Whether supporting the port of Hamburg in implementing emission-reducing measures, developing an authentication system via smartphone or smartwatch for the “Bundesdruckerei” or designing a solution for automated software tests to support programmers - Bachelor students at the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) in Potsdam learn to work on complex IT projects in cooperation with external partners. In doing so, they explore ways to find structured and targeted solutions for real problems as part of their studies.
Towards the end of the fourth semester of their studies, HPI students choose one of the IT projects on offer. Guided by their professors and academic advisors, teams of three to eight students each work independently on the corresponding topic for about a year as a final step in their studies. The emphasis is not only on becoming creative as developers. A variety of skills, which are essential for successful project implementation in later professional practice, are applied and tested.
The curriculum of the first four semesters is designed to prepare students as ideally as possible for the bachelor project. In addition to the basics of classic computer science, the courses provide knowledge in the planning, development and evaluation of complex and networked IT systems. Since extensive groups of developers with different roles are involved in the creation of such systems, HPI places particular emphasis on teaching communication skills, soft skills, and project and self-management know-how.
Since 2002, the prospective IT engineers at HPI have worked on over 180 projects. The bachelor's project thus represents a unique selling point of HPI's training program. Project partners include institutions from the fields of business, politics, society and research, such as AMG, AOK, Beckhoff Automation, BMW, Bundesdruckerei, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Charité, Deutsche Post, Brandenburg Police College, GETEMED, Hamburg Port Authority, IBM Germany, the State of Berlin, SAP, Siemens and TomTom.
For instance, a solution was developed for the Port of Hamburg that enables the calculation and evaluation of its own emission data in real time. For this purpose, 1.5 million data records per day from ship movements, traffic flows and environmental sensors were linked and visualized in real time. Together with the “Bundesdruckerei,” five bachelor students developed a system which will enable future users to authenticate themselves to online services using a smartphone or Smartwatch with the highest possible level of data protection. Lengthy registration processes are thus made easier.
The bachelor's project does not, however, end with the development of the corresponding solution, but rather culminates in the public presentation of the results in the "HPI Bachelor's Podium". Since 2005, the annual format has been in place, in which teams present their innovative results to an audience on an auditorium stage. In this way, the bachelor's projects ideally prepare future IT managers for the reality of their professional life.