Best Online Bachelor's in Software Engineering Degree Programs

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Software engineering is an ideal field for creative, detail–oriented individuals who enjoy solving problems by using technology. An online software engineering degree introduces major principles and concepts in computer science, engineering, and software design. Degree candidates learn to develop, create, and troubleshoot computer software, programs, and applications, mastering the skills needed to work in software development and other information technology fields.

As the minimum credential for many positions in the field, earning a bachelor’s degree in software engineering online can lead to greater employment opportunities. A bachelor’s is also ideal for candidates who are considering pursuing a master’s or a doctoral degree. Many specialized research and teaching positions require advanced degrees, and earning a bachelor’s degree in software engineering online is the first step toward graduate and postgraduate study.

Software engineering is a growing field with a stable job outlook and many lucrative positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software developers enjoy a median salary of $103,560, and available positions are projected to increase by 24% in the coming decade. Graduates with an online software engineering bachelor’s degree qualify for a variety of roles, including computer network architect, computer programmer, computer systems analyst, and information security analyst.

Online Bachelor’s in Software Engineering Degree Program Ranking Guidelines

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We selected the following degrees based on program quality and course availability, in addition to school awards, rankings, and reputation.

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Arizona State University 

Tempe, AZ

About this school

Established almost 30 years before Arizona became a state, ASU began as a teaching institution with fewer than 35 students in 1886. Based in Tempe, Arizona, ASU now offers undergraduate and graduate programs to almost 100,000 students from six campuses.

ASU offers an online bachelor of science in software engineering through the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. The degree includes 120 credit hours of coursework that prepares students to enter computing careers or continue to graduate study. Learners gain proficiencies applicable to jobs as computer programmers, software developers, computer systems administrators, and mobile app and video game developers.

Students complete general education coursework in conjunction with field-specific classes, including 45 credit hours of upper-division classes such as:

  • Software enterprise: personal process and quality
  • Software enterprise: design and process
  • Software enterprise: construction and transmission
  • Software enterprise: inception and elaboration
  • Software enterprise: project and process management

The software enterprise courses provide comprehensive training in software development. The personal process and quality class introduces students to principles of software development and professionalism in the discipline, while the design and process course emphasizes user-centered design, design patterns, and design constraints. Construction and transmission coursework highlights best practices in team software development, and the inception and elaboration class provides students with hands-on experience launching and analyzing software project activities. The final software course in project and process management builds managerial and leadership skills within the software process.

The online software engineering degree also includes two semesters of capstone coursework during which learners design and implement a project using competencies developed through previous classes.

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Washington State University 

Everett, WA

About this school

With a main campus in Pullman, Washington, WSU also provides academic programs to students at locations in Spokane, Vancouver, Tri-Cities, Everett, and online. Founded in 1890, WSU was Washington’s first land-grant university.

Offered through WSU’s Everett campus, the software engineering bachelor’s degree includes hybrid coursework learners can complete in 2.5 years. Designed as a completion program, the degree pools instructional resources from WSU’s main campus in Pullman, online coursework through the Global Campus program, and lecture and laboratory on-campus offerings at WSU Everett.

Applicants to the online bachelor’s in software engineering degree completion program must complete the prerequisite 26 credit hours of coursework in calculus, linear algebra, economics, programming languages, and English with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Coursework within the program builds on these foundations by focusing on software engineering principles, design and architecture, and construction and maintenance. Some example courses include:

  • Software requirements
  • Mobile application development
  • Web development

The software requirement course emphasizes procedural aspects of software lifecycles by exploring aspects of analysis, specificiation, and validation of software requirements. Classes in mobile application and web development train in unique aspects of language, scripting, and consuming applications in different contexts. With additional coursework in programming language design, computer science, object-oriented software principles, and database systems, the comprehensive program trains students to work as software developers and engineers, project managers, quality assurance professionals, and software requirement engineers.

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Brigham Young University-Idaho 

Rexburg, ID

About this school

With a history tracing back to 1888, BYU-Idaho today is the largest private university in Idaho. From its 430-acre campus in Rexburg, Idaho, BYU-Idaho offers more than 100 academic programs infused with values of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In partnership with BYU-Pathway Worldwide, BYU-Idaho provides more than 15,000 online students access to nearly 40 online certificate and degree programs, including an online bachelor’s in software engineering.

