Online Computer Software Engineering Degree Programs

Find out what you'll learn in online bachelor's and master's degree programs in software engineering, and discover online course options. Learn the outlook for employment in the field. Schools offering Software Development & Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Learn in an Online Bachelor's Degree Program in Computer Software Engineering?

At the bachelor's degree level, software engineering often exists as a concentration within online Bachelor of Science programs in computer science or information technology. These programs aim to teach you how to design, build, implement and maintain various computer software programs. Required courses cover critical engineering components like programming, graphics and scripts, networking, data storage and software security. You also learn relevant skills in computer information science, including database applications, web development and systems architecture. Many courses require you to complete online computer lab-based practica or other applied work.

Degree LevelGraduate and undergraduate
Online AvailabilityPrograms are available fully online
Common Course TopicsAdvanced design techniques, project management, software architecture, human-computer interaction, information security
Course DeliveryDiscussion forums, e-mail, chat rooms, and conference calls
Job Outlook 24% increase from 2016 to 2026

Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Will I Learn in an Online Master's Degree Program?

Some Master of Science in Software Engineering programs require you to have a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering or a related area. Others accept applications from students with bachelor's degrees in any area but once admitted, they require you to complete basic leveling courses in such topics as programming and networking.

Required courses teach you how to ensure that software design conforms to project specifications and meets quality standards. You learn about advanced design techniques for both external style features and internal data programming of software programs. Sample course topics in this area include project management, software architecture and human-computer interaction. Courses also educate you in the analysis of software design for user-friendliness and information security, as well as techniques for programming and implementing system upgrades. Many programs require you to design your own small-scale software system before graduating.

How Do Online Programs Work?

Online programs give you access to all of your courses and allow you to complete all required work through interactive teaching and learning platforms. You communicate with instructors and other students using e-mail, chat and discussion forums, and phone calls may occasionally be shared. Distance-learning programs require an Internet-connected computer and basic word-processing and document-viewing software, enabling you to view and share assignments. Because of the hands-on nature of computer science programs, however, additional programs equipping you to complete software engineering labs are often required. You may also need a scanner to electronically submit software-design documents.

What Can I Expect on the Job Front After Graduation?

As a computer software engineer, you can generally either focus on applications or systems engineering. Applications engineers develop and program user-friendly computer software programs, while systems engineers improve and streamline existing corporate computer systems and the information on them. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, the job market for all computer software developers was expected to experience a 24% employment growth from 2016 to 2026. As of May 2018, the mean annual salary for software developers, applications was $103,620 and $110,000 for software developers, systems software.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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