Online Software Engineering Bachelor's Degree

What You’ll Learn & What You Can Do After Graduation

An integral member of a software design team, a software engineer develops specifications for computer programmers and coders to carry out. They also design programs that ensure a smooth end-user experience. This career path often begins with a bachelor's degree in the field or a similar discipline such as computer science or computer engineering. Several colleges and universities offer onsite or online software engineering degrees, allowing working professionals to earn a degree in this high-paying industry. This guide explores the basic skills and knowledge students gain from completing a bachelor's program in software engineering along with career and salary potential.

What Is Software Engineering?

Although their responsibilities may overlap, especially in small software design teams, software engineers and software developers fulfill distinct roles. Software engineers usually function on a broad scale, often assuming project manager duties. They address issues related to the manageability and scalability of computer systems; maximize the efficiency of end-user applications; and design systems specifications and standards.

Software developers also focus on the end-user experience, but usually assume a more creative role. Based on a system's overall design, they develop applications that control a software's feel and ensure the pieces of the program they develop function seamlessly with the system's other facets.

Most undergraduate software engineering programs include coursework in advanced programming techniques, computer science, database management, and software specification and design. Software engineering students need strong mathematical and analytical skills, in addition to a fundamental grasp of hardware, software, and programming languages, such as JavaScript or SQL. They must also possess well-developed communication skills since they often relay the technical and creative requirements of a system's design to programmers and software developers.

Computer and technology systems provide the backbone for the processes and procedures used by practically all companies, organizations, and government agencies in almost every part of the world. Software engineers play a key function in the design, implementation, maintenance, and improvement of these systems. Professionals in this particular field can enjoy continued demand.

What Can I Do with an Online Software Engineering Bachelor's Degree?

Both onsite and online software engineering programs equip graduates with knowledge and skills they can apply in a variety of professional settings. This makes a bachelor's degree in software engineering a sound option for students with mathematical and scientific knowledge. As this guide shows, a degree in software engineering opens several career paths, each with excellent salary and advancement potential.

Skills and Knowledge Gained

An accredited online software management degree allows students to learn both the hard and soft skills needed to succeed in the field. Hard skills include the following: ability to perform data and statistical analysis; knowledge about technical standards and procedures; and the ability to apply engineering, mathematical, and scientific knowledge to design components or systems that meet industry or user specifications.

Soft skills refer to the organizational, leadership, and program management skills that program graduates develop as they pursue their degree. This includes time-management skills; the ability to function well in a team; and the capacity to communicate effectively with subordinates and superiors.

Both sets of skills help a software engineer meet the demands of most software engineering positions. For example, even though they rarely write code or perform actual programming duties, software engineers must still be able to assess a code or program's quality and evaluate a computer programmer's abilities. Moreover, no software engineer works in a vacuum. Software design remains a collaborative process. Software engineers must effectively collaborate with team members and communicate a task's technical constraints.

As you research onsite and online software engineering degrees, look for programs that provide students with the opportunity to develop both sets of skills. Additionally, look for school or program accreditation. In the software engineering field, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) sets the standards for engineering programs. ABET accreditation means you can apply for scholarships, grants, students loans, or work-study programs to help pay for your online software engineering degree.

Careers and Salary Potential

Many software engineers work for software companies, however these professionals remain highly desired in several fields. In these industries, they often shoulder additional responsibilities such as selecting, installing, and maintaining systems upgrades, adapting existing software to evolving business or industry requirements, and training personnel to use new software. See below for five five non-technology fields that often require the skills and abilities of a well-trained software engineer.

  • Construction: Software engineers help construction companies streamline their operations by providing a technology framework that integrates various aspects of the industry, including design, regulatory standards, labor, and budgetary constraints.
  • Finance: The finance industry needs software engineers to design, install, and maintain financial software systems that can protect both their assets and information from being accessed by unauthorized sources.
  • Healthcare: The healthcare industry needs software engineers to perform a variety of tasks including developing clinical applications; creating patient portals; updating and maintaining medical records; and designing accessible and secure cloud systems.
  • Nonprofit: In the nonprofit sector, software engineers often modernize outdated software or introduce new systems that increase an organization's global reach and impact, while enhancing their ability to carry out their mission.
  • Retail: Electronic engineers can aid in electronic shopping, which is touted as the future of the retail industry. Professionals can design technologically sound user interfaces and microservices platforms that intuit consumer preferences.
Application Developer

Annual Median Salary: $67,232

Application developers analyze a client's software needs and develop the components that correspond to those needs based on a technical design they create. They also document, test, and debug their own software applications.

Computer Programmer

Annual Median Salary: $61,176

In most instances, a computer programmer's main job consists of writing code. These professionals understand several programming languages, such as C, C++, NET, and JavaScript.

Java Developer

Annual Median Salary: $72,781

Java developers create web-based applications (drop-down menus, sound, animation), create interactive websites, and optimize Java-based applications to improve user experience. They also test, debug, and update their work to incorporate new technology.

Programmer Analyst

Annual Median Salary: $64,939

Program analysts troubleshoot systems to test for bugs or security flaws; customize computer programs to comply and support the specific needs of companies and organizations; and often make systems recommendations in terms of software selection or upgrades.

Software Engineer

Annual Median Salary: $83,021

A software engineer designs software applications or updates existing systems to meet client requirements. They also supervise programmers and aid in testing software installations to determine a system's ease of use and security.