused, more aware of what they want. Such relationships also strengthen their will to learn," says Prof. Dr. Péter Iványi.