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Best Online Software Engineering Associate Degree Programs, Jobs, and Salaries

Ufuoma Ogono - June 10, 2022


The best online software engineering associate degrees are meant to serve as stepping stones for anyone keen to launch a career in software engineering. An online Associate Degree in Software Engineering or other similar technological science fields is an ideal program for full-time workers as they can be completed remotely in two years or less and are usually more affordable than a bachelor’s degree.

If you are thinking of pursuing an online software engineering associate degree, it is crucial that you pick the right school as not every online school is accredited or offers transferable credits. Without transfer credits, you may not be able to apply your associate degree credits to a bachelor’s degree in the future, which in turn can impact your career path options.

Where Can I Get a Software Engineering Associate Degree Online?

You can get an online Associate Degree in Software Engineering from Champlain College, Chippewa Valley Technical College, Herzing University, and Southern New Hampshire University. Northcentral Technical College and Rasmussen University are also great options.

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What Schools Offer the Best Software Engineering Associate Degrees?

  • Champlain College
  • Chippewa Valley Technical College
  • Herzing University
  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • Northcentral Technical College

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Software Engineering Associate Degree?

The admission requirements for an online Associate Degree in Software Engineering are a high school diploma, GED, or an equivalent credential. While each school may set more specific prerequisites for students, these are the most crucial requirements across the board.

You will also need to submit a transcript from your prior schools with passing grades in national courses. If you have your eyes on competitive schools, you will need a high school GPA of at least 3.0 but most schools grant you admission with a 2.0. Some schools may even require you to take standardized tests like the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or American College Testing (ACT).

Online Software Engineering Associate Degree Admission Requirements

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • High school transcripts
  • SAT/ACT
  • GPA of 2.0 – 3.0
  • Passing score

How to Get a Software Engineering Associate Degree Online

To get a software engineering associate degree online, you need to enroll in a school that can award the relevant degree, pay all your dues, and meet the program’s graduation requirements. These requirements may differ slightly from school to school but they usually include passing STEM subjects and fulfilling the credit requirements for primary courses and electives. They also include completing projects and taking a mandatory internship in some cases.

Software Engineering Associate Degree Requirements

  • Secure 60 to 70 credits from primary and elective courses
  • Maintain class attendance above 80%
  • Complete payment for tuition fees and dues
  • Complete an internship (if required)
  • Submit a capstone project

Best Online Software Engineering Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Champlain College Associate of Science in Software Development New England Commission of Higher Education
Chippewa Valley Technical College Associate Degree, IT Software Developer Higher Learning Commission
Gateway Technical College Associate Degree, IT Web Software Developer Higher Learning Commission
Herzing University Associate of Applied Science in Software Development Higher Learning Commission
Northcentral Technical College Associate Degree, IT Software Developer Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association
Penn State World Campus Associate of Science in
Information Science and Technology
Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Rasmussen University Associate Degree in Software Application Development Higher Learning Commission
Southern New Hampshire University Associate of Science in Computer Science New England Commission of Higher Education
University of Maryland Global Campus Associate of Arts in
Computer Studies
Middle States Commission on Higher Education
University of Toledo Associate of Applied Business in Programming and Software Development Higher Learning Commission

Best Schools for Software Engineering: Top Online Software Engineering Associate Degree Programs

The best online software engineering associate degrees can be among the most accessible and affordable online degree programs that a computer science student can study. The list below provides more insight into 10 such schools.

1

Champlain College

Burlington, VT

Champlain College was founded in 1878 to facilitate on-campus, online, and hybrid learning in Burlington, Vermont. Over the years, the school has grown into one of the most career-focused schools in the United States. At the time of writing, the school has over 2,100 undergraduate students, covering a wide variety of science and technology fields.

Associate of Science in Software Development

Over two years, this 60-credit program will help you get practical skills through hands-on learning. There are part-time and full-time programs and you can expect to spend at least 10 to 17 hours on each course every week. If you have a military background, you can take advantage of the nearly $80 discount per course credit offered for Champlain College online degrees.