BYU-Idaho offers an online bachelor of science in software engineering to prepare students for careers in software development, computer systems design, and software engineering. The 120-credit degree includes 40 credit hours of foundations courses, 26 elective credit hours, and 54 credit hours of major coursework. Some notable major courses include:

  • Data structures
  • Technical communication
  • Human-computer interaction

The program’s data structures course builds on computer science fundamentals by introducing algorithmic concepts, while the technical communication class prepares students to write, present, and communicate ideas, findings, and reports to technical and nontechnical audiences alike. Human-computer interaction coursework guides students through the lifecycle of a user interface project.

Additional coursework in computer security, software design and development, operating systems, and project management accompanies an internship and senior project course as well. During the internship, learners apply theoretical knowledge and practical skills under the supervision of a software engineering professional. The senior project includes an individual or group activity during which students demonstrate degree competencies through research and reporting on an issue related to the field.

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DePaul University 

Chicago, IL

About this school

Established as St. Vincent’s College in 1898, DePaul received official charter in 1907. With a name honoring St. Vincent de Paul, founder of the Mission of France, DePaul continues to serve his legacy by infusing Catholic and Vincentian principles throughout its academic programs and institutional community. DePaul has two locations in Chicago, Illinois, and offers upwards of 300 undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 22,000 students.

DePaul offers an online bachelor of computer science degree with concentrations in game systems and software development. The bachelor’s in computer science in software development comprises 198 credit hours that students can complete in four years. Liberal studies classes are completed in conjunction with introductory and advanced major coursework. Introductory major classes in Java for programmers, introduction to human-computer interaction, web development, and applied networks and security build foundational knowledge needed for advanced classes such as:

  • Automata theory and formal grammars
  • Data analysis and regression
  • User interface development for interactive systems
  • Real-time networking

The automata theory and formal grammars class gives students access to abstract models of computation and their applications, while coursework in data analysis and regression develops competencies in residual analysis, analysis of variance, and logistic regression. User interface development for interactive systems prepares students to develop graphical user interfaces for web and desktop applications, and real-time networking coursework explores issues related to performance-based networking.

Students enrolled in the online bachelor’s in computer science with a software development concentration at DePaul may not double-major in game programming, information technology, and mathematics and computer science. Similarly, learners may not minor in computer science and information technology.

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Hodges University 

Naples, FL

About this school

Hodges offers more than 30 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs from its Fort Myers, Naples, and virtual campuses. Founded in 1990, Hodges also provides ESL, certificate-embedded, military-friendly, and accelerated programs.

The online bachelor of science in software development comprises 120 credit hours and builds proficiency in computer information systems essentials. The degree integrates fundamental knowledge of computer programming languages and concepts with practical skills in software design, development, and implementation. The program also emphasizes practical and theoretical aspects of business.

Offered through the Fisher School of Technology, the online software engineering degree incorporates classes from two areas of focus: The first area emphasizes general education classes in mathematics, writing, and social science, and the second area focuses on software development through comprehensive computer information technology, software development, and business classes. Notable courses include:

  • Organizational applications of social media and collaborative technologies
  • Internet applications programming and databases
  • E-commerce

The organizational applications of social media and collaborate technologies class explores the capabilities of modern web-based tools to build understanding of their potential, limitations, and continued use. Internet applications programming and databases coursework prepares students to use common web-based systems, and the e-commerce class builds knowledge of theories and practices of conducting business across electronic platforms.

Students also study advanced computer applications, project management, personal finance, and programming languages prior to completing a systems analysis and solutions architecture capstone class. The capstone course combines business and technical aspects of the curriculum to emphasize security performance, maintenance, and integration of applications, data models, and conceptual and logical designs.

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Upper Iowa University 

Fayette, IA

About this school

Founded as a Methodist seminary in 1857, UIU currently offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs to over 5,200 students annually. UIU serves students from its main campus in Fayette, an international partner location, online, and an additional 21 locations within the United States.

