Online Software Engineering Degree Programs

A career in software engineering can give you the opportunity to put your skills to work keeping an entire networking system up and running smoothly. Read on for more details about online degree options in software engineering. Explore online learning, common courses, and careers in the field. Schools offering Software Development & Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Online Degrees Are Offered for Software Engineering?

If earning a software engineering degree is your goal but you are unable to attend school on campus, you can find online bachelor's or master's degree programs. Associate's and doctoral degree programs in software engineering are offered only on campus.

Some online bachelor's degree programs require you to have Java programming experience and knowledge of finite or discrete mathematics prior to starting your program. For master's programs, you may be required to have a bachelor's degree in engineering, computer science, physics, or mathematics. Additionally, you may be required to know several programming languages and have software development experience.

Distance Learning OpportunitiesOnline bachelor's and master's programs are available; online associate's and doctoral programs are not
Possible PrerequisitesBachelor's programs: Java programming ability and mathematical skill
Master's programs: bachelor's in a related field, software development and programming experience
Online Program FeaturesRemote communication with students and faculty, recorded lectures, asynchronous learning
Common CoursesOperating systems, computer science concepts, software development
Career OptionsBachelor's graduate: junior software developer, software tester
Master's graduate: information systems manager, consultant

What Are Online Programs Like?

Earning a software engineering degree through distance learning requires a computer with Internet access, an e-mail address, and self-motivation. Instead of in-person interaction, you'll communicate with your instructors and classmates through e-mails, message boards, or live chat. Your online courses are very similar to on-campus classes. You'll generally receive your coursework via e-mail, DVDs, streaming videos, or through an Internet-based delivery system such as Blackboard. Depending on the program, some components of your online courses may be asynchronous, while others require you to log in at specific times for live lecture streams.

What Will I Learn?

Software engineering programs generally consist of a combination of computer science and software engineering courses. The curricula for bachelor's and master's degree programs may be similar, but master's programs offer more complex study of software engineering topics. Typical software engineering programs may cover the following subjects:

  • Object-oriented programming and design
  • Operating systems
  • Computer programming languages
  • Computer science concepts
  • Development & performance of web-based software systems
  • Software development & its role in engineering
  • Software artifact properties
  • Theories of software measurement
  • Using software development tools
  • Project management in software engineering

For undergraduates, a senior capstone project or internship may be part of the curriculum requirements. Master's programs may not require a thesis; however, you may have to complete a project - such as a software portfolio - toward the end of your program.

What Can I Do With My Degree?

Most software engineering jobs require you to hold a bachelor's degree, and employment involving more technical work often requires a graduate degree. With a software engineering degree, you'll possess the knowledge of engineering and computer science needed to design, build, and assess software that allows computers to utilize their applications to meet the user's needs. With a bachelor's degree, you may find entry-level employment opportunities working as a junior software designer, software tester, computer systems engineer, and computer software applications engineer, among others. A master's degree may lead to advanced positions, such as an information systems manager, system designer, or project manager, but you could also work as an independent consultant.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated the continuous growth of computer networking will cause the increased employment of many new software developers: by up to 17% from 2014-2024 ( As of May 2014, software developers made a median annual salary of $97,990.

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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