Associate of Science in Software Development Overview

  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Tuition: $328/credit
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 15 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 66%

Associate of Science in Software Development Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.5
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: Not required
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma/GED
  • Other Requirements: Official transcript, Admissions essay

Applying to Champlain College

  1. Visit the application page and fill out the form.
  2. Upload any required documents like your high school transcript.
  3. Write the admissions essay.
  4. Choose a payment method.
  5. Submit your online application.
  6. Prepare to start attending classes.
2

Chippewa Valley Technical College

Eau Claire, WI

Chippewa Valley Technical College is one of the most popular two-year colleges in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The school was founded in 1912 for undergraduate and graduate studies. The school has a student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1, and its online programs are just as reliable as in-person programs due to this personalized attention.

Associate Degree, IT Software Developer

During this program, remote learners will acquire fundamental skills in Java, SQL, PHP, and UNIX. They must complete 60 credit hours across courses covering programming, database management, software analysis and solutions, and operating systems to graduate from this program. Chippewa Valley Technical College provides financial aid options to students.

Associate Degree, IT Software Developer Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $2,355/term
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 4 terms at 15 credits per term
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 47%

Associate Degree, IT Software Developer Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $30
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma/GED
  • Other Requirements: High school transcript, Transferable college credits if available

Applying to Chippewa Valley Technical College

  1. Fill in the application form.
  2. Submit your credit card details to pay the $30 non-refundable application fee.
  3. Submit your transcript and other official documents.
  4. Apply for a scholarship or pay tuition in full.
  5. Wait to hear from the admissions office.
3

Gateway Technical College

Kenosha, WI

Initiated in 1911 as the first publicly funded American technical college, Gateway Technical College offers over 70 programs that help transition students to STEM careers. It supports over 21,000 students across its nine campuses. With a student-to-faculty ratio of eight-to-one, the university ensures that its students are given the personal attention they need to succeed in their chosen career fields.

Associate Degree, IT Web Software Developer

This program emphasizes problem-solving skills and thus incorporates an applicative curriculum that is regularly updated to meet industrial requirements. Core courses include Java, Python, web programming with an emphasis on application programming interfaces, and web frameworks. The course also offers general education credits in psychology and English composition.

Associate Degree, IT Web Software Developer Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $188.9/credit (in state); $283.35/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 62 credits
  • Program Length: 5 terms at 12-19 credits per term
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 32%

Associate Degree, IT Web Software Developer Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.6 or higher
  • Standardized Tests: SAT/ACT/ACCUPLACER (optional)
  • Application Fee: $30
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma/GED
  • Other Requirements: High school transcript

Applying to Gateway Technical College

  1. Start your online application.
  2. Upload official copies of your high school transcripts or your GED certificate.
  3. List any classes that you will be submitting for transfer credits.
  4. Check if you meet the minimum GPA requirement, and upload your ACT or SAT scores as a supplement if applicable.
  5. Pay the application fee of $30 and complete the application process.
4

Herzing University

Brookfield, WI

Herzing University is a multi-campus university that offers undergraduate and graduate degrees across different fields. Founded in 1965, the school has become known for offering personalized course structures to students meant to optimize their learning experiences. Education requirements are assessed one-on-one with a university admissions advisor during the application process.

Associate of Applied Science in Software Development

This 60-credit online degree will give you a solid foundation in coding, information technology, and databases. Core courses include computer networks and architecture, technical writing, as well as programming in Python and C++. After graduating from this program, you’ll be able to design software systems, create technical documents, and develop software applications.

Associate of Science in Software Development Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $325/semester
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 3 semesters at 20 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 73%

Associate of Applied Science in Software Development Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: SAT/ACT (optional)
  • Application Fee: $50 (during enrollment)
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma/GED
  • Other Requirements: High school transcript, residential state eligibility

Applying to Herzing University

  1. Go to the official Herzing University website and pick your program.
  2. Complete the required details in the online application form.
  3. Take the online entrance exam.
  4. Complete an interview with an admissions advisor.
  5. Pay the $50 enrollment fee and complete the enrollment.
5

Northcentral Technical College

Wausau, WI

Northcentral Technical College (NTC) is a technical college that has contributed to community education rates within Wisconsin since 1912. The school is best known for its 100 percent acceptance rate across every department online and on campus. This means that you will get admitted as long as you are eligible.

