Online Masters in Software Engineering Degrees & Program Info
Earning an online masters in software engineering and software development may be a great academic choice for the student who is drawn to computer science, computer programming, mathematical analysis, and the world of information technology. Software engineering as a discipline encompasses the knowledge tools and methods for defining software analysis and design, software construction, software testing and also how to maintain software.
Whether you have earned a bachelor’s degree in software engineering, computer science, or a related discipline or you are currently a working software developer who wants to broaden their knowledge in software development to potentially jumpstart their career, earning an online Master of Science (MSC) in software engineering might help prepare you to pursue a variety of potential job opportunities. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, employment of software developers is projected to grow at a rate of 22% between 2012 and 2022 which is much faster than average![i]
GradSchools.com makes it easy to review options for online system engineering and software engineering graduate programs. You can browse listings by location, or read through them to see what matches your academic needs or professional goals.
Is Software Development is a growing field?
The influence of computers and mobile technology on our everyday life has generated a need to design and develop new computer software as well as incorporate new technologies into systems applications. Cloud computing and cyber security are only two areas that are expected to lead employment increases in the computer systems design and related services industry; health care IT, mobile networking, and data management also may contribute to growth over the next ten years[ii]. As technology evolves, the needs of the marketplace must be met. Potential career prospects may be available for applicants with knowledge of the most up-to-date programming tools and languages[i]
Potential advantages to earning an online MS in software engineering
The nature of computer technology is that new software has to be created and developed on a continual basis, so throughout their career, professionals in this field might find it useful to keep their skills and education current. In fact, the BLS reports that job prospects will be best for applicants with knowledge of the most up-to-date programming tools and languages[i]. Distance learning might help make this possible for working professionals, or people who just don’t have time to commute to a campus. The online format of learning is generally flexible, with a course management system that you can log into at your convenience. Online study tools and group projects are designed to help keep you connected to classmates and professors, so you still have a sense of community.
What is the potential curriculum in an online masters in software engineering program?
Curriculums can vary depending on the school and the format they have established for their online software engineering programs, or whether you are specializing in an area like software application development, software quality, or software design. Typically the Master of Science in software engineering degree will focus around the assessment, analysis, design, construction, operation, configuration, and maintenance of software. Some programs may include a thesis or capstone project. General core courses that students may encounter in Software Engineering (MS) programs might include:
- Computer system architecture
- Software system engineering
- Software development
- Computer science
Potential Career Paths for Software Engineering Graduates
Earning an MSC in system engineering and software engineering may help prepare student to pursue a variety of potential vocational opportunities. According to the BLS, computer occupations form the largest portion of the technology industry, however, there are also managers, business and financial workers, and administrators, since a variety of jobs help keep the IT world running efficiently.[iii] The four career paths that are identified by the BLS as having a high growth rate[ii] are:
Software Developers[v] are the largest occupation in the industry[ii]. They are in charge of the entire development process for a software program, and responsible for duties from creating computer programs and mobile games to upgrading operating systems and designing software for cloud computing. Employment in the field is projected to grow 22% between 2012 and 2022. Developers who supervise a software project from its inception through to its implementation are called information technology (IT managers)
Software Developers are considered the creative minds behind computer programs. Writing code is not the first priority of software developers, but they need a strong background in computer programming as they work closely with computer programmers and may, in some companies, write the code themselves.[v]
According to BLS data[vi] some of the industries with the highest levels of employment in this occupation are:
- Computer systems design and related services
- Computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing
- Software publishers
- Navigational, measuring, electro medical and control instruments manufacturing
- Management of companies and enterprises
What does a software developer do?
Some develop applications that allow people to do specific tasks on computers or devices. Others develop the underlying systems that run the devices or control networks.[v] The two types of software developers are[v]:
- Applications software developers design computer applications, such as word processors, or games, for consumers. Sometimes they create custom software for the general public, but also can create complex databases for organizations.
- Computer Programmers[vii] are writers of code that is used to create software programs. Job prospects are predicted to be better for programmers who have a bachelor’s degree or higher.[viii]
- Computer Systems Analyst[ix] study an organization’s current computer systems and procedures and design information systems solutions to help them operate more efficiently.
- Computer Support Specialists[x] provide help and advice to people and organizations using computer software or equipment.
- Systems software developers create systems that keep computers functioning properly, whether these are operating systems for computers that the public can purchase, or systems built specifically for an organization.
Ready to pursue an online masters in software engineering degree?
If you are already working in, or hope to pursue potential career opportunities in the field of software engineering, you might do well in a career-focused program such as the online Master of Science in software engineering. Why not use your trusted computer now, and start searching on the GradSchools.com site for a list of accredited system engineering and software engineering programs that may have the potential to help you attain your goals!
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm#tab-6 | [ii] bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-2/pdf/careers-in-growing-field-of-information-technology-services.pdf | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-systems-analysts.htm#tab-4 | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-support-specialists.htm | [v] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm#tab-2 | [vi] bls.gov/oes/current/oes151133.htm | [vii] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-programmers.htm | [viii] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-programmers.htm#tab-6 | [ix] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-systems-analysts.htm | [x] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-support-specialists.htm