Software Engineering for Bachelor Degrees
Technology is the way of the world! Millions of people use the internet every day through many different mediums like smartphones, tablets, and computers. Careers at companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, and many others are growing, and they are perfect for those who have earned their degrees in software engineering. The median pay in 2018 for a software developer was $105,590, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and a bachelor’s degree is the typical entry-level degree necessary for this field.
Software engineering is different from computer science in that students learn hard skills in designing, configuring, and utilizing software. Many programs require students to take foundational courses in both engineering and computer sciences while working toward this degree. Mathematics courses are also often needed. After graduation, students can enter a job market that is expected to have expanded by 24% by 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
When looking at the programs below, it is important to consider a few factors. First, the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET is the top accreditation body for software engineering. That means that a program is heavily vetted and proven to meet the standards set forth for engineering and technology education. Next, students should consider whether or not they wish to complete a cooperative experience. A co-op often means that students take a break from formal coursework, sometimes receiving credit but usually being paid, to work full-time at a site related to their major. These can provide valuable skills and professional experiences that directly contribute to a student’s ability to find a job after graduation. Some programs require co-ops as part of their curriculum. Lastly, if a student is interested in graduate school, they ought to look for an institution that offers an accelerated master’s degree. That would mean that they can finish both their undergraduate and graduate degrees in five years.
Questions About Software Engineering
|What is software engineering?||Software engineering focuses on the development of new software and the maintenance of existing programs. Software engineers may work in corporate environments or with clients to develop software solutions.|
|How hard is software engineering?||Software engineers need to have good critical thinking, analysis, time management, and communication skills. Students who enjoy working with others and problem solving may enjoy careers as software engineers.|
|What degree is best for software engineering?||Students can earn a bachelor's in software engineering or computer science. Students may also work on an engineering or computer degree with a concentration or specialization focused on software engineering.|
|How long does it take to become a software engineer?||Most companies require students to have at least a bachelor's degree. Companies may find candidates who completed an internship or worked for a year or two to be more desirable.|
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Types of Software Engineering Degrees
Students interested in software engineering are not limited to only majoring in the subject field. Below are a few additional options students can explore. Keep in mind that not all degree options may be available at every university and that concentrations may be specific to certain programs.
A software development program may be completed as a bachelor's in applied science. Students in a software development program focus on coding, technical documentation, developing software, and learning how to communicate ideas with individuals outside of the tech industry.
Information security can be presented as a concentration within a business degree, and therefore focuses more on the business aspect of the industry. Students in an information security course learn how to assess cybersecurity threats, work to maintain security on websites, and help companies understand privacy regulations.
Information Technology Management
Students in an information technology management program learn how to work across a wide array of businesses. Courses in this degree can focus on project management, database management systems, and understanding how messaging systems work. Students will learn a combination of business and IT skills.
Career and Salary Outlook of Software Engineering
Students who earn a bachelor's in software engineering can explore a variety of careers. Aside from becoming a software engineer, students can also explore careers within the computer science field and find work as a web developer, web designer, or computer systems analyst. Licensing requirements may vary by career and students may find that certain career pathways are more lucrative or prominent in their area.
- Software Developer: Software developers, also called quality assurance analysts, work with clients to develop software that fits the needs of an organization. They work to analyze where needs may occur and then develop, test, and maintain programs.
- Web Developer: Web developers are responsible for creating websites, determining the program languages for a site, and maintaining the backend of the site. They typically work with a team who helps determine the use of the site, as well as designers who create content or graphics for a webpage.
- Computer Systems Analyst: Working as a computer system analyst involves bridging the gap between business and IT. Computer systems analysts work closely with a company to first analyze any current computer systems, and then either create an entirely new system or suggest improvements for a current system.
|Career||Median Annual Salary||Projected Growth Rate (2020-2030)|
|Computer Systems Analyst||$93,730||7%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Best Bachelor’s Degrees in Software Engineering
The University of California ranks #1 on this list because of its Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering. With a curriculum designed to appeal to the desire to contribute to today’s technological society, this degree gives students hands-on experience working with the most current programming languages and equipment. The 44-course curriculum culminates in a capstone course, in which students work on teams to put together a system for a real client. Students also take classes like Multiplayer Game Systems, Social Analysis of Computing, and Language Processor Construction. Graduates of this program have also been able to find jobs before graduation.
