Skip to main content Skip to navigation

CS133-15 Professional Skills

Computer Science
Undergraduate Level 1
Module leader
Mike Joy
Credit value
Module duration
20 weeks
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

The aim of this module is to introduce the key skills required of the computing professional, comprising oral and written communication, operating systems proficiency and awareness of professional aspects of computing practice.

Module aims

The three components of the module address, respectively:

  • developing skills in summarising, quoting, paraphrasing, critical analysis, grammar, referencing and oral presentation, and teaching writing as a process approach to composing academic papers;
  • giving students a basic understanding of operating systems concepts together with a working knowledge of computing systems and associated tools and applications that will subsequently be used;
  • introducing students to the concept of professional ethics and behaviour, the place of computers in society and the legal aspects of computing, and the importance of personal development planning.
Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

The module will cover the following topics relating to communication skills:

  • writing as a process
  • composing effective paragraphs
  • paraphrasing and quoting
  • avoiding plagiarism
  • writing a summary
  • writing a critical analysis
  • decoding topics and titles
  • grammar
  • soliciting feedback on writing
  • writing an abstract or proposal
  • writing an academic paper
  • giving an oral presentation
    together with the following topics relating to practical operating systems skills:
  • Files and file organisation: directories and file structures, access control and security, file formats
  • Operating systems: the kernel, shells, window managers, processes
  • Networks: communication tools and protocols, security
  • Command-line interfaces: processes, tools and utilities
  • Comparative operating systems: proprietary and open-source alternatives
  • Standard applications: spreadsheets, databases, presentation tools and word processors
    and the following topics relating to professional aspects of computing:
  • Professional bodies: Historic factors leading to their creation; evolution of UK professions and the roles of typical major bodies; typical structure, organisation and functions of a professional body; constitutional powers and legal status of bodies; statutory and regulatory functions; professional standards and disciplinary powers
  • Commercial aspects of industry: structure of organisations
  • Management: Project planning and management; health and safety legislation
  • Legal aspects of software: Overview of UK law; Data Protection Act; Copyright Designs and Patents Act; Computer Misuse Act; Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act
  • Social aspects of computing

and the following topics relating to continuing professional development:

  • Approaches to continuing professional development
  • Construction of a personal development plan
Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Judge and improve their own writing with increased confidence, utilise appropriate methods for referring and citing sources, and be familiar with the idea of writing as a process.
  • Understand basic computing and operating systems concepts, apply them to a networked computer system, and use standard applications and system tools.
  • Practice presentation skills and use information systems available via the network at Warwick.
  • Understand the relevance for professional computing practice of basic computer law, professional bodies, and the social impact of computer technology.
  • Understand the importance of continuing professional development and demonstrate their understanding through development of a personal development plan.
Indicative reading list

Please see Talis Aspire link for most up to date list.

View reading list on Talis Aspire

Research element

Students are introduced to basic research skills and required to research a professional, social or ethical aspect of computer science and present their findings in an essay.

Subject specific skills

Competency with Linux

Transferable skills

Communication - written and verbal
Academic writing
Personal development planning

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 30 sessions of 1 hour (20%)
Seminars 10 sessions of 1 hour (7%)
Practical classes 9 sessions of 1 hour (6%)
Private study 101 hours (67%)
Total 150 hours
Private study description

Background reading
Use of computer systems
Reflection on material learned and recording CPD


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Students can register for this module without taking any assessment.

Assessment group A2
Weighting Study time
Lab Mark Points 20%
Class test 15%
Personal development plan 20%
Essay 30%
Presentation 15%
Assessment group R1
Weighting Study time
Resit Assignment 100%

Resit assignment

Feedback on assessment

Lab Mark points - during labs
Class test - general feedback via Tabula after test marked
Personal development plan - on Tabula
Essay - on Tabula
Presentation - during seminars


This module is Core for:

  • UCSA-G500 Undergraduate Computer Science
    • Year 1 of G500 Computer Science
    • Year 1 of G500 Computer Science
  • UCSA-G503 Undergraduate Computer Science MEng
    • Year 1 of G500 Computer Science
    • Year 1 of G503 Computer Science MEng
    • Year 1 of G503 Computer Science MEng
  • Year 1 of UCSA-I1N1 Undergraduate Computer Science with Business Studies
  • Year 1 of UCSA-G406 Undergraduate Computer Systems Engineering
  • Year 1 of UCSA-G408 Undergraduate Computer Systems Engineering

This module is Option list B for:

  • UCSA-G4G1 Undergraduate Discrete Mathematics
    • Year 1 of G4G1 Discrete Mathematics
    • Year 1 of G4G1 Discrete Mathematics
  • Year 1 of UCSA-G4G3 Undergraduate Discrete Mathematics