Associate Degree, IT Software Developer

This 64-credit associate degree will teach you jQuery, JavaScript, and SQL. Students will also learn how to use CSS , HTML, and C#. NTC also has a long list of partner programs if you’re interested in pursuing a bachelor’s degree. The course offers a lot of flexibility where you can choose to study either part-time or full-time, which is ideal for those studying while working.

Associate Degree, IT Software Developer Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association
  • Tuition: $143.45/credit (in state); $215.18/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 64 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 14 - 20 credits each semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 36%

Associate Degree, IT Software Developer Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: ACT/SAT (required if applying for financial aid)
  • Application Fee: $30 (waived for 2021/2022 school year)
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma/GED
  • Other Requirements: Official transcript, letters of recommendation

Applying to Northcentral Technical College

  1. Fill out the online application form.
  2. Talk to an admissions advisor.
  3. Submit your transcript and other required documents.
  4. Submit any college credits you are transferring.
  5. Choose a payment method or apply for financial aid.
6

Penn State World Campus

University Park, PA

Penn State World Campus is one of the most popular online schools in the United States. It is the online version of the Pennsylvania State University and was launched in 1998. The online campus is internationally recognized and open to students across the world for an affordable but high-quality education in a wide variety of fields, from sustainability to law and policy to technology.

Associate of Science in Information Sciences and Technology

This is a high-demand associate degree program for anyone who wants to dive in-depth into computer science, information technology, and software engineering. A minimum of 45 credits in this 60-credit program cover programming, technical writing, databases, networking, and telecommunications.

Associate of Science in Information Science and Technology Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $590 - $632/credit (depending on total number of credits taken per semester)
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 15 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 73%

Associate of Science in Information Science and Technology Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.0 (for transfer students)
  • Standardized Tests: SAT/ACT
  • Application Fee: $65 (domestic); $75 (international)
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma/GED
  • Other Requirements: High school transcript, English language proficiency (for international students)

Applying to Penn State World Campus Campus

  1. Visit the MyPennState online application portal to start the process.
  2. Upload your high school transcript and your ACT or SAT scores.
  3. Submit your English proficiency test scores if applicable.
  4. Fill out the advanced course registration form.
  5. Wait six to eight weeks for a decision.
7

Rasmussen University

St. Cloud, MN

Rasmussen University is a university with campuses in over six states, founded in 1900 with the aim of promoting lifelong learning. It is a private for-profit college that offers associate, bachelor's, master's degrees, and other professional programs in a variety of fields from health sciences to business and technology.

Associate Degree in Software Application Development

Within 18 months, remote learners will complete project-based courses and gain programming skills in C++, C#, HTML5, and SQL. You can adapt the online program to your schedule and make use of self-directed assessments available to check your understanding of the material. This course also comes with industry certification preparations and a data analytics specialization track.

Associate Degree in Software Application Development Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $269/credit
  • Required Credits: 90 credits
  • Program Length: 3 semesters at 30 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 36%

Associate Degree in Software Application Development Admission Requirements

  • GPA: No minimum requirement
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma/GED
  • Other Requirements: High school transcript, entrance placement exam

Applying to Rasmussen University

  1. Visit the official application page and fill out the application form.
  2. Contact an admissions advisor.
  3. Take the online entrance exam if it applies to you.
  4. Submit high school transcripts and other required documents.
  5. Fill out your financial information.
8

Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, NH

Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a multi-campus school that provides advanced Associate of Science degrees in a wide variety of fields. Popularly referred to as SNHU, the university now has a prominent online college for distance learners.

Associate of Science in Computer Science

Students in this program will learn C++, Java, Python programming, operating systems, and other skills in design and testing that create a strong portfolio to show potential employers. This program emphasizes software design and development, which is suitable preparation for a  career as a software engineer. SNHU also allows a transfer of up to 45 credits of previous coursework.