The Bachelor’s in Software Engineering housed at the Stevens Institute of Technology is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. The program requires 141 credits of coursework for graduation. During this course of study, students engage with a rigorous schedule of classes in both software and systems engineering. Minors are available in Systems Engineering and Engineering Management. Many students also choose to concentrate in one of the following areas: Financial Systems, Healthcare Systems, Cybersecurity, and Sustainability Energy. Stevens also allows students to complete an accelerated master’s degree in five years. Students in this program have interned with Lockheed Martin, Rockwell Collins, and Citigroup while at the Institute.
San Jose State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering degree that requires 120 credits to complete. It includes classes like Software Engineering Process, Global and Social Issues in Engineering, Object-Oriented Design, and Computer Organization and Architecture. Students also must take two semesters of a senior design project that capstones their experience in this program. This program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. Graduates can go on to work for top-notch IT companies in both the United States and abroad. Transfer students can also benefit from the many articulation agreements within the California state education system.
California Polytechnic State University holistically educates its students, ensuring that they can think critically in the Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering program. The school wants to encourage students to apply what they have learned while also considering health, safety, global, and economic elements. CalPoly grows its students into leaders, allowing them to build team-based and organizational-based skills that will be applied in their everyday lives when working as software engineers. The program requires 183 to 184 credits of coursework for completion. The program includes technical electives such as Introduction to Computer Graphics, Current Topics in Computer Security, and Dynamic Web Development, among many others.
Emphasizing the application of engineering to software systems, Milwaukee School of Engineering offers a Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering. In this program, students receive a holistic education covering the importance and applications of software development in today’s world. During their course of study, students take classes in computer science and mathematics, as well as in engineering. The degree requires 194 credits, and it includes courses like Introduction to Game Development, Human-Computer Interaction, and Mobile Application Development. The program is also accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. Ultimately, students finish their career at MSE by taking a senior design sequence, in which they collaborate with a team on a project.
At Iowa State University, students can earn their Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering. This program brings together the expertise of computer science, electrical engineering, and computer engineering departments at the university. By combining this expertise, students have access to a curriculum in which they can grow their skills in designing, developing, and applying computer software products. They also grow their professional, organizational, and leadership skills. Students complete 135 credits of coursework while in this program, which includes classes like Problem Solving in Software Engineering, Software Construction and User INterfaces, and Computer Organization and Assembly Level Programming. ISU’s degree is also accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.
Students at Michigan Technological University receive a foundation in computer science while progressing through the Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering curriculum. Graduates of this program have gone on to work for companies like Texas Instruments, Boeing, Eastman Kodak, Google, and Lockheed Martin. MTU gives students the option to finish their BS and their MS in either Computer Science or Data Science in five years. MTU’s Enterprise Program allows students to work in teams on projects with real-world clients. This helps them to develop products and apply their skills in a setting that helps to grow them professionally. This program requires 125 credits.
At the University of Texas at Dallas, students benefit from state-of-the-art facilities, allowing students to earn their Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering while learning in modern classrooms and laboratories. Additionally, students can take advantage of internships at Intel, Raytheon, and IBM. There is also a fast track program for students wishing to earn their master’s in software engineering at a quick pace. Outside of the classroom, students can get involved with the Association for Computing Machinery, the Game Development Group, the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and the Society of Women Engineers. This degree requires 123 credit hours.
Auburn University offers a Bachelor of Software Engineering that prepares students for careers within the field of computer science as well as for graduate study. This program requires 120 credit hours of coursework, in which students take classes in physics, mathematics, and engineering. Some course titles include Software Modeling and Design, Computer Organization and Assembly Language Programming, and Computer Ethics. Additionally, this program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. Students can also take advantage of cooperative education programs. Auburn is also home to the Cyber Research Center that is geared toward researching cybersecurity in the United States.
Drexel University offers a Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering that centers on helping students ensure expertise and quality in future careers. Minors are also available in Computer Science, Data Science, Human-Centered Computing, Information Systems, and Security Technology in addition to others. Students can even finish both their bachelor’s and their master’s degrees in five years. Drexel also allows for cooperative experiences that are a century old. Overall, this program requires 188 credit hours of coursework and includes courses like Advanced Programming Tools and Techniques, Software Specifications and Design, Software Project Management, and Software Verification and Validation.