Software engineering is a profession that is steadily growing in demand. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics believes that employment for software engineers will grow by 21 percent between 2018 and 2028. This is a significantly faster rate than many other occupations.
What Is Software Engineering?
Software engineers are professionals who take principles from engineering vocations, combined with programming knowledge, to create software. These products range from web applications to games and large network systems.
Find Your Bootcamp Match
- Career Karma matches you with top tech bootcamps
- Access exclusive scholarships and prep courses
The wide array of occupations available in software engineering makes it a valuable skill for those interested in programming and information technology. However, it can be difficult to learn all the skills associated with software engineering. This is particularly the case if you are juggling other responsibilities at the same time.
Luckily, the growth of technology and online learning institutions have made it possible for someone to learn software engineering online. As a matter of fact, you can earn a degree entirely from the comfort of your home.
With this form of distance learning, you don’t have to visit a campus or be in the same location as your school. However, you still receive all the benefits and knowledge of a full college education.
Levels of Software Engineering Degrees
There are multiple levels of degrees you can earn in software engineering. Computer science associate degrees take the least amount of time while doctoral degrees can take several years of intense study and practice. Below, you’ll find information on each software engineering degree level and what you can expect if you attain them.
A computer science associate degree in software engineering trains students in maintaining and developing software applications. In addition, the program requires students to study basic computer concepts and take advanced mathematics courses.
Students learn programming, web design, Linux, database management, and more. Associate degree programs typically take two years to complete and open up several entry-level opportunities for tech careers.
A bachelor’s degree in software engineering generally takes four years to complete. Students learn about similar topics than at the associate’s degree level. However, bachelor’s degree students also study design patterns, software security, project management, database management, and software architecture and design.
This degree is popular among employers and opens up several entry-level and advanced employment opportunities. Some jobs available to degree holders include computer systems analyst, software engineer, software developer, and network administrator.
Computer science master’s degree programs are for individuals who want to further strengthen their craft. These degree programs are for those who already have work experience in the field and want to pursue higher education. In fact, some schools make industry experience an admission requirement.
Students can complete these programs within 16 months either full-time or part-time. The program may require a practicum. Some courses in this program include software development and management, and software system modeling.
Master’s degree holders in software engineering are capable of taking on more complicated projects from employers.
These programs go beyond learning, allowing students to conduct research in their field. Doctoral degree programs are intense and require a great deal of time and effort to complete. In fact, they last between five and seven years and require a dissertation or thesis.
Of course, holders of a doctorate in software engineering can take on many of the same positions as those with a bachelor’s or master’s degree. However, they can also work as professors or industrial laboratory researchers. On average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the salary for systems software developers is $110,000.
Benefits of Online Software Engineering Degrees
Technology has made distance learning possible, enabling people to learn without setting foot on a campus or attending in-person lectures. Earning a software engineering degree online is possible because everything you need to learn can be studied from a computer.
With the right device and a strong Internet connection, you can become a software engineer and earn your degree in a matter of years. Below are a few benefits of earning a software engineering degree online.
College and university programs are typically very costly. No matter what college degree level you’re working toward, you can expect to spend several thousands of dollars in tuition fees. However, the costs are much lower when you earn your degree online, especially if you are studying at an online university. In addition to this, you don’t have to worry about paying for room and board or about the commute to and from campus.
When you’re working a full-time job, finding the time to go to class regularly is nearly impossible. For most employed individuals, adjusting their schedule to pursue higher education isn’t an option.
Online programs are typically self-paced, which means that you can study at your leisure. You can learn and study in your own time. Just make sure you meet your deadlines and you will be well on your way to earning your degree.
If you’ve decided to pursue your degree online, you can select a program based solely on its quality. Other factors, like the location of the campus, are not important. The freedom to choose where you learn is a tremendous benefit to getting the best education you can.
Many people worry that with an online degree they won’t receive the same level of job support they would from a local university. That is far from the case. There are many online programs that provide excellent career support. This support ranges from internships to career coaches and guidance in drafting your resume.
Many universities create online degree programs with students’ success in mind. Several online programs have a strong emphasis on communication between peers, faculty, and even mentors to guide students.
Best Online Software Engineering Degree Programs
There are many online offerings for software engineering degree programs, so it is important to choose one that has good reviews and accreditation. A degree from a reputable university or college opens up many more doors and increases your likelihood of landing your dream job.
