Many schools offer associate's degrees in software engineering, sometimes called software development. These programs can often be completed entirely through online study, with students viewing lessons and downloading class materials as their schedules permit, within established deadlines. Students may even collaborate on lab projects via distance education. A computer with a high-speed Internet connection is mandatory, and special software may be required. Some programs have specific prerequisite course requirements as well.
An associate's degree program takes about two years of full-time study to complete. General education courses in English composition, mathematics, humanities and the social sciences are usually required. Many programs also include business courses, such as workplace communications and accounting fundamentals. The software engineering curriculum includes courses in computer terminology, programming, data management and networks.
Associate's Degree in Software Engineering
Classes that make up the curriculum of an online associate's degree in software engineering include computer languages, computer hardware and database design. Students learn how to manage data and orchestrate software design and development. They also complete general education and business classes. Software development degree programs provide an almost identical curriculum to software engineering programs. Information technology programs also teach computer programming fundamentals and computer languages.
Program Information and Requirements
Many associate's degree programs in software engineering are available entirely online. Enrollees may need to purchase specific computer hardware, such as webcams and headsets, in order to participate in the online classes. They might also need to buy or install specific software, depending on the focus of their lessons.
Common Software Engineering Classes
Students learn a variety of computer languages, such as C++ and Microsoft Visual Studio. They also study programming procedures and techniques.
Lessons cover how to use Microsoft Access to analyze data. They also explore the importance of efficient storage and retrieval of information. Students consider how Access can best be used for business purposes.
In addition to software applications, students examine computer hardware and maintenance techniques. They learn how corporations reach purchasing decisions for the sake of marketing and distribution.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that overall employment prospects software developers would increase 21% between 2018 and 2028 (www.bls.gov). For computer programmers specifically, there will be an 7% decrease in opportunities during this decade due to outsourcing and advances in the efficiency of computer programs.
The BLS states that as of May 2018, there were 230,470 computer programmers working in the United States earning an annual mean wage of $89,580 in 2018. The BLS also reported that in 2018 there were 405,330 systems software developers in the United States earning an annual mean wage of $114,000 and 903,160 applications software developers earning an annual mean wage of $108,080.
Graduates of an associate's degree program in software engineering may be able to gain an entry-level position in the industry. Many graduates apply the credits they've earned towards a bachelor's degree, which employers may prefer.
The BLS reports that a bachelor's degree is a prerequisite for most positions, though some programming jobs accept candidates with a 2-year qualification, such as an associate's degree. More advanced positions may require candidates with a master's degree. Continuing education is crucial for software engineers and computer programmers as technology changes rapidly in the field. Those with the right combination of experience and education can advance to managerial or lead programming positions. Many also pursue careers as consultants.
An online associate's degree program in software engineering provides an overview of the field of information technology, preparing graduates for a variety of entry-level jobs in the industry.