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.
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
- 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
|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
|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
|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
|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.
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.
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
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.
Related Online Software Engineering Degrees
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
|Computer systems analyst
|Network and computer systems administrator
|Computer support specialist
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.
Best Jobs According to Your Major
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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