Associate of Science in Computer Science Overview

  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Tuition: $320/credit
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 15 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 37%

Associate of Science in Computer Science Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.0
  • Standardized Tests: SAT/ACT (optional)
  • Application Fee: None
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma/GED
  • Other Requirements: Official transcripts (with release form)

Applying to Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU)

  1. Visit the application portal and fill out the relevant details.
  2. List any credits that you wish to transfer.
  3. Submit your transcript and other required documents.
  4. Wait to hear from an SNHU counselor.
  5. Fill in your financial details based on whether you qualify for aid.
9

University of Maryland Global Campus

Adelphi, MD

More commonly referred to as UMGC, the University of Maryland Global Campus was founded in 1998 by the University of Maryland University College and has grown with the goal of supporting the higher education needs of working adults and service members. At the time of writing, the school has campuses in over 140 locations, excluding this online campus.

Associate of Arts in Computer Studies

This 60-credit program gives you a taste of different aspects of the vast field of computer science. Apart from this software development specialization, you can also choose from data analytics, information security, web development, and computer user support for additional focus areas while also working on a foundation of programming and data analytics.

Associate of Arts in Computer Studies Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $312/credit (in state); $499/credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 15 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 18%

Associate of Arts in Computer Studies Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.0
  • Standardized Tests: Not required
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma/GED
  • Other Requirements: High school transcript

Applying to the University of Maryland Global Campus

  1. Create an account on the UMGC application portal and fill in your details.
  2. Search for your desired program.
  3. Select any specific specializations you wish to enroll for.
  4. Submit your high school transcript and other required documents.
  5. Pay the non-refundable application fee of $50.
  6. Wait for 48 business hours to hear from the admissions office.
10

University of Toledo

Toledo, OH

The University of Toledo is a public research university that was founded in 1872. It is accredited to award degrees at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and even PhD levels. Today, 22 of its academic programs are ranked nationally by US News & World Report.

Associate of Applied Business In Programming and Software Development

This associate degree program teaches industry-proven computer science techniques, programming, and database design and management. The College of Business and Innovation also boasts of a placement rate as high as 80 percent. After earning this degree, you are equipped to become a data manager, programmer, or software engineer.

Associate of Applied Business In Programming and Software Development Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $2,839/semester (in state); $5,179/semester (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 4 semesters at 15 credits per semester
  • Learning Format: 100% online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 53%

Associate of Applied Business In Programming and Software Development Admission Requirements

  • GPA: 2.0 (for transfer students)
  • Standardized Tests: SAT/ACT
  • Application Fee: $40
  • Minimum Education: High school diploma/GED
  • Other Requirements: High school transcripts

Applying to the University of Toledo

  1. Read the application checklist and prepare all the required documents.
  2. Register for an account and fill out the application form.
  3. Submit your high school transcript and your ACT or SAT scores.
  4. Take the placement test if it applies to you.
  5. Pay the $40 application fee to complete the process.

What Is an Online Software Engineering Associate Degree?

An online software engineering associate degree is an undergraduate degree that covers the fundamentals of software engineering that are required to secure an entry-level job. The best online software engineering associate degrees may last for 18 to 24 months, depending on the school in question, and the entire program should be accessible over the Internet.

If you pursue a course with an accredited university, you can transfer some of the credits from the online associate degree for a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering. The number of transferable credits will vary depending on the institution, but it is typically between 45 and 60 credits. In such cases, you only need a further 60 to 70 credits to complete a bachelor’s degree.

Online vs In-Person Software Engineering Associate Degrees

An online Associate Degree in Software Engineering is a viable alternative to an in-person associate degree, especially for working adults who cannot commit to full-time study. Lessons for the in-person degree are taken conventionally in brick-and-mortar classrooms, whereas online classes take place virtually. However, both degrees prepare you sufficiently for a career as an associate-level software engineer.