The online bachelor of science in software engineering at UIU comprises 120 credit hours, 80 of which focus on the development, operation, and maintenance of software. Core classes required for the major include:

  • Software testing, validation, and verification
  • Computer architecture

The software testing, validation, and verification class introduces students to testing techniques, principles, and practices, while computer architecture coursework builds understanding of representing data and logical manipulation of data.

The curriculum emphasizes mathematics through six courses in geometry, calculus, and statistics alongside programming, database and information management, and operating systems coursework. During the capstone sequence, students develop a project related to a software system problem and apply knowledge gained from coursework to the development, design, implementation, and quality assurance aspects of the activity.

Students also complete nine credit hours in one of two primary focus areas: visualization and graphics or informatics. The visualization and graphics focus includes coursework in linear algebra, applications of visualization techniques, and visualization and graphics. The informatics track emphasizes statistics, informatics and knowledge engineering, and big data processing, warehousing, and data mining.

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Park University 

Parkville, MO

About this school

Established in 1875, Park offers academic programs from a plethora of locations that include its flagship Parkville campus, online, and an additional 41 locations throughout the state of Missouri. With more than 90 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate offerings, Park meets the needs of almost 16,300 students each year.

The online bachelor of science in information and computer science at Park offers five concentrations, including one in software development. The software development focus builds understanding of both business and design aspects of information and computer science. Students complete 40 credit hours of general education classes and 21 credit hours of major coursework that introduces programming, computer networking, information systems, and data management fundamentals. Software development focus classes include:

  • User interface design
  • Information security

Coursework in user interface design emphasizes the user experience across numerous electronic platforms. Students learn to take human factors, intuitive design, feedback, and consistency into consideration as they build websites with various tools. The information security class introduces students to legal and ethical considerations related to information security from both technological and managerial perspectives. Students study risk identification and management, security planning and testing, cryptography, and information system maintenance.

Park’s online bachelor’s in information and computer science with a concentration in software development fosters problem-solving and critical thinking skills applicable to the use of numerous computer technologies. Students build proficiencies for careers in web and application programming, software engineering, and database management and analysis.

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Champlain College 

Burlington, VT

About this school

Champlain, located in Burlington, Vermont, boasts a 15-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Founded as a for-profit postsecondary school in 1878, Champlain now functions as a private, nonprofit institution and offers undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs in over 80 subject areas.

Champlain’s online bachelor of science in software development comprises 120 credit hours. Students complete 57 general education credit hours and 63 credit hours of professional courses. Notable professional classes include:

  • Cloud computing security
  • Relational database design and SQL

The cloud computing security class introduces students to concepts, protocols, and standards for implementing corporate and personal cloud computing security. Relational database design and SQL coursework emphasizes models of relational structures, entity relationship diagrams, and normalization in database objects. Students also study structured query language while assessing case studies and gaining practical diagramming experience.

The bachelor in software development curriculum also includes classes in financial accounting, financial systems management, and project management essentials to prepare learners for roles in business and technical settings. The program uses standards and behaviors set by the Project Management Institute and prepares students for careers as applications and software systems developers, information technology project managers, and software engineers.

Classes are offered in seven- and 15-week formats, and Champlain allows students to transfer up to 90 credit hours into the program. Students may receive transfer credits for prior college coursework, work-life experience, and professional training.

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Southern New Hampshire University 

Manchester, NH

About this school

With a 300-acre campus in Manchester, New Hampshire, SNHU offers undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs through six colleges and schools. Founded in 1932, SNHU currently offers online degrees and credentials to more than 80,000 students.

SNHU offers an online bachelor of science in computer science degree with an emphasis in software engineering that introduces students to concepts and principles of the discipline through 19 credit hours of core classes, 39 credit hours of major courses, 42 general education credit hours, and elective options.

Core classes include fundamentals of computer science, application development, physics, calculus, and SQL. Major coursework builds proficiencies in software development, design, testing, and analysis through courses such as the software development lifecycle, collaboration and team projects, fundamentals of data mining, and operating environments. Students also complete a computer science capstone during their final semester as a culminating experience that allows them to integrate knowledge and skills from the program into an approved programming project.

