Software Development

 

Computers, from smartphones to desktops to the cloud, have transformed how the world works. How has this happened? Software developers are a big part of the answer, creating applications for individuals, companies, and even other machines to perform myriad tasks large and small.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth in software development is increasing at a 17% rate, bringing over 186,000 new jobs to the IT market by 2024. Software development courses can help set any individual, who is even moderately technically inclined, on the right track to one of these high-paying jobs.

New languages and frameworks make software development easier than ever before, and new agile development methodologies, via which self-directed teams focus on delivering value to the client as soon as possible, make setting and achieving project goals more realistic and less stressful.

You will begin your Software Development education by learning Front-End Development. As a Front-End Developer, you will be working on the "client side" of websites, web applications, and mobile applications, developing the code that users interact with. Your toolkit will include HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and specialized libraries and code packages for developing interactive web and mobile applications.

During the Front-End Development program you will take on different real-life roles in the Software Development field such as website and mobile developer. In these roles, you will progress through realistic multi-week projects derived from typical real-world industry challenges.

After learning Front-End Development, you can elect to take your skills to the next level by becoming a Full-Stack Software Developer. When you advance to full-stack development you will learn to program in Java to develop the back-end servers that power enterprise and consumer applications.

What You'll Learn

Software and learning experts have designed this curriculum around technologies and concepts key to modern web and mobile software development. Upon completion of the Front-End Development Program, you'll be able to:

  • Develop multipage websites, with hyperlinks, images and forms
  • Create CSS stylesheets to control the look of websites
  • Create a responsive HTML design for a mobile web app, taking into account the unique strengths and limitations of a mobile platform
  • Leverage PhoneGap to quickly create a native version of the mobile web app in order to leverage mobile specific features, such as the camera
  • Use JQuery and Bootstrap to develop interactive front-end applications
  • Program in JavaScript including data and control structures, objects, and functions
  • Use API’s to access external data and resources.

The Front-End Development Program will equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to build a variety of web applications and to pursue more advanced study. You'll have built a portfolio of professional-quality projects along the way.

If you choose to go on to the Full-Stack Development Program, you’ll add new skills to those listed above:

  • Install and run a web server
  • Develop non-trivial algorithms for processing tasks
  • Code back-end server logic in Java using the Spring Boot framework
  • Integrate a back-end server with a front-end written in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript via a RESTful interface
  • Build an application in user-testable slices
  • Use best practices for rapid development of high quality software, such as test-driven development (TDD) and frequent deployment.

Program Format

The XTOL Software Development Program is divided into two parts: The Front-End Development Program is a 10 week Full Time (30 hours per week) or 20 week Part Time (15 hours per week) learn-by-doing experience that focuses on developing skills through realistic professional scenarios and projects. Continuing on to acquire additional skills required of a Full-Stack Developer will add an additional 10 weeks Full Time or 20 weeks Part Time to your program.

You, the student, play a central role in a story of professional work, in which you will achieve one or more significant objectives over a series of tasks. The roles are those that a graduate of this program might actually take on in real life. You are given detailed information about the simulated company you are working for and are assigned complex, realistic projects. You will do the same work that professionals do, and produce the same deliverables.

As you work, you will have constant access to a unique automated mentor, employing natural-language processing technology derived from our decades of artificial intelligence research. The automated mentor can provide immediate answers to most task-related student questions posed to it in plain English, and it can provide immediate feedback on your work. Of course, human mentors will still be available in those rare instances in which you need help with a unique problem. Automated mentoring will speed your progress through the program and will significantly lower the program’s tuition cost, making preparation for a software development career more widely accessible.

You will be assigned to a small team made up of fellow students, and you will meet regularly in an online environment to discuss your work. A human mentor can join your group meeting, as required, to assist in solving unique problems.

Supporting materials and resources are provided online; occasionally, a textbook purchase is required.

The program exclusively evaluates you based on the work you produce. It employs a "mastery-based approach" in that you submit drafts of each deliverable for feedback after which you revise and resubmit deliverables for evaluation according to a well-defined rubric.

Program Modules

 

Front-End Development

Introduction to Website Development

In this course, you are an independent contractor who develops custom websites for small organizations. The Northside Youth Soccer League (NYSL) has hired you to develop a website for their soccer teams. You will work on this website on your own and will learn to use modern HTML and CSS to produce an attractive, informative multi-page website based on the client's requirements.

Introduction to JavaScript Development

In this course, you are a developer at Code of the Web, a small software shop that creates custom JavaScript-based web applications. Transparent Government in Fact, a non-partisan non-profit organization working to increase the public’s involvement in government, has hired you to develop a Congressional tracking web site for them. You will work on this web application using modern JavaScript technologies including JQuery, AJAX, JSON, and RESTful APIs.

Mobile Web Application Development

In this course, you will again be an independent developer the Northside Youth Soccer League has hired to create an app to give their players and parents easy on-the-go access to the league's game schedules. To avoid the hassles of native apps, they would like this to be a mobile web app. You will design and develop the mobile web app, and will add features to the app that are specific to mobile devices, such as location-based features so parents can see where they are in relation to the soccer field.

 

Full-Stack Development

Java Development

In this course, you have been hired by a board game company looking to use their brand recognition to market online games with a retro touch. In particular, they want your team to create a multi-player online version of a Salvo-like game engine. Salvo was a pencil and paper game that was the basis for the popular Battleship game. The basic idea involves guessing where other players have hidden objects. This can be varied to create many different kinds of games with different user interfaces. Your job will be to create a front-end mobile-friendly web application that game players interact with, and a back-end game server to manage the games, scoring, and player profiles. You will use the Angular JavaScript library for the front-end client, and the Spring Boot framework for the Java-based RESTful web server.

The Software Development Program is offered directly by XTOL with the goal of making preparation for a software development career more widely accessible and affordable.

 

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