Online Software Engineering Programs are growing in response to the working professional's need to engage in continuing education opportunities. Online studies involve obtaining educational instruction remotely from an off-site location. Studying online allows the individual to save on commuting costs and offers more flexibility. In an online degree program, students communicate with instructors via webinar, video teleconference, voice teleconference, web conferencing, satellite, VOIP, email, online forums, podcasts and many other forms of information dissemination.
In a full online program, all assignments and testing are completed online. Students in online programs are expected to abide by their University’s Honor Code. However, cheating still occurs within these communities. Hybrid online degree programs were created to deter cheating. In a hybrid online degree program, all classes and assignments are conducted online. However, testing occurs outside of the home in a controlled environment. Students must inquire to determine the type of program in which they are enrolling.
Online Degree Selection
When searching for an online degree program, one of the most important pieces of research a student should perform is verification of the University’s accreditation. There are many diploma mills and fraudulent programs that exist for the express purpose of earning a profit. To avoid investing time and money into a degree that will not yield a desired position in the Software Engineering profession, be certain to verify the University’s accreditation.
The second step is selecting a school that is recognized in the Software Engineering community. If the program is not recognized, employers may choose to select a candidate with similar credentials who gained a degree from a recognized educational institution.
Request information on Software Engineering Programs
If software engineering sounds like a good fit and a profession you'd like to pursue, you can request free information from education institutions like:
- University of Phoenix
- Walden University
- Western Governors University
- Colorado Technical University
- Strayer University
Software Engineering vs Computer Science Programs
Software Engineering programs are designed to give the student an understanding of the managerial, behavioral, and technical aspects of the discipline. Software Engineering combines the computer science and mathematical disciplines to design, test, and evaluate software applications and systems. The applications developed provide the instructions for computers to operate. Technological changes within the industry occur frequently. To remain competitive in the industry, a Software Engineering professional can expect to engage in continuing education over the course of their career.
A student interested in Software Engineering, both at the Graduate and Undergraduate level, should have strong math skills. Candidates should be skilled in both analytical and logical thought processes. Software engineers design software applications necessary for computer games, operating systems, middleware, network control systems, and business applications. Thus, the Software Engineer must acquire a level of expertise in software structure, hardware limitations, and computing systems theory.
Software Engineers must be skilled in creating algorithms. Algorithms are the set of instructions that provide the commands to the computer hardware. Converting these algorithms to a computer language such as C, C++, JAVA, or Python is also a portion of their responsibilities.
Computer software application engineers design, implement, and maintain computer applications. Most of the application design is customized for businesses and other organizations. During the design process, the Software Engineer employs the use of diagrams, flowcharts and other documentation to aid in the programming process. Database development, testing, upgrading, and modifying are also a part of this process.
Computer software systems engineers coordinate maintenance and construction of the organization’s computer systems. These applications may include inventory management, billing and payroll. Systems Engineers may coordinate the organization’s local area network (LAN) or intranets. Data protection and system security may also be a part of their responsibilities. The role of the Software Systems Engineer may also include interacting with the marketing or sales staff as a technical resource. Often the explanations of the systems are quite technical and require a person who has expertise to assist the sales person in closing a sale.
Admissions into a Software Engineering Program
To be admitted in an Undergraduate Software Engineering Program, the prospective student must perform well in his or her high school curriculum, excel in Algebra and Calculus, and perform well on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).
For a Graduate level program of study, the prospective student must perform well on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), perform well in a Computer Science, Engineering, or other related programs of study. Strong programming skills, as well as, mathematical computation skills are required.
The GRE consists of four sections: Verbal, Quantitative, Analytical Writing, and Experimental Section. The test takes four hours to complete. The maximum score that can be achieved on the GRE is an 800. Acceptable admissions scores vary for each University. Therefore, students should inquire about the requirements for admissions. For prospective Software Engineering students, it is recommended to obtain a high score on the Quantitative Section of the GRE to prove mathematical and logic competency. Some schools also require a subject test in Mathematics. Inquire at the school of choice to determine specific requirements.
Schools Offering Online Software Engineering Programs
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute possesses a Master of Science program in Technical Communication and a certificate in Human-Computer Interaction. The program is designed to expose the student to technology solutions that can be applied in the industry.
The program addresses computer interface design and analysis, electronic and print media, and theory. The certificate program consists of four graduate level courses. The courses will give the student an overview of HCI usability, electronic coaching systems, capstone design, and communication design for the World Wide Web. Once completed, the student will have a 12-credit certificate from an accredited program.
The University of Liverpool
The University of Liverpool is located in the United Kingdom and is one of the Top Ten Distance Learning institutions in the world, according to Financial Times. The University of Liverpool offers a Software Engineering degree program entirely online. The University of Liverpool is accredited by Royal Charter. The program is designed to develop the student’s skills in areas such as Systems and Analysis Design, Software Testing, Management of Quality Assurance, and IT Project Management.
The instructors have industry experience and are world renowned academically. The University rivals The University of Oxford and Cambridge in terms of research. The University is well recognized and will certainly provide the graduate with an edge when seeking employment.
To enroll in an online degree program, a Bachelors degree from an accredited college or University is required. The institution must be recognized, and the prospective student must have two years of experience working in an Information Technology environment.
The University of Maryland
The University of Maryland offers a Graduate level Software Engineering Certificate to allow the student to develop a foundation and learn the issues of the discipline. The certificate addresses the design issues. The course work will include Software Design and Implementation, Systems Engineering, Systems and Software Standards and Requirements, Software Verification and Validation and Software Project Management. The program will require 15 semester hours to complete.
The Undergraduate Level Software Engineering Certificate is designed for working professionals who will be developing software projects on a large scale in a team environment. In order to enroll, the student must meet the prerequisite requirement of two semesters of C++ or Java prior to beginning the coursework. Students will learn software development, testing, maintenance, and systemic design principles. The course work will include Object-Oriented Design and Programming, Software Design and Development, Software Verification and Validation, Software Safety, and Software Engineering Principles and Techniques. The program will require 18 semester hours to complete.
Penn State Online
Penn State online is fully accredited and recognized in the industry. The Masters in Systems Engineering program is taught by esteemed faculty and is designed to provide the student with the ability to solve complex problems in software and hardware. The program consists of 12 courses. The courses will be completed in 6 continuous semesters. Each semester is 2 seven week terms. When the course work is completed, the student will have 36 credits. The course work includes learning concepts in modeling, simulation, analysis, identification and management of complex systems and processes.
University of Massachusetts Online
The Software Development and Design Certificate Program will provide the student with knowledge of theory, tools and techniques in software development. The courses students complete for the certificate program are transferrable to the Master of Science degree program requirements for Computer Science. This will allow certificate recipients to transition to the degree program seamlessly.
Certificates are widely recognized and can also assist an individual in earning a promotion or a salary increase. The presence of certification from a recognized institution on a resume assists the candidate in finding viable employment.
Employment Opportunities for Computer Software Engineers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Computer Software Engineering has the highest projected growth rate of any profession. Thus, the industry can expect to see a 21 percent increase in computer software engineers and computer programmers by 2018. Most of the growth will be attributed to software engineers, as the computer programming employment is expected to decline 3 percent by 2018. Those individuals possessing a bachelors degree or higher should have a greater chance of becoming employed in the industry.
The median wage earning for Computer Software Engineering is just over $85,000. The highest ten percent earned just under $129,000. Software Publishers offer Software Engineers jobs at a median income of $87,710. Professional, Commercial Equipment, and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers offer jobs in the median income range of $93,740. The median income for Scientific Research Companies and Computer Manufacturing is approximately $102,000.