As businesses and industries become more reliant on software-based systems, software engineers inevitably play vital roles throughout the public and private sectors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), software-based careers are projected to grow by as much as 22% over the next decade, making software engineering degrees and popular academic option among students.
And while a growing field is one indicator of a quality choice for a college degree, the salaries for software-based careers are equally enticing—BLS reveals a median salary of over $110,000 annually for software developers, testers, and quality assurance analysts.
Throughout the following page, we spot both online and on-campus software engineering degrees, various certifications and licensures, and the career options for software engineering degree graduates. Keep reading to learn more about this growing, lucrative field.Click Here to See the Best Colleges in the US
Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University plays home to their Software Engineering Institute, offering standout specializations in areas like cloud computing, cyber workforce development, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence engineering. Carnegie Mellon offers various undergraduate and graduate software engineering degrees including a Master's in Software Engineering and an MBA with a software engineering concentration.
The University of Southern California is a Los Angeles based institution that offers two computer software engineering programs at the graduate level. With more than 40,000 students, this elite west coast school provides students with the theoretical and technical skills they need to expand career options.
Established in 1898, Northeastern University is a private research institution with more than 25,000 students. This Boston-based school offers a Master's in Software Engineering, and graduate students also have access to more than 15 graduate certificates that cover topics like data analytics, energy systems management, and software engineering systems.
Villanova University is a private Catholic research institution that was established in 1842. This Pennsylvania-based university offers a master's in software engineering and a computer science bachelor's where students can specialize in software engineering. Both programs hold accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
Southern Methodist University (SMU) is home to various computer software engineering tracks at the graduate level. Based in Dallas and founded in 1911, SMU has an enrollment of more than 10,000 students. In addition to master's and doctoral programs in software engineering, undergraduate students can supplement their computer science degrees with software-based classes.
Home to a range of STEM-based undergraduate and graduate degrees, Michigan Technological University (MTU) enrolls more than 7,000 students annually. Founded in 1885, MTU is based in the state's Upper Peninsula and offers a BS Degree in Software Engineering. This program takes a collaborative, team-based approach and holds ABET accreditation.
Based in Coral Gables, Florida, the University of Miami offers a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Engineering with a concentration in software engineering. This academic option prepares students for software engineering careers and offers foundational coursework in software system fundamentals and essential hands-on training. Before graduation, students complete at least 15 credits of computer science classes.
Software engineering degrees traditionally offer students the skills to create various software, systems, and tech-based applications. Considering that software is somehow associated with almost every element of our lives, software engineering graduates can establish themselves in many careers.
Students pursuing a career in software engineering traditionally complete an undergraduate degree in software engineering or computer sciences. In addition to honing essential tech-based skills, software engineering students often shape their degrees to mirror their professional interests. This can include professional areas like manufacturing, management, or cybersecurity.
Most students tackling a software engineering degree rely on strong skills in math and science while also possessing equally strong problem-solving and analytical attributes. Software engineers often work in collaborative environments alongside various programmers and sales professionals.
Students pursuing an undergraduate software engineering degree typically complete about 120 credits before graduation. These degree-seekers complete a mix of general education requirements along with a substantial curriculum of software engineering classes. Alongside core classes, students often have the opportunity to select an academic concentration in areas such as software design, project management, web design, and information technology.
Prospective students must hold a high school diploma or a GED. In addition to an online application, applicants typically submit official high school transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement outlining academic and career goals. While it's becoming less common, some schools may require SAT/ACT scores.
Students completing a Master's in Software Engineering hone the technical and leadership skills they need to pursue various managerial roles. While most Master's in Software Engineering Degrees take about two years to complete, some programs offer an accelerated option where students graduate in as few as 15 months.
Enrolling master's students traditionally have a strong background in software engineering or computer science and complete core classes such as software systems engineering, software security technologies, and software engineering processes. Additionally, graduate students also tackle specialized coursework in areas like software architecture, project management, and data analysis.
Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree in a relevant field with a cumulative GPA of around 3.0 for many programs. Applicants also submit a professional resume, letters of recommendation, and a graduate essay outlining their interest in the program.
While software engineers are not required to complete, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) has created a licensure process for software engineers. That said, hiring employers typically look towards academic performance and professional experience as indicators of professional performance. While not required, software engineering graduates can secure licensure to enhance their credentials and job options.
Electrical engineering degree graduates can also complete various graduate certificate programs to enhance their skills and professional marketability. Often provided as an online option, common certificate courses cover topics like C++ programming, user interface design, and blockchain applications.
Students completing their software engineering degrees often take advantage of widely marketable skills that often translate into generous salaries. Graduates often secure positions as software developers, digital designers, and computer systems analysts. Additionally, graduates often find themselves in various fields such as healthcare, finance, energy, and telecommunications.
While an undergraduate software engineering degree is often your ticket to a lucrative position in a growing field, working professionals continually enhance their career options and earning potential through graduate-level coursework and professional certifications. These professional development opportunities span from coding boot camps to various developer certifications and can dramatically enhance your marketable skills.
Specific program requirements can vary between online software engineering degrees, so applicants should reach out to program officials to see if there are any in-person requirements. Online software engineering degrees provide students with a flexible and affordable option ideal for working professionals.
Depending on the program, students can anticipate synchronous (real-time) and/or asynchronous (at your own pace) coursework. Online programs also rely on digital platforms that facilitate class discussions and group work while providing students with easy access to all course materials. The best online programs offer coursework identical to on-campus options while supplying students with a similar list of student services and resources.
|School||Average Tuition||Student Teacher Ratio||Enrolled Students|
|Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA||11 : 1||13,519|
|University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA||22 : 1||46,287|
|Santa Clara University Santa Clara, CA||15 : 1||8,616|
|Brigham Young University Provo, UT||29 : 1||36,461|
|Northeastern University Boston, MA||16 : 1||22,905|