Top 5 Benefits of an Online Associate Degree in Software Engineering

  • Affordability. The tuition for online associate degrees is usually more affordable than for in-person degrees as the school doesn’t have to invest in infrastructure. Beyond that, you also don’t have to worry about spending on accommodation, commuting, or even relocating.
  • Convenience. Since you can complete classes, assignments, and projects over the Internet, you can learn from any part of the world at any given time. You can also easily schedule online live classes and group projects beforehand.
  • Builds non-technical skills. The best online software engineering associate degrees help you build non-technical skills like time management, self-motivation, discipline, collaboration, and adaptability.
  • Short timeline. While most in-person associate degrees run for about two years, there are accelerated online software engineering associate degrees that can be completed in 12 to 18 months. However, these options can be more rigorous because they have the same graduation requirements condensed within a shorter time frame.
  • Better at multitasking . It is easier to get two degrees at the same time if you subscribe to online learning than if you were getting an in-person degree. You can chase an online Associate Degree in Software Engineering and Business Administration at the same time, which can put you a step ahead of your competition.

Top 5 Benefits of an In-Person Associate Degree in Software Engineering

  • Socialization. If you struggle with learning in an isolated environment, you will benefit more from an in-person setting. In-person software engineering associate degrees are completed in classrooms where you can meet and discuss coursework with other students.
  • Extracurricular activities. For most people, college is not just about formal education. It is about a lot of new skills in the form of extracurricular activities. In-person associate degree programs are preferable in such cases as they allow access to sports teams, student unions, volunteer opportunities, and other academic clubs.
  • More networking opportunities . With more socialization comes more networking opportunities. The people you build relationships with during an in-person degree program may play critical roles in propelling your career in the future. It is always a good idea to build a network of like-minded individuals, especially when venturing into the corporate world.
  • Limited distractions. When you are in a physical classroom, the environment is better suited for learning. There are no pop-ups or notifications from social media to distract you from your goals. Moreover, regularly meeting at a location designated for studying also has a positive effect on your capacity to focus.
  • Structured learning. Not everyone has the dedication required to complete an online Associate Degree in Software Engineering. Having direct guidance from a teacher as you work your way through the course is ideal for slower learners. This is where the structure that comes with an in-person program is beneficial.

What Types of Online Associate Degrees Can You Get in Software Engineering?

The types of online Associate Degrees in Software Engineering are an Associate of Applied Science (AAS), Associate of Arts (AA), and Associate of Science (AS). For STEM courses like software engineering, AS and AAS are the most commonly sought-after degrees.

Is It Better to Get an Associate of Science or Associate of Arts in Software Engineering?

It is better to get an Associate of Science (AS) degree if your goals are to stick to the tech industry or subsequently pursue a Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering. However, if you want to be a software engineer in sectors like business, education, or any other industry that isn’t strictly technology-based, you may benefit more from an Associate of Arts (AA) or an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree.

Both degrees hold similar weight in terms of salary within the job market. A software engineer with an AA who works for a law firm typically earns a similar amount to a software engineer who works for a high-tech firm and has an AS degree. However, the high-tech software engineer might enjoy more versatility and frequent advancement opportunities in comparison.

How Much Does a Software Engineer Associate Degree Cost?

A software engineering associate degree costs about $16,445 annually on average for all institutions in the United States, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The average cost for associate degrees in public institutions for the 2019/2020 school year was $15,748, while private institutions ranged in cost from $32,379 and $34,019 for the same year, according to NCES.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Software Engineering Associate Degree Online?

It takes about two years to get a software engineering associate degree online, give or take six months. During this time, you will be able to meet the standard 60 credit requirements by completing about 15 credits per semester. If your program is accelerated, you may need to take three shorter semesters a year or finish your course within three regular semesters.

Are Online Software Engineering Associate Degrees Respected?

Yes, an online associate degree is respected as a credential that can be used to secure associate-level jobs, higher education degrees, or both. High school graduates who get online associate degrees earn an average annual salary of $67,751 as entry-level software engineers , according to ZipRecruiter. Earning a degree online does not affect your earning potential.

Is Software Engineering Hard to Learn Online?

No, software engineering is not hard to learn online. Students who learn online go through the same coursework and exercises as students who learn in person do. If you are self-motivated and aren’t easily distracted by your immediate environment, you should be able to learn software engineering online with ease.

Software Engineering Bootcamp vs Online Software Engineering Associate Degree: Which Is Better?

