Student Research: IT on Time, on Budget

April 24, 2009

First-year graduate student Neethi Shenoy studies software development and the business behind it. A love for technology may be required, but that's not all. Add: strong organization, budgeting, and—despite the geeky stereotype—some intelligent social skills to bring a team of diverse talents together.

For her INI graduate program, the Pittsburgh-Silicon Valley M.S. in Information Technology - Software Management, Neethi carefully scrutinizes IT projects of past and present to understand why they succeed, or fail. She is not only building upon her knowledge of engineering and computer science but also learning strategy, accounting, teamwork and marketing.

In January, she joined the efforts of Silicon Valley professors Martin Griss and Martin Radley to analyze the methodology of TopCoder, a progressive software development organization.

TopCoder applies two interesting business strategies: reusing code of past projects and "crowd-sourcing," a new business trend of soliciting ideas and input from an online community. Neethi explored how TopCoder consistently achieved project goals that met the quality standards within set budgets and deadlines. Then, she used metrics to validate the organization's process.

While studying how technology companies succeed, Neethi has earned her own recognition. Her technical poster on TopCoder was accepted at the Software Engineering Institute's annual SEPG (Software Engineering Process Group) in San Jose, an international event on improving the work methods of software and systems specialists. She is currently planning to submit a paper on the same topic to another conference.

Neethi described SEPG as "action-packed" with many opportunities to meet others. Such networking events could some day connect her to a job or research project after graduation. With the understanding of IT business she has gained already, she will be ready for what the future has in store.

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