The Software Engineering Management Program (SEMP) by ESI CEE, supported by USAID and the America for Bulgaria Foundation, represents a significant initiative that combines academic and industrial resources to address Bulgaria’s growing demand for qualified IT and software engineering professionals.

In Bulgaria, the IT industry faces significant challenges, not least the scarcity of quantity and quality in its workforce. This issue is compounded by university curricula that were identified to lag behind the rapid advancements in the global information society, e-business, and e-government. These gaps hinder the preparation of practitioners and experts for the demands of innovative business models in a world of digitized ecosystems, posing risks like information security breaches and system failures.

SEMP was designed to bridge this educational divide to update and enhance the existing university curricula, integrating modern training methods with a focus on management, technology, and business contexts. This program collaborates with institutions such as the Institute for Software Research and the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University to offer state-of-the-art courses. Graduates of SEMP are well-prepared for the IT industry, bringing with them a certificate that enhances their employment prospects.

The program’s core strategy includes a ‘train-the-trainer’ component, enhancing the local educational framework by qualifying Bulgarian trainers under the guidance of esteemed ISR-CMU and SEI-CMU lecturers. This approach not only upgrades teaching styles and course organization but also ensures that these enhancements are sustainable and deeply integrated within Bulgarian universities.

The successful pilots set the stage for introducing a master’s degree program recognized internationally, aiming to standardize quality across the board—from students and professors to future employers and international stakeholders.

SEMP is structured around three pivotal areas:

  • Enabling Technology. This segment focuses on the technical aspects necessary for contemporary IT management, including software architecture, systems design, and emerging technologies. Courses transferred from Carnegie Mellon equip managers with the knowledge to make informed decisions and keep projects on track.
  • Management Focus. This area integrates advanced management theories and practices, such as CMMI and process improvement, into the curriculum, comparing it to global standards.
  • Business and Organizational Context. Courses in this category are designed to prepare students for management roles in various sectors, emphasizing the integration of business processes and public policy in technology development.

These categories encompass a comprehensive education model that equips students to thrive in the global business environment, where technology, management, and business intersect.

By fostering local expertise and integrating globally recognized methodologies, SEMP established a robust framework for sustainable academic excellence in software engineering and IT management that continues to this date with dedicated courses in three Bulgarian universities.

To learn more about SEMP, visit

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