A software engineering online associate degree is better than a software engineering bootcamp for those with plans to advance to a bachelor’s degree . However, if you have no intentions of advancing your education and simply want to become a software engineer, an online coding bootcamp might be a better option for you.

Top 5 Benefits of an Online Software Engineering Associate Degree

  • Educational advancement. With an online associate degree to your name, you can complete a bachelor’s degree in just two years. However, this is only possible if you attend an accredited school that offers transferable credits. With a bachelor’s degree, the scope of available opportunities improves drastically.
  • Well-rounded education. An online Associate Degree in Software Engineering covers other mandatory general subjects and electives for an industry-focused curriculum. You can combine software engineering with business, history, or any other field provided by the university and graduate with in-depth knowledge of how your subject applies in that specific field.
  • Degree credential. An associate degree might be the lowest undergraduate degree level, but it is a degree nonetheless. While tech companies have started placing more emphasis on in-demand skills in addition to credentials, there are still many hiring managers that value degrees over other non-conventional forms of learning.
  • Career advancement. It can be easier to advance in your career if you start with an Associate Degree in Software Engineering. For example, if you hope to hold a management position one day and the requirement is a master’s degree , you can get it within four years after securing your associate degree, instead of the regular six with a bachelor’s degree.

Top 5 Benefits of a Software Engineering Bootcamp

  • Faster completion time. Among the best coding bootcamps , some of the fastest ones have classes running for about three to six months. These full-time bootcamp programs are rigorous and typically demand 30 to 50 hours a week. However, if you put in the work, you will be job-ready in a matter of months instead of years.
  • Job placement and career services. Bootcamps are designed to help people break into tech, so job placement and career services are often part of the deal. While some bootcamps may offer job guarantees, most simply provide you with the soft skills and knowledge you need to ease the job search process.
  • Job-specific training. Instead of being forced to take English, history, or business as general education courses, you will only learn software engineering and other related concepts in bootcamps. The only additional classes offered are for career preparation to enable a smooth immersion into the software engineering industry.
  • Flexibility. Some online coding bootcamps teach you how to become a software engineer at your own pace. You can choose when you want to learn and how frequently you can learn on a weekly schedule. You can personalize the entire learning experience and become a software engineer without ever stepping out of the comfort of your own home.
  • Low barrier to entry. You don’t need to meet any specific GPA requirements, take standardized tests, or have an educational background related to software engineering to be able to attend a bootcamp. All you have to do is apply, take an assessment test, and partake in an interview to get accepted.

Why You Should Get a Software Engineering Associate Degree Online

You should get a software engineering associate degree because it is a great way to break into the tech industry. In just two years or less, you can meet all the requirements for an associate degree and dive into your first career in tech. With this strong entry point, you can eventually aim for more advanced degrees without having to start from scratch.

In fact, students who start with associate degrees right after high school are often more prepared for a bachelor’s degree program than those who go straight for a bachelor’s degree program. The tuition for associate degrees is also generally lower and more flexible than that of bachelor’s or master’s degrees, particularly in the case of online associate degrees.

What Courses Do You Take in an Online Associate Degree Program in Software Engineering?

Online software engineering associate degree courses focus on topics such as programming, databases, algorithms, web development, and IT fundamentals. Some of the most common courses you’ll find in an Associate Degree in Software Engineering program are described in depth below.

Introduction to Programming

You can’t be a software engineer if you do not know the first thing about programming. Most associate degrees make it a point to include C programming languages, Python, or other common languages in their curriculum.

Introduction to Databases

Databases are crucial aspects of IT and web development. Most courses include the meaning of databases and how you can build or maintain the perfect server-side database for your software. SQL and Python, with an emphasis on data science applications, are also commonly covered.

Understanding Algorithms

Algorithms go hand in hand with data science and should definitely be covered in detail for a course in software engineering. Some of the core concepts that make up the foundation of algorithm-based curriculums include computational models, algorithmic paradigms, and data structures, and their use in problem-solving.

Introduction to Web Development

Web development is currently one of the most popular aspects of software engineering. Your software engineering degree curriculum will teach you how to create websites and web-based applications with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. Because these applications are often for an audience, covering user experience (UX) is also very important.

