Online Degree Programs for Software Engineering

Software-based systems are an integral part of how businesses operate, the global economy functions, and people communicate with each other in their daily lives. Online software engineering degree programs can be beneficial to anyone looking to enter this ever-evolving in-demand industry. Software engineering is the design, development, and maintenance of computer programs, such as word processing and smartphone apps. It involves the application of a range of disciplines, including computer science, engineering, and math to design, develop, and test software. People who are interested in a career that demands both creative and technical skills may be drawn to the field. There are opportunities at every degree level depending on what your career goals are. Since there are many types of credentials software engineers can earn as professionals in the field we recommend applying to accredited online degree programs to ensure your meet all eligibility requirements to sit for credentialing exams.

Online Associate Degree Programs for Software Engineering

An associate online degree program is a good starting point for someone who is considering a software engineering degree but wants to test the waters first. This undergraduate degree typically covers introductory topics related to software engineering and design, such as software engineering principles, algorithm analysis, operating systems, database management, and computer architecture design principles. It may also cover programming languages such as Java, JavaScript, C++, C#, and Visual Basic. An associate degree provides a foundation for further study at the bachelor’s degree level should you decide to continue your postsecondary education. Since most entry-level positions in software engineering require at least a bachelor’s degree, online college degree programs at the baccalaureate level would be a necessary next step.

Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs for Software Engineering

Online bachelor degree programs build on many of the same topics covered at the associate degree level. Classes may include computer programming, program design, computer systems analysis, networking, and computer architecture. You’ll also likely have to take math courses in such topics as probability and statistics, calculus, and linear algebra. Upon completion graduates may qualify for entry-level employment as software developers, working in computer systems design, computer and electronic product manufacturing, software publishing, or even finance and insurance. Others may put their undergraduate degree toward a master’s degree to train for more managerial or specialty areas in software engineering and design, and accelerated online degree programs can help you earn both degrees in a shorter amount of time than it would take to earn each individually, saving you both time and money.

Online Master’s Degree Programs for Software Engineering

Software engineering is a constantly evolving field with technological advances happening on a seemingly daily basis. To keep up, software engineers in the field may find online masters degree programs beneficial to build on what they know. Depending on the program, courses may include software construction, software architecture, software engineering life cycle, software engineering processes, reuse and reengineering, and software design patterns. A master’s degree may also be pursued to specialize in a particular area of software engineering, such as risk management, testing, software project management, aspect-oriented development, or service-oriented architecture.

Online Doctoral Degree Programs for Software Engineering

A doctorate degree in software engineering may be beneficial to someone considering becoming an academic in the field, a researcher in the industry, or a leader within the industry. Topics covered in Ph.D. courses may include software testing, data minding, network security, and secure electronic commerce. Doctoral candidates may also have to complete a research project in a specialized area of software engineering. Areas of specialized study may include human-computer interaction, game-based learning, data structures and algorithms, or program verification.

Online Degree Programs in Software Engineering in the Work Place

Graduates of software engineering programs may go on to work in computer systems design, software publishing, or finance or insurance as systems analysts, software architects, system designers, software project managers, or software developers. Regardless of job title, software engineering is often touted as a "hot" career, topping lists of the best careers and fastest-growing industries. In fact, CareerCast.com ranked software engineering No. 1 among the 10 Best Jobs of 2010, based on such factors as work environment, physical demands, job outlook, income levels, and stress.

There’s good reason for the lofty titles. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of software developers is projected to grow 30% from 2010 to 2020, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. Rapid growth is due to the increasing demand for computer software and mobile technology, the use of computer systems by the healthcare industry, concerns over cybersecurity, and the number of products that use software, such as cell phone and other consumer electronics. Meanwhile, software developers earned a median annual wage of $87,790 in May 2010, according to the BLS., Of course, bear in mind that in addition to industry standards, pay is also influenced by your education, prior experience, and employer.