Software process engineering may be studied in the program fields of computer science, computer engineering, or software engineering. These programs are often available online, in both blended and fully online versions.
At the bachelor's degree level, students can focus their studies with elective courses in subjects like quality assurance, as well as projects based on specific areas of interest. At the master's degree level, students can choose from specialization areas in subjects like architecture, enterprise technology, cloud computing, systems engineering, network, security, or database systems.
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Degree
In order to correct a faulty process, a student must have a strong understanding of how software works from the ground up. A bachelor's degree program in computer science teaches how software functions from the beginning concepts through design phases and the end product. While this program covers a broad base of knowledge, elective courses that focus on quality assurance techniques are typically offered, many of which are project based. Higher math classes are also stressed in this program.
Coursework helps students develop a comprehensive set of skills in computing, including testing and debugging software. Classes cover topics such as:
- Advanced programming
- Product development environments
- Artificial intelligence processing and proving
- Image representation and restoration
- Interactive content integration
Master of Science Degree in Computer Science
The types of programs available to students pursuing a master's degree are based on the creation of a project, development of a thesis, or the completion of coursework. Most graduate students may choose a field of specialization, such as security, cloud computing or networking systems. Other common graduate-level tracks include theory, databases, security and languages for those software process engineers who wish to develop a specialized skills set.
Courses for this degree take the student to new depths in programming and process engineering while covering the latest innovations and possibilities for the future, such as computer cryptology. Topics covered at the graduate level may include:
- Real-time systems in robotics and interactive applications
- Error control and process debugging
- Systems evaluation
- Cognitive processes and their uses
- Blended reality processes and design
- Multidimensional image and signal processing
Any industry that creates and develops software requires the services of software process engineers. Graduates with a B.S. in Computer Science may work for private and nonprofit organizations, as well as government agencies; others pursue graduate degrees. Some entry-level career titles, in addition to software process engineer, include the following:
- Test engineer
- Associate systems engineer
- Associate programmer
- Consulting analyst
- Systems analyst
- Information security engineer
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes software process engineers, or software quality assurance analysts, in its description of computer systems analysts. The BLS has projected rapid job growth for this profession, at 21% between 2014 and 2024. This growth is fueled by the need of organizations to adopt more sophisticated networks, security and software. In May 2015, BLS reported the annual average salary of computer systems analysts to be $90,180 (www.bls.gov).
Certification is available for software process engineers through the American Society for Quality (ASQ). The Software Quality Engineer certification is for those who work in software inspection, testing, validation or quality development. These professional credentials can expand employment opportunities. The ASQ awards this designation upon meeting requirements for education and experience, as well as passing an examination.
Software process engineering training can be pursued via a bachelor's or master's degree in computer science. These programs prepare graduates for careers as test engineers or systems analysts, and professional certification through organizations like the American Society for Quality are available.