IT Fundamentals

Information technology (IT) is another very popular sector for software. The fundamentals of IT include data management, networking, and at advanced levels, cloud computing. Most courses also cover the impacts of this technological spread by addressing cyber security, eCommerce risks, and other such social implications.

Continuing Education Paths for Online Software Engineering Associate Degree Graduates

After securing your online Associate Degree in Software Engineering, you can further your education by pursuing a software engineering bachelor’s degree. With the credits you gather during the associate degree program, you can secure a bachelor’s degree in just two years. This is why it is crucial to ensure that the program you select comes with transferable credits.

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What to Look For in the Best Software Engineering Associate Degree Programs

Some of the most important things you should look out for when choosing an online Associate Degree in Software Engineering are accreditation, curriculum, transferable credits, career services tuition, and fees.

Accreditation

A university being accredited indicates that it can uphold the quality of education expected of American educational institutions, which vouches for your learned skill set during the hiring process. The most popular accreditation for online schools in the United States is the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). Find out if the online university has state or national accreditation.

Curriculum

Checking the curriculum to see if it’s enough to secure a job in software engineering is incredibly important when selecting programs. Topics you should look out for are major programming languages like Python, C++, and Java, an introduction to computer science, web services, systems administration, and version control. Networks and data science should also be present.

Transferable Credits

If an online associate degree doesn’t come with transferable credits, you will not be able to use it to advance your education during a bachelor’s degree. Without this, you will have to start afresh if you ever decide to get a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering or a related field. This is one of the first things online schools advertise on their websites for new students.

Career Services

Find out what the school provides as career services to help you find your feet in the industry after graduation. If there is career coaching, interview prep, or any other form of career assistance available, it means that you will not be left completely on your own after graduating and are thus much more likely to find employment.

Tuition and Fees

Most people go for associate degrees because they are typically more affordable than bachelor’s degrees. It is important to ensure that the school you attend is not overly expensive or way above the national average, especially in proportion to the quality of education it offers. Additionally, find out what fees you will have to pay other than the tuition to get a clearer picture of the total cost.

What Is the Most Affordable Online Software Engineering Associate Degree?

The most affordable online Associate Degree in Software Engineering is the IT Software Developer Associate Degree offered by Northcentral Technical College. The tuition for this program is highly reasonable, at $143.45 per credit for in-state residents and $215.18 per credit for out-of-state residents.

Can I Get a Software Engineering Associate Degree Online for Free?

No, you cannot get a software engineering associate degree online for free in the United States. However, there are scholarships and financial aid options for students who are interested in pursuing an associate degree but cannot afford to. You can also explore online software engineering courses that help you learn to code for free on platforms like Udemy and Coursera .

Salary and Job Outlook for Online Software Engineering Associate Degree Graduates

Programmer working with different operating systems at the same time
Median salaries for graduates from colleges and universities varies

After securing the best online software engineering associate degree, you should start applying for jobs. To increase your chances of getting a job, it is crucial that you create a strong project portfolio that shows prospective employers that you have the hands-on experience required to thrive in the industry.

How Hard Is It to Get a Job With a Software Engineering Associate Degree?

It is not very hard to get a job with a software engineering associate degree, particularly now while there is a high demand for experts in this field. Some schools that offer online Associate Degrees in Software Engineering also provide personalized career services to help you with the transition. These career services typically include resume writing, prep interviews, professional profile development, and salary negotiation prep.

What’s the Average Online Software Engineering Associate Degree Salary?

The average salary for a software engineering associate degree holder is $58,000, according to PayScale. However, salaries in this field vary greatly depending on variables like industry, experience, and location.

What Jobs Can You Get With an Online Software Engineering Associate Degree?

Online software engineering associate degree jobs available after graduation include software developer, web developer, network and computer systems administrator, and computer support specialist.

Software Engineering Associate Degree Jobs

  • Software developer
  • Computer systems analyst
  • Network and computer systems administrator
  • Web developer
  • Computer support specialist

Potential Careers With an Online Software Engineering Associate Degree

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How Much Money Can You Make With an Online Software Engineering Associate Degree?