Software development concentration classes include 12 credit hours:

  • Emerging systems architectures and technologies
  • Mobile architecture and programming
  • Secure coding
  • Software reverse engineering

The emerging systems architectures and technologies course offers an in-depth look at performance, interface, analysis, and impact of software architectures. Mobile architecture and programming coursework builds skills in analyzing, evaluating, and implementing mobile computing principles while assessing issues of design, communication, and security in the field. The secure coding class and the software reverse engineering course focus on techniques, strategies, and principles of secure software development and management.

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St. Cloud State University 

St. Cloud, MN

About this school

SCSU sits on a 100-acre campus in St. Cloud, Minnesota, and offers undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 14,000 students. Founded in 1869, SCSU transitioned from a teaching institution to a comprehensive university that now houses six colleges and schools.

SCSU’s online bachelor of science in software engineering serves as a degree completion program. Designed for working adults with two- or four-year degrees in the field or with extensive information technology and computer software experience, the online software engineering degree trains learners to work within application domains, develop and deliver software, and apply theories, models, and techniques to the software lifecycle.

The online software engineering degree comprises 122 credit hours. Students complete 40 credit hours of liberal arts coursework and 75 credit hours of program-related coursework. Required program classes emphasize mathematics, computer science, and software engineering fundamentals. Through 25 credit hours of software engineering electives, learners gain additional understanding and proficiency of topics within the field. Notable classes include:

  • Data mining for software engineers
  • Game development
  • Computer animation and visualization

Data mining coursework prepares learners to extract and assess information from large data sets. Students explore data mining concepts and techniques while learning to assess patterns, measures, and models. The game development class explores game design teams, processes, scripting, programming, and data structures, and computer animation and visualization coursework emphasizes data representation, motion capture technologies, and optimization and physical animation techniques.

The software engineering curriculum meets the criteria of the software development industry based on ACM/IEEE Software Engineering Education Knowledge documentation. Learners gain competencies to pursue careers as computer and information systems managers, software architects, software analysts, and systems software professionals.

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Bellevue University 

Bellevue, NE

About this school

Founded in 1966, BU reaches over 9,000 students each year and offers degrees and certificates through four colleges. All bachelor degree students complete classes that highlight the importance of active citizenship through the institution’s Kirkpatrick Signature Series.

BU’s synchronous online bachelor of science in software engineering program comprises 127 credit hours. Students complete 36 credit hours of general education requirements alongside 36 credit hours of major and 55 credit hours of elective coursework. Major classes emphasize computer software fundamentals and business principles and practices. Required courses include:

  • Web scripting
  • Business telecommunications
  • Server-side scripting with Ruby on Rails

BU’s web scripting class explores web tools used to design and create websites while emphasizing vendor-neutral web standards. Business telecommunications coursework assesses technical principles of telecommunications and computer networks as they apply to challenges and issues facing business communication resources. The course in server-side scripting with Ruby on Rails trains students to write web-based scripts using the Ruby programming language within the Rails framework.

Additional classes in programming, networking, project management, and information security provide students a comprehensive understanding of software design, building, and maintenance. The curriculum aligns with the CompTIA Project+ certification, preparing learners to effectively develop software and web-based applications, apply analysis and design concepts, and demonstrate written and verbal communication skills.

Applicants to the software development bachelor’s program must have an associate degree, a minimum of 60 credit hours, or one year of computer programming experience for admission.

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Rogers State University 

Claremore, OK

About this school

Established in 1909 (two years after Oklahoma became a state), RSU began as a preparatory institution and was later restructured as a military academy. Today, RSU offers academic programs to more than 4,600 learners from its main campus in Tulsa along with sites in Claremore, Bartlesville, Pryor, and via its online platform.

RSU’s online bachelor of science in information technology offers three tracks: computer network administration, game development, and software development and multimedia. The software development and multimedia concentration explores object-oriented technology, software engineering, mobile and web application development, and the evolution of modern technologies. Learners develop knowledge and skills applicable to careers in web and computer programming, systems analysis, and software engineering.

