Software Design Engineering Education Requirements

Software design engineering professionals require some formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and qualifications to see if this is the right career for you.

Software design engineers develop computer software applications and systems. They assess the desired outcomes and create the technology needed to make it happen. Software design engineers are often required to have a bachelor's degree in computer science.

Essential Information

Software design engineers, also known as software developers or software engineers, develop and maintain software applications by using computer science theory and engineering methodology. They are employed in a variety of industries and typically hold a bachelor's degree in a computer field.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in computer science
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 17% (for software developers)
Median Annual Salary (May 2015)* $98,260 (for software applications developers); $105,570 for (software systems developers)

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Software Design Engineer Career Overview

Software design engineers use standardized methodologies to develop software used in applications by business, government and consumer end users. The methodology they use begins with an understanding of the end user's requirements. The software design engineer uses flowcharts and diagrams to document the logic needed to meet the end user's requirements and then creates algorithms that follow that logic. The engineer or a computer programmer then converts the algorithms to computer code in a programming language, like C, C++, Java or Python. Software engineers may also implement, test and maintain these programs.

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Software Design Engineer Educational Requirements

A career as a software design engineer generally entails a Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering. Alternatively, some enter this career by earning bachelor's degrees in related fields, such as computer science or computer information systems. Software engineering degree programs include such courses as software design, computer architecture, programming languages, networks and operating systems. They typically also require the completion of senior design projects.

Additional Qualifications

Software design engineers keep abreast of developments in their field or build their skill levels by attending seminars, training courses or online classes. They might also pursue advanced degrees in software engineering or related fields. Employers may reimburse their employees for the cost of continuing education. Some software engineers enhance their employability by gaining certification from professional organizations, such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Software Design Engineer Job Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment for computer software engineers, or software developers, was expected to grow by 17% from 2014-2024, considerably faster than the average for all occupations ( The trends that are driving this demand include growing dependence on networks, increased sophistication of wireless Internet-enabled devices and evolving information security requirements. The BLS states that software developers who worked with applications earned an annual median salary of $98,260 in May 2015, while those who worked with systems software earned an annual median salary of $105,570.

Software design engineers create technology for the functionality of computers. They design, develop, and test software during the development of new technology. Many software design engineers earn a bachelor's degree in computer science and advanced degrees in order to work in this fast-growing field.

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