You can make anywhere between $55,510 and $110,140 as a software engineer with an online associate degree. This is just an estimate for those in the United States and does not reflect the annual salary of every software engineer with an associate degree. The amount you earn will fluctuate significantly depending on your experience, job description, company, and location.

If you decide to freelance or create your own software, there is an entirely different spectrum of opportunities waiting for you. If you are successful in developing your own software, you can sell it and start a new business, look for venture capital investments, or offer your software as a service.

Highest-Paying Online Software Engineering Associate Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview

Software Engineering Associate Degree Jobs Average Salary
Software developer $110,140
Computer systems analyst $99,270
Network and computer systems administrator $80,600
Web developer $77,200
Computer support specialist $57,910

Best Jobs for Online Software Engineering Associate Degree Grads

The best online software engineering associate degree jobs offer fair remuneration for your efforts, provide you with stimulating challenges, and allow you to have a healthy work-life balance. Here are some of the most in-demand jobs in the software industry for holders of an associate degree.

1

Software Developer

Average Salary: $110,140

A software developer is an information technology expert who creates computer programs. They are charged with designing, developing, and maintaining the software used to run computer-based devices and machinery. Oftentimes, their responsibilities also extend to analyzing quality and troubleshooting problems.

2

Web Developer

Average Salary: $77,200

A web developer is a software developer who specializes in creating websites and web-based applications. Their predominant responsibility is to create and maintain websites. This is such a popular career track for software engineering students that there are now even bootcamps that can teach you how to become a web developer .

3

Network and Computer Systems Administrator

Average Salary: $86,00

A network systems administrator is a member of the IT team who is charged with the enforcement of daily networking tasks. They install computer systems and monitor them to ensure that there is a steady flow of computer and network operations.

4

Computer Systems Analyst

Average Salary: $99,720

A computer systems analyst is an IT diagnostic specialist who analyzes systems for organizations to spot problems and improve automation. They come up with new and improved ways to optimize any given system’s computing productivity or efficiency.

5

Computer Support Specialist

Average Salary: $57,910

As a computer support specialist, you will be responsible for maintaining computer networks and providing technical support to people. A computer supplier specialist can work in any firm that has a tech system or provides technology-based services.

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Is an Online Software Engineering Associate Degree Worth It?

Yes, an online software engineering associate degree is definitely worth it if you want to fast-track your career. In two years or less, an online associate degree can get you job-ready for an entry-level position, or prepare you for a bachelor’s degree if you wish to pursue higher education.

The best online software engineering associate degrees also provide you with useful skills that can help you create viral applications or work as an independent contractor. In either case, the earning potential for software engineers is high and the job prospects will continue to increase.

Additional Reading About Software Engineering

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Online Software Engineering Associate Degree FAQ

Can you be a software engineer with an associate’s degree?

Yes, you can become a software engineer with an associate degree. With this associate degree, you will be qualified for entry-level roles in web development, programming, software testing, and a wide range of other fields.


Which degree is best for a software engineer?

A degree in software engineering is typically the best option for anyone who wants to become a software engineer, as the curriculum is updated with this specific industry in mind. However, you could also explore a degree in computer science with a software engineering specialization. If these options aren’t available in the school you want, most other technology degrees will also be sufficient preparation for this career path.

Does education make a difference in salary for a software developer?

Yes, the degree level in software development can bring about a $1,000 to $10,000 difference in salary within the United States. While these variations also depend on a variety of other factors like industry and technical experience, an advanced degree generally makes it easier for you to grow your career and explore management positions in the long run.

Do coders work from home?

Yes, coders can work from home because most of their daily tasks can be completed on a computer over the Internet. In fact, most coders either work completely remotely or in hybrid offices, where they have designated days for working from home and commuting to the office.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Ufuoma Ogono

About the author: Ufuoma, a certified Career Coach by the International Association of Professions Career College, is a veteran freelance writer whose work has also appeared in Smartereum, Cyber Jam Limited, and Binance. Her goal as a content writer is to help readers chase their careers in technology and follow their dreams. Ufuoma attended Delta State University, where she earned her BSc in Sociology and Psychology.

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