The 124-credit online bachelor in software development comprises general education classes in communications, science and mathematics, social and behavioral sciences, humanities, and global studies alongside core coursework. Program core requirements include programming, data modeling, introduction to networking, and systems analysis. Coursework within the software development and multimedia option includes 12 credit hours of classes such as:

  • Multimedia development
  • Emerging technologies

Multimedia development coursework explores image manipulation, animation, audio and video creation, and streaming media technologies. The emerging technologies course assesses how technology affects individuals, groups, and society while simultaneously looking at the role technology plays in the workplace. The program also includes a capstone during which learners integrate degree knowledge and participate in a practical group project. Students also have the option to combine the computer network administration and software development and multimedia options through 24 credit hours of concentration classes.

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University of Maine at Augusta 

Augusta, ME

About this school

As one of eight schools within the University of Maine System, UMA provides undergraduate degrees and certificate programs from its main campus in Bangor as well as online. Established in 1965 as an extension of the University of Maine campus, UMA became a separate institution in 1971.

The online bachelor of science in computer information systems at UMA offers concentrations in information systems security, networking, data science, web development, and software development. The 87 credit hours of program major courses emphasize principles of business and management while providing students fundamental knowledge of programming, data structures, web and mobile application development, and information security. Within the software development specialization, students complete additional programming language classes in Visual Basic, Java, C++, C#, and .NET alongside notable classes such as:

  • Software quality assurance
  • Principles of human computer interaction and user design

Software quality assurance coursework trains learners to monitor the software engineering process and introduces methods to ensure quality. Students also examine configuration and build management within the software production process. The principles of human computer interaction and user design course explores how users interact with computers by looking at visual, audio, and tactile aspects of software and web development.

Learners also complete an internship by working within an organization to solve a problem related to information systems technology. The 121-credit online bachelor’s in computer information systems with a concentration in software development degree prepares learners for careers as program analysts, project managers, and web designers.

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Middle Georgia State University 

Macon, GA

About this school

MGA hosts more than 8,000 students and offers academic programs from five campuses in Georgia as well as online. The university traces its origins to the establishment of New Ebenezer College in 1884. After closing in 1898, the University of Georgia opened a branch campus on the grounds of Ebenezer, an institution that later transitioned to a stand-alone university called Macon State College. The merger of Macon State College and Middle Georgia College in 2012 resulted in a new school — MGA.

MGA’s online bachelor of science in information technology program offers seven degree tracks, including a concentration in software engineering. The 120-credit program comprises 42 credit hours of general education coursework in English, mathematics, humanities, social science, and science and technology. Major classes in information technology, computer programming, application development, network essentials, and web development build fundamentals needed for concentration-specific classes. Students also complete major classes in project management, systems analysis and design, information security, and database principles.

Students complete 30 credit hours of software engineering concentration courses, including:

  • Robot programming
  • Data communications
  • Software testing and quality assurance

The robot programming class explores principles and techniques of programming autonomous robots with a focus on cognitive behavior and motion. Data communications coursework explores theories, models, practices, and performances of networks while building practical knowledge of protocol suites, error detection, and quality of service. The software testing and quality assurance course blends topics related to information security, software inspection, system improvement, and defect prevention.

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University of Maryland University College 

Adelphi, MD

About this school

Originally established in 1947 as the College of Special and Continuation Studies, a branch of the University of Maryland’s College of Education, UMUC was the first university to provide faculty for overseas education of active-duty military personnel. As one of 12 degree-granting institutions within the University of Maryland System, UMUC provides undergraduate and graduate programs to almost 90,000 learners at locations around the world and online.

UMUC’s online bachelor of science in software development and security degree comprises 120 credits and includes general education classes in academic writing, arts and humanities, behavioral and social sciences, computing, and physical sciences. Learners complete 33 credit hours of major coursework with notable classes including:

  • Mitigating software vulnerabilities
  • Secure programming in the cloud
  • Current trends and projects in computer science

The mitigating software vulnerabilities course provides students with in-depth analysis and evaluation of vulnerability detection and mitigation practices. Secure programming in the cloud coursework allows learners to gain hands-on experience designing, building, and assessing cloud applications. Current trends and projects in computer science serves as a capstone course and provides an overview of computer technologies with a focus on integrating concepts, practical competencies, and critical thinking skills gained throughout the program. Students research, plan, conduct, and complete a computer-related project, participating in team-building exercises and peer reviews.

