Is a Master's Degree in Software Engineering Worth It?

Jun 21, 2018

In this article you will find detailed information about the career you can pursue with a master's in software engineering along with their respective median salary. Additionally, you'll learn the average time and cost associated with such a degree.

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Having a master's degree in software engineering enables you to pursue highly skilled and technologically complex jobs within the world of business, government or industry. Those who are concerned about the overall return on their investment with such a degree will find information related to five different career paths and the average cost of a software engineering master's program.

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What Can You Do With a Master's Degree in Software Engineering?

With a master's in software engineering students can gain the skills and tools necessary to solve complex problems through the use of computers as well as develop traits that allow them to be effective team leaders within the workplace. Partaking in this sort of coursework will give you access to a wide range of career choices within computing that range from software development and management to database administration and network architecture.

Job Title Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Software Engineer $103,560 24%
Computer and Information System Manager $139,220 12%
Database Administrator $87,020 11%
Computer Hardware Engineer $115,120 5%
Computer Network Architect $104,650 6%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Master's Degree in Software Engineering Careers

Software Engineer

Individuals within this career field usually have a background in computer science or engineering and have the ability to multitask and work independently as well as part of a team. They must have knowledge of HTLM, Javascript and CSS, among other programming languages. In addition, they must be able to design and maintain networking systems as well as develop their own software, all things that are learned in taking courses related to a master's degree.

Computer and Information System Manager

Persons within this career field work with others in the information technology department of a company to control all aspects of computer-related activities that go on. They do this by creating a structure and coordinating with individuals on their team to help them complete various tasks. In addition, they must constantly evolve computer systems and software to keep in line with the vision of the company that they are working for as well as to ensure that all goals within the company are met.

Database Administrator

Those who have this particular job will be expected to install and test all server upgrades and application tools. In addition, they will create software that allows them to generate accurate reports on various pieces of information at the request of the company they work for. Lastly, they will be charged with modifying the database to suit end users as well as both monitor and assist users on a daily basis. Having learned both software development and implementation during the pursuit of their master's, individuals with will be prepared for such challenges.

Computer Hardware Engineer

This field requires individuals to oversee the testing, manufacturing and installation of both computer systems and servers. In addition, they will also have to do the same as it relates to both circuit boards and chips. Furthermore, they will be required to troubleshoot any and all problems that are associated with these systems and generate a solution. In getting a master's, they will have had the required training and experience working with a team to solve these issues.

Computer Network Architect

These particular individuals will have the duty of both creating and planning the layout of all data communication as well as making decisions about which hardware to use related to those systems. This can include routers, software or network drivers, among other things. In addition, they will be tasked with determining the layout of networks, including where cables will be run and how hardware will be placed throughout the company. Having taken courses on both software and hardware evaluation, those with a master's will have the tools necessary to narrow down choices for a particular situation.

Degree Program Information

Those seeking a master's are required to have a GPA of 3.0 and have their bachelor's in either computer science or a related field. Additionally, they are required to take courses such as Software Project Management and Software Evolution during the program, which typically takes two years to complete. While the cost for master's programs can fluctuate, according to the National Center for Education Statistics students paid an average of $23,919 at private institutions and $11,303 at public ones during the 2015-2016 school year. These statistics are based on all graduate programs, however and so they don't give an exact estimate. For the best college graduate programs your tuition cost can start at as little as $10,000 and rise to as much as $50,000.

Having a master's in software engineering will give you the tools and the skills necessary to work in a wide variety of areas as well as give you a laundry list of great paying jobs that will quickly earn back the money you invested in further education. While your salary will certainly vary, having such a degree will ensure that you have the ability to advance higher in a company at a much faster rate.

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