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 larger rate compared to 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 even large network systems.
The wide array of occupations available to those skilled in software engineering makes it a valuable skill to learn for those who are interested in programming and technology. However, it can be difficult to learn all of the skills associated with software engineering, especially 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 and even earn a degree.
While this form of distance learning doesn’t require you to visit a campus or even be in the same location as your school, you still receive all of the benefits and knowledge of a full college education and much more.
The Levels of Software Engineering Degrees
There are multiple levels of software engineering degrees you can earn. Computer science associate degrees are the ones that typically take the least amount of time while doctoral degrees can take several years of intense study and practice. Below is the level for each software engineering degree and the expectations and benefits of earning them.
A computer science associate degree in software engineering trains students in maintaining and developing software applications. Beyond that, students may also be required to study basic computer concepts and take advanced mathematics courses.
Among computer courses, students will 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 those wanting to work in tech.
A bachelor’s degree in software engineering is a degree program that generally takes four years to complete. Students who participate in this program will learn topics that are similar to the ones taught at the associate’s degree level. However, bachelor’s degree students will also learn about 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 of the 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 typically for those who already have work experience in the field and want to pursue higher education. In fact, some schools make industry experience an admissions requirement.
These programs can be completed within 16 months and can be pursued through full-time or part-time studying. Students may also be required to complete a practicum. Some of the courses in this program include software development and management, software system modeling, and more.
Master’s degree holders in software engineering are available to take on more complicated projects from employers.
Doctoral degree programs go beyond learning and open up the potential for students to do research in their field. Doctoral programs are incredibly intense and require a great deal of time and effort to complete. In fact, they typically last between five to seven years and require a dissertation or thesis in order for the student to complete the program.
Of course, those who hold a doctorate in software engineering can take on many of the same positions that those with a bachelor’s or master’s degree could. However, the opportunity to work as a professor or industrial laboratory researcher is also available to them. 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 allowed people to learn many things through distance learning, without the need to visit a campus or attend in-person lectures. Earning a software engineering degree online is possible because you can easily learn all of the things you need with 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 towards, you can expect to spend several thousands of dollars in tuition fees. However, the costs are greatly reduced when you earn a degree online, especially when that degree is earned through an online university. In addition to this, you don’t have to worry about paying for room and board or the commute to and from campus.
When you’re working a full-time job, finding the time to go to class regularly is nearly an impossible task. For most employed individuals, the ability to adjust their schedule to pursue higher education just isn’t an option.
Online programs are typically self-paced, which means that you can take classes 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.
Choosing a program for your online software engineering degree gives you the opportunity to choose whichever university you wish to learn from. Not being tied to a physical location, you can select a degree program based on its quality, not how convenient it is according to your location. The freedom to choose where you learn is a tremendous benefit of getting the best education you can.
Many people worry that earning an online degree means they don’t receive the same level of job support they would from a local university. That is far from the case. There are several schools that not only teach students, but also provide career support. This support ranges from internships to career coaches and aid in creating your resume.
Many universities create online degree programs with a focus on the student’s success in mind. Several online programs are designed with a strong emphasis on communication between peers, faculty, and even mentors to help guide students through their education.
Best Online Software Engineering Degree Programs
While there are many online offerings for software engineering degree programs, it is important to choose one that is highly received and accredited. A good degree from a reputable university or college opens up many more doors to you and increases your likelihood of being hired.
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 serves as a good place to earn your degree.
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 must participate in an internship and complete a senior project, which gives them more skills in the field.
The online degree program has no in-person requirements and students must complete a total of 120 credit hours to graduate from the program. Students have significant opportunities to interact with their professors, which allows them to receive a similar experience compared to those learning on-campus.
The Bachelor of Science at the University of Illinois offers a concentration in computer science that has a strong emphasis on software engineering. Some of the core classes students take 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 can graduate, which helps students learn how to apply what they’ve studied in real-world scenarios.
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.
Admissions to the college require a high school transcript, resume, and the answer to a short essay question on the online application. For active-duty members of the National Guard, Reserve, and military, there is a special tuition discount.
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. Graduates are equipped with the knowledge needed to work in real-world settings upon completing the program.
Graduates of Grantham University have the opportunity to work with related professional organizations while they are enrolled, which helps students find employment and enter into successful career fields more easily.
Penn State University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering through a degree program that requires 126 credits for graduation. The program teaches students through software projects and virtual classroom studies.
Considered one of the best online bachelor’s in software engineering programs, Penn State’s degree course helps students in a number of ways and allows them to explore multiple topics in computer science, mathematics, statistics, and probability.
Washington State University teaches students through an intense curriculum of campus lectures, interactive videos, and various activities carried out through the school’s platform. Due to the university’s popularity and acclaim, graduates of its program 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 who are admitted to the program cover the cost, students are eligible for several scholarships specific to the software engineering field.
Arizona State University offers over 200 remote degree options, which 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?
While there are many careers in tech available to people without a degree, the chances of a bachelor’s degree requirement are high when it comes to software engineering careers. Even entry-level positions typically require a job applicant to have earned their bachelor’s before being considered for a position.
There are other means to learn the skills needed to become a software engineer such as coding bootcamps, which prepare students through a more accelerated and streamlined course. Coding bootcamps also offer career and hiring opportunities for students to find a job position more easily.
That said, the pedigree of some of these universities makes it much easier for graduates and earners of software engineering degrees to find a job and they may even be offered a higher salary upon graduating.
Software engineering is a highly sought-after career option for people interested in tech careers. 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 and opening up new career opportunities to yourself from one of the above colleges or universities. The possibilities for success in the field are numerous and a degree is all you need for a lifelong career in tech.