The program also includes 46 credit hours of elective coursework; students can tailor their curriculum further through this requirement or apply transfer credits. UMUC allows learners to transfer as many as 90 credit hours into the program.

UMUC’s online bachelor’s in software development and security prepares learners for technical and managerial roles in software analysis, systems and application development, information security, and software engineering.

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The Advantages of an Online Software Engineering Degree

Individuals who earn a bachelor’s degree in software engineering online qualify for more positions than those with an associate degree. While associate degree holders may be eligible to take on certain entry–level positions in the technology sector, such as jobs in web development or computer programming, candidates with a bachelor’s degree enjoy more employment options. Individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree are often more qualified than other applicants, and frequently receive higher starting salaries than less educated workers in the same positions.

Earning a bachelor’s degree in software engineering also provides the academic foundation to pursue an advanced degree in the same or a related field. Candidates who earn a master’s or doctorate in computer science qualify for high–level research positions, and many choose to teach at the university level. As the table below demonstrates, higher degrees can also increase an individual’s starting salary.

Average Salary by Degree Level
Degree Level Average Salary
Associate Degree in Software Engineering $56,000
Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering $76,000

Source: PayScale

Software Engineering Degree Salary Information

Most software engineers work full time and collaborate with others to design, develop, and troubleshoot software or computer applications. While individuals with an online software engineering degree qualify for many engineering roles, students can also apply their skills in a variety of related positions. Many of these careers offer similar starting salaries and increased earning potential as graduates gain additional work experience.

Computer Network Architects
Computer network architects design and develop data communication networks, uphold information security, and make necessary upgrades to hardware and software. They are in charge of maintaining local area networks, wide area networks, and intranets. Salary based on experience:
  • Entry Level: $85,000
  • Mid-Career: $107,000
  • Experienced: $122,000
  • Late Career: $127,000
Computer Systems Analysts
Typically working within a single organization, computer systems analysts evaluate their employer’s computer systems and processes and create new structures and procedures to enhance operational efficiency. They are usually required to hold a bachelor’s degree in computer or information science. Salary based on experience:
  • Entry Level: $54,000
  • Mid-Career: $69,000
  • Experienced: $73,000
  • Late Career: $81,000
Computer and Information Research Scientists
These scientists analyze and propose innovative solutions to complex computing problems. They create new programming languages, tools, and strategies to streamline human–computer interaction. Most possess a master’s degree in computer science or a related field. Salary based on experience:
  • Entry Level: $86,000
  • Mid-Career: $108,000
  • Experienced: $125,000
  • Late Career: $140,000
Information Security Analysts
Information security analysts evaluate an organization’s security measures in relation to its computer systems. They design improvements to better ensure data security and prevent cyberattacks. Information security analysts are typically expected to hold a bachelor’s degree in a computing–related field. Salary based on experience:
  • Entry Level: $77,000
  • Mid-Career: $91,000
  • Experienced: $102,000
  • Late Career: $110,000
Software Developers
Software engineers analyze user needs, design program elements, and plan applications. They write the necessary codes, conduct maintenance and bug testing, and upgrade existing software. Salary based on experience:
  • Entry Level: $77,000
  • Mid-Career: $91,000
  • Experienced: $102,000
  • Late Career: $110,000

Source: Payscale

Choosing an Online Software Engineering Degree Program

Software engineering majors and computer scientists receive a similar education during the first part of their bachelor’s program. Foundational courses address computer programming, mathematics, and database fundamentals. Most software engineering programs differentiate themselves in their final year by focusing on software and data storage. In addition, many departments offer a course in project management, which prepares software engineers to collaborate on large–scale projects on a deadline.

Concentration options vary considerably between schools. Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the many exciting concentration options you may pursue while earning your software development degree. Both private companies and government agencies use AI to perform complex tasks, such as predicting consumer behavior and catching criminals.

Many programs require students to complete a final capstone project or practicum. During a capstone experience, students create a specialized computer program. Some graduates present their capstone project to potential employers as proof of their abilities.