Below is our guide to some of the best universities and colleges that offer online software engineering degree opportunities. These rankings are not in order and any one of these institutions is a good place to earn your degree. All these institutions boast accreditation by relevant associations.
Brigham Young University-Idaho
The Brigham Young University in Idaho offers a Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering. The coursework covers a wide array of topics, from computer security to object-oriented software development. In order to complete the course, students participate in an internship and complete a senior project.
The online degree program has no in-person requirements. Students must complete a total of 120 credit hours to graduate. They have ample opportunity to interact with professors, which makes learning similar to the on-campus experience. Earning a degree or certificate at BYU can boast anyone’s career.
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
University of Illinois at Springfield
The Bachelor of Science at the University of Illinois offers a concentration in computer science with a strong emphasis on software engineering. Some core classes include operating systems and programming languages. Students must also take a software engineering capstone, where they demonstrate the knowledge they’ve acquired throughout the program.
Other requirements, such as an engagement experience, must be met before students graduate. This helps them apply what they’ve studied in real-world situations.
Champlain College is a regionally accredited university located in Vermont. Online students can complete the entirety of the curriculum online without going to campus. The software engineering course covers several general topics, such as C++, Java, and Visual C++ for programming. If students have the applicable transfer credits, they can complete the entire program in as little as a year.
Admission to the college requires a high school transcript, resume, and a short essay on the online application. There is a special tuition discount for active-duty members of the National Guard, Reserve, and military.
The Grantham University Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering Technology program equips students with the skills needed to be successful in computing technology. The curriculum covers a wide range of topics, such as software design, computer programming, advanced circuit theory, and more. As a result, graduates acquire the knowledge needed to work in real-world settings.
Students of Grantham University have the opportunity to work with related professional organizations. This helps students find employment and enter exciting career fields.
Pennsylvania State University
Penn State University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering through a degree program that requires 126 credits for graduation. Students learn through software projects and virtual classroom studies.
Penn State’s program is considered one of the best online bachelor’s in software engineering. It allows students to explore multiple topics in computer science, mathematics, statistics, and probability.
Washington State University
Washington State University boasts an intense curriculum of campus lectures, interactive videos, and a plethora of activities carried out through the school’s platform. Due to the university’s popularity, graduates are highly sought after in the technology industry. In fact, the school has some of the highest hiring rates and starting salaries of any university.
In order to help students cover the cost of the program, students have access to several scholarships specific to the software engineering field.
Arizona State University
Arizona State University offers over 200 remote degree options. This includes its online Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering program. The university has been recognized by several organizations as one of the best providers of online software engineering degrees in the nation.
Students must complete a 120-credit hour course to graduate. Courses typically follow a seven-and-a-half-week schedule that covers multiple foundational topics, such as project leadership, software construction, and engineering.
Do I Need a Software Engineering Degree?
There are many careers in tech available to people without a degree. However, when it comes to software engineering careers, you have a much better chance of landing a high-paying job with a degree. Even entry-level positions typically require applicants to have earned at least their bachelor’s.
There are other means to learn the skills needed to become a software engineer such as coding bootcamps. These courses prepare students through a more accelerated and streamlined course. Coding bootcamps also offer career support to help students find a job more easily.
That said, the pedigree of the universities listed above definitely helps graduates land amazing jobs. These graduates may even be offered a higher salary upon graduating.
Software engineering is a highly sought-after career option for people interested in tech. The field is steadily growing and companies all over the world are seeking out software engineers to handle highly complex projects.
If you’re interested in the field, consider earning a degree online from one of the above colleges or universities. After all, the possibilities for success in the field are numerous and a degree is all you need for a lifelong career in tech.
Software engineers are professionals who take principles from engineering vocations, combined with programming knowledge, to create software
Compared to the on-campus option, online software engineering degrees are typically cheaper and offer more schedule flexibility
While there are positions opened to candidates without a degree, you have a much better chance of landing a high-paying job with at least a bachelor’s
Institutions with outstanding online software engineering degrees include Brigham Young University-Idaho, University of Illinois at Springfield, Champlain College, Grantham University, Pennsylvania State University, Washington State University, and Arizona State University
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.