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Professional identity construction among software engineering students
Published in Emerald Publishing
Volume: 29
Issue: 1
Pages: 146 - 172


The purpose of this paper is to explore the process in which the software engineering students construct their professional identities.


The study followed the qualitative method using grounded theory methodology to examine the process of identity construction. Data were collected from final year software engineering students in an iterative manner.


Based on the present study, the study argues that entry-level identities of students are modified and adjusted in response to their experience of identity violations over the course of their academic program. These violations were caused by their unmet expectations from the academic program. The magnitude of these violations is influenced by their perceived value derived from the training they were receiving.

Research limitations/implications

This paper explains the process of “identity morphing” as a mechanism by which students resolve the conflict/violation of their identities. The emergence and adaptation of different types of identities were examined. This study can be extended to the employees of IT organizations to draw a holistic picture.

Practical implications

The understanding of identity morphing process might enable organizations to enrich their interaction with their employees and thus provide avenues to improve their work-related outcomes.


Previous studies have explored professional identity construction among individuals. However, how software professionals construct their professional identity, during their education years, is relatively unexplored. The present study asserts that professional identities are formed among the students even before they join the organization.

About the journal
JournalData powered by TypesetInformation Technology and People
PublisherData powered by TypesetEmerald Publishing
Open AccessNo