BSc (Hons) Software Development for Business

Honours degree; for employees in Scotland; duration 4 years; 20% study, 80% work

The programme

BSc (Hons)
New or existing employees in Scotland
4 years
No limit
20% at University, 80% at work

The Software Development for Business GA programme is designed to provide a solid foundation in computing and its necessary applied skills. It includes object-oriented web programming, writing algorithms and understanding fundamental database programming and management, as well as network security.

An introduction to the programme

In this recorded webinar Dr Santiago Chumbe, programme director, gives an overview of the Software Development for Business course. (Press 'c' on your keyboard to turn YouTube auto-captions on and off.)

This programme helps you develop highly skilled employees in:

  • Software development and testing
  • Web development
  • Database architecture and development.

Graduate skillset

The Software Development for Business graduate apprenticeship programme aims to produce BSc (Hons) graduates who:

  • have a solid foundation in computer science and are proficient in applying programming techniques in diverse application
  • are able to operate in a team and multidisciplinary contexts
  • have problem-solving skills
  • have the ability to develop innovative solutions to society's practical needs
  • have developed professional competencies of software engineers.

Key areas of the programme

The primary focus of the Software Development for Business graduate apprenticeship programme is on developing the knowledge, understanding and skills outcomes sought by employers.


  • Business functions, behaviours, ethics, and courtesies
  • Business strategy and management
  • Business finance and accounting
  • Data structures and algorithms
  • Object-oriented programming
  • Design and development of interactive systems
  • Web applications and mobile apps
  • Database management systems
  • Software development life cycle
  • Software design, modelling and analysis
  • Software architectures and design patterns
  • Software verification, testing and quality assurance
  • Cloud-native applications
  • Data mining, modelling and data analysis
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • Network and software security
Personal and interpersonal
  • Communications
  • Personal attributes
  • Professional attributes
  • Team working
Software project and delivery management
  • Project management methodologies
  • Project planning
  • Project execution
  • Agile project delivery
  • Risk assessment and management
  • Software project planning and management
  • Software configuration and release management

Why Heriot-Watt?

Our graduates are specialist, creative, professional, global citizens. With five campuses, in Edinburgh, Galashiels, Orkney, Dubai and Malaysia, Heriot-Watt is a truly global community. Our partners are already seeing the benefits.

GAs provide another avenue for keen and talented employees who don't have the background in computer science to gain this knowledge.

Nicholas Goodall, Engineering Manager, Adobe

Program Director for GA Software Development for Business Dr. Yun-Heh (Jessica) Chen-Burger explains:

"Employers like our graduates' distinctive blend of core skills and specialist knowledge, and their ability to work both individually and in a team. There is a dedicated team of academics in our computer science department for the graduate apprenticeships program.

"The Software Development for Business program is carefully designed to provide intensive learning support during the first two years while allowing more flexibilities and freedom for apprentices to design and lead their own learning in the latter two years. To support GA's work-based learning, blended online learning is one of our main approaches."

The computer science department at Heriot-Watt University has a unique, rich expertise through its ICBL (Institute for Computer-Based Learning) related to technology-enhanced learning in general, and ICBL has been contributing to research and online learning projects since 2006.

Dr Jessica Chen-Burger, former programme director for the GA Software Development for Business programme

Heriot-Watt University is consistently ranked at a high level across a number of key university league tables:

Top 25% in the UK for Computer Science, the Complete University Guide 2018