Accreditation for Online Software Engineering Degrees

Accreditation ensures that colleges and universities adhere to the highest academic and ethical standards, assuring that students receive the best education possible. In the United States, schools may receive either regional accreditation and national accreditation. National accreditation agencies typically assess professional and vocational schools, while most public academic institutions receive regional accreditation.There are six regional accrediting agencies in the nation, each assigned to a specific geographic area. Regional accreditation is generally considered more prestigious, and credits from regionally accredited schools are widely accepted for transfer.

In addition to institutional accreditation, many academic departments and programs hold specialized, discipline–specific accreditation from professional organizations. The Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) commonly assesses software engineering and information technology programs. Recognized by both the U.S. government and the computing industry, ABET accredits both bachelor’s– and master’s–level software engineering programs.

In addition to accrediting agencies, the Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) play an important role in the accreditation process. These organizations evaluate regional, national, and programmatic accrediting agencies to ensure that all bodies uphold quality standards. Both ED and CHEA maintain comprehensive databases of accredited programs and schools on their respective websites.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Degree in Software Engineering?

Most online bachelor’s degrees in software engineering require 120–190 credits, including a final capstone project. In a capstone course, students synthesize their acquired skills and knowledge to develop an original program or application. On average, students earn their degree in about four years. However, many factors can influence program length, including course schedules, program format, and student enrollment status. Full–time learners usually complete their degree more quickly than individuals who enroll part time.

School schedules can also affect completion time. Some institutions offer courses every spring, fall, and summer, whereas others offer shorter accelerated courses every six to eight weeks. While accelerated degrees take less time to complete, they typically feature heavier workloads. Many accelerated programs also feature self–paced, or asynchronous courses, which allow candidates to complete coursework when and where it is most convenient. In contrast, cohort–based programs adhere to stricter schedules with fixed online class meeting times.

Courses in an Online Bachelor’s in Software Engineering Program

Many online bachelor’s in software engineering programs offer one or more of the following courses.

Computer Programming
Introducing fundamental computing principles and programming languages, this class covers concepts such as function calls, memory, activation records, expressions, and variables. Candidates also examine assignment and conditional statements, parameter passing, debugging, and testing. Learners master basic computing competencies and learn to write code in a variety of programming languages.
Software Specification and Design
This course introduces strategies and techniques used to develop requirements specifications for computing software. A software requirements specification is a document that describes the necessary elements a designer must include in the software they are developing. It is useful in the software design process and can help prevent project failures. Students also explore requirements discovery methods such as user interviews and prototyping.
Data Structures
This class presents core concepts related to data organization, management, and storage, along with the strategies and techniques used to access and modify them. Common lecture topics include stacks, binary trees, queues, searching and sorting, and linked allocation.
Systems Architecture
Systems architecture is the conceptual model that represents the relationships between a computing system’s main components. In this course, learners examine the interplay between the individual components and subsystems in every computing system. Common topics include central processor organization, instruction sets, input–output architectures, machine language, and assembly languages.
Database Management Systems
Using an entity–relationship approach, class participants gain the competencies needed to address system problems through database design and development. Candidates learn to construct a relational schema as they master commercial query languages, normalization techniques, and other database design strategies.

Software Engineering Membership Associations

Association for Computing Machinery
ACM is a global society that seeks to advance computing as a science and profession by providing members with educational resources. The association hosts a comprehensive digital computing library and publishes a variety of magazines, journals, and books. ACM also sponsors conferences and events, provides continuing education opportunities, and maintains a job board on its career services page.
Association for Women in Computing
One of the field’s first professional organizations for women, AWC maintains local chapters nationwide, including student chapters at colleges and universities. The association also provides professional development and networking opportunities through events and programs.
Computing Research Association
CRA strives to promote computing research and education by unifying industry, academic, and federal resources. The organization hosts a summit on technology and jobs, along with career mentoring workshops and conferences. Members can explore employment opportunities worldwide through CRA’s job board.
IEEE Computer Society
This professional organization helps industry professionals advance their careers through continuing education and certification. Members can attend conferences, search for opportunities on the IEEE job board, and remain current on innovations in the field through industry publications.
The Institution of Engineering and Technology
The IET is dedicated to sharing knowledge and resources across the global engineering and technology communities. Along with online courses and training programs, members can apply for engineering apprenticeships, awards, and scholarship opportunities. The organization also provides career support resources and compiles a list of available engineering and technology positions.

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