An Online Software Engineering Degree: A Sure Shot Path to Success?


You’ll be hard-pressed to get through a day without utilizing software in one way or another. When you turn on your car, fire up your laptop, use your phone, or any other digital device, you are leveraging software. With a software engineering degree, you can become the person to design, test, and develop software for any use care.


In this article, we will cover all there is to know about a software engineering course and also how you can earn your software engineering degree online.




What is a Software Engineering Degree?


Software engineering is categorized under computer science as its own specialized branch. Since software engineering falls under the broader subject of computer science, it may be confusing to differentiate between the two.



An easy way to look at it is like this:



  • Computer science involves both theory and practical knowledge. It is broader than software engineering by itself because it contains software engineering.
  • Software engineering is a subset of computer science, and as such, is its own specialty. For this reason, the degree programs tend to be very practically-focused, as opposed to theory-based.



Software engineering degrees provide students with specialized technical IT skills to work in IT and web-based careers. Software engineering degrees teach a variety of skills to prepare graduates for many different job opportunities. They may work on operating systems, business applications, mobile apps, websites, or video games, to name a few.


As a software engineer, some responsibilities that will be under your belt include:


  • Designing and developing software
  • Debugging automation suites
  • Ensuring teams are up-to-date with the projects
  • Training junior engineers
  • Installing new systems
  • Maintaining existing systems
  • Meeting with customers to discuss their needs




What Do You Learn with a Software Engineering Degree?


Whether you choose to enroll in an online software engineering degree or an in-person one, you will develop both hard and soft skills in the realm of IT and software.


You can expect to study course topics that cover the following material:

  • Programming languages
  • Networking and operating systems
  • Core computing concepts
  • Cloud computing
  • Virtualization




Benefits of Earning the Degree Online



An online software engineering degree from an accredited institution is just as highly valued as one from an in-person academic institution.


By attending an online university, you get to benefit from increased flexibility, lower costs, and an entirely unique learning experience.


For example, if you have an interest in studying computer science, you can learn more about the University of the People’s computer science degree programs here. Many of the roles that you can obtain with a software engineering degree can also be obtained with a computer science degree.


Why should you consider an online software engineering program? While there are many opportunities to earn a degree to be a software engineer at a traditional university, here are 5 reasons why an online software engineering degree can potentially benefit you more.




1. Job Prospects


First things first, what do software engineers do and why are they so important? In general, software engineers design, conduct, test, and maintain computer systems and software to meet the needs of the user. In today’s day and age, the users are all types of individual entrepreneurs and small and large businesses alike that use technology to stay connected and run their business. From healthcare to education, logistics, and retail, virtually every industry relies on software engineers to ensure their productivity remains efficient and secure.


Because of the continued reliance on technology, the job prospects for software engineers continue to increase. In fact, by 2026, the job prospects for software engineers are expected to grow by 24%, which is much faster than average.


In earning an online software engineering degree, you can rest assured that there will be great employment prospects upon graduation.



Source: Unsplash




2. Flexibility


Online degree programs offer something traditional universities logistically cannot, and that’s flexibility. While traditional universities are constrained by their schedules based on professors’ time and classroom availability, online universities solely require an internet connection to attend classes and take tests. This means that you can set your own schedule, work at your own pace, and learn the same information without sacrificing your time.


For example, if you have a family or have to maintain a job while you study, you can work around those schedules and set up your school time in what would have been considered “free time.”





3. Lower Costs


In the same vein as the point before, online universities don’t have to maintain costs for physical campuses and recreational additions. Therefore, they are usually more affordable than their traditional counterparts.


Furthermore, there are completely tuition-free programs like the University of the People, which is an accredited online university that believes education is a fundamental human right. With the ability to access the program from anywhere with an internet connection and only pay the minimal testing fees, the University is revolutionizing education for all.


Regardless of the online program you choose, you also benefit from not having commuting costs, like gas, a car, public transportation, or parking fees. Also, since the courses are online, books are typically digital too, and therefore much less expensive than they would otherwise cost.




4. Less Time and More Focus


With online programs and the ability to access them from anywhere anytime, you can potentially free up more time in your day. For example, you don’t have to waste time commuting, which means that time could actually be spent “in class,” studying, or reading.


Additionally, not all people are fond of the traditional classroom setting. There are usually students who either demand a lot of the professor’s attention or are disruptive to their peers. In an online classroom setting, you can learn in the environment that is best for you, both physically and mentally, without sacrificing peer-to-peer interaction and the professor’s attention.


It’s the perfect win-win for everyone because you can learn in whatever way is most conducive to your style while still having access to the professor and peers when you want to be in contact.




5. Transferable Skills


Like all universities, online universities teach skills that are highly transferable to many jobs or even to becoming a freelancer. Perhaps the most noticeable is time management because as previously mentioned, you have to devise your own schedule and stay on track so you don’t fall behind.


Having to be able to manage your own time with the flexibility of the program will either directly or indirectly help you learn time management skills. While everyone approaches their days differently, a useful tip is to break your schedule down into blocks of an hour or less to lay out how you’ll spend the time. If that’s too granular, you can always pick the days of the week you’ll dedicate to study versus the ones you’ll get work done or read for class. In this way, you can manage your schedule to make time for family, friends, fun, exercise, and whatever else you have to get down aside from school.




Source: Unsplash




Software Engineering Career Paths



Along with becoming a software engineer with a software engineering degree, there are other paths you can take.


Take a look at these commonly held positions for software engineering degree holders:



Database manager


Database managers are responsible for developing and maintaining databases within an organization. They may troubleshoot issues, implement protocols for database recovery, and create the systems in which data is stored and utilized. The average salary for this position is $58,406 according to Payscale.



Computer systems manager


Computer systems managers are tasked with overseeing software and hardware to meet technology needs. From planning to installing to monitoring both hardware and software, their role is essential to ensure smooth functions. This is a highly lucrative career. Based on data from Recruiter, the average salary for a computer and information systems manager in America is $179,580 per year.




Web developer


Web developers create websites using programming languages. While web designers are typically concerned with the front-end of a website in regard to the user experience and layout, web developers focus most on the technical front-end or back-end coding that processes the website’s functions. For this reason, web developers and web designers often overlap in their work. Web developers earn an average of $77,200 per year, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.



Mobile app developer


Mobile app developers are in charge of creating and implementing the source code for mobile platform programs and mobile applications. They know a variety of programming languages and choose the one that is best-suited for the customer’s goals. reports that a mobile applications developer earns an average of $98,556 per year. 




DevOps Engineer


DevOps engineers work alongside IT teams and developers to execute code releases. They combine their knowledge of code and engineering to create and implement software systems that analyze data. Ultimately, DevOps engineers are on a mission to streamline the workflows within an organization and maximize productivity. They earn an average of $98,183 per year. 




Security Engineer


Security engineers are in charge of testing security software and preventing security breaches across systems and networks. Their goal is to recommend ways to mitigate security risks to management teams and resolve threats as early as possible. According to Payscale, security engineers earn an average of $95,836 per year. 


Once you have your software engineering degree, it will be time to start your job search! When that time comes, be sure to check out these 8 tips to help you find software engineering jobs. 




Final Thoughts


Due to the high demand within the field of software engineering, it’s easy to see why so many students are earning a software engineering degree in college. The degree prepares students with practical skills and knowledge to enter the field of software engineering upon graduation.



You might also be interested in: