ICS 314 Fall 2021: Software Engineering I

ICS 314 is a fast-paced immersion into significant software engineering concepts and technologies. It incorporates the following themes:

The course grounds these thematic elements by covering the skills necessary to quickly build two-tier web applications with a modern look-and-feel. Many computer science and computer engineering projects benefit from a web-based user interface, and this class will help you to create a nice one regardless of your “design” background.

Who should take this course

This course is intended for undergraduates in computer science or computer engineering who have a working knowledge of Java or C++ and who want to invest effort into developing their software engineering skill set.

A significant component of the course is a student-selected final project to showcase the techniques learned during the course.


ICS 314 is structured as a sequential series of modules, most taking approximately a week to complete. Each module has the following structure:

Prior results

While ICS software engineering requires discipline and effort, the results appear to be worth the investment. For complete student perspectives on Philip Johnson’s teaching style, please see his unedited course evaluations since 2007, with hundreds of comments (both positive and negative). Here are a few course evaluation comments from recent semesters:

Dr. Johnson has, by far, been one of the best professors I have had at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He took a relatively intimidating field and was able to break it down effectively and efficiently. Dr. Johnson is also very understanding and helpful when needed. His positive (and sometimes quirky) attitude made waking up every morning in the middle of a pandemic a little bit more bearable. I do not think I would have had such a positive experience in this class had it not been with him. (Spring, 2021)

This class makes feel SO excited for my future. 314 really prepared you for real world experiences. I feel more confident for the first time ever and it’s my fourth year at UH. (Fall, 2020)

The work load is a lot but it’s really fun to see the possibilities that can be done because of it. I enjoyed the course and never felt burdened to do any of the coding assignments because it was so engaging. As long as you keep doing the assignments you are supposed to, you can stay on track and learn efficiently. Its broken down concepts that you gradually learn and by the end, you come out with a great amount of knowledge than before. This is probably one of the best courses you’ll take as it will apply far beyond school. (Spring, 2020)

Professor Johnson’s course is the course that breaks open the field for students, in my opinion. He provides us the tools to effectively collaborate as a team when working with code and how to make the modern designs that we see today in sites. This course is definitely something I dreaded while taking, since the work load can be a little much at times, but if you properly try to understand how everything works, the knowledge gained can stay with you for life. It’s honestly insane. (Fall, 2019)

Overall, the course takes a different direction than the typical class would. The course is similar to conditioning yourself for a sport. It takes a lot of time and effort from the student initially, but as time goes on, the results show. At the start of the course, the time pressure of the assignments made me tense and clumsy, but the practices and material provided helped steel me into a LEAN, MEAN, FIERCE COMPUTER ATHLETE, WHO DOESN’T FLINCH AT THE SIGHT OF A WOD. The project period is also a time of revelation. (Spring, 2018)

On the other hand, some students find the workload to be stressful, as shown by this comment:

A very spirited instructor, sometimes too spirited. The constant requirements for the class both with studying materials and programming can be overwhelming to a student of typical course & out of school load (other classes and work/family obligations). (Fall, 2009)