Online Software Engineering Degree Programs

Software engineering is essential to many businesses, organizations, and industries. Most entry-level software engineering positions require at least a bachelor degree, and majority of software engineers start out with this degree. Online software engineering programs provide students with a solid foundation in software engineering with a variety of specialty options. Students learn a variety of programming languages and software practices that can be applied to a variety of career fields. They gain the essential problem solving, technical, interpersonal, writing, communication, accounting and budgeting, and oral presentation skills to be successful in their careers. Software engineers can often transition into different engineering fields. Read more about online software engineering degree programs.

Some Stats

In 2006, there were 231 bachelor degrees, 598 master degrees, and 3 doctorate degrees conferred in computer software engineering (1). Computer software engineers held about 857,000 jobs in 2006, with more than 29% employed in the computer systems design and related services industry. In 2006, about 17,000 computer software engineers were self-employed (2).

Employment Outlook

Career outlook for software engineering graduates varies widely by degree, field, and position. Employment of computer software engineers is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions from 2006 to 2016, increasing by 38% and adding 324,000 new jobs (2). Computer software engineers with less than 1 year experience earn annual salaries between $51,180 and $73,103 (3).


Software engineering is a large field and students can choose from a variety of specializations to enter many different career paths. Software engineering specialties include computer applications, computer systems, networking software, enterprise software technologies, software systems engineering, business, applied software engineering, Java programming, C++ programming, business management, intelligence, project management, design, management, quality and testing, web engineering, real-time, and human-computer interaction. Students who are interested in a specific specialty should choose a school that offers a strong program in that particular area.

What to Expect

Many postsecondary institutions offer software engineering degree programs at all educational levels. Most software engineers begin their career with at least a bachelor degree specializing a certain area. Undergraduate degree programs require general education courses in areas such as English, mathematics, science, humanities, and composition. Bachelor software engineering degrees strongly focus on science and mathematics and introduce the basics of software engineering. Courses typically include software engineering principles and techniques, software safety, programming languages, software design and testing, and network systems operation. Master degrees build on the solid software engineering foundation and prepare graduates for higher level management positions. Doctorate degrees in software engineering extensively focus on research and prepare graduates for research and teaching positions.

The End Result

An online undergraduate degree in software engineering provides graduates with an abundance of career opportunities in a variety of fields. Students who choose to pursue graduate degrees will be able to smoothly transition into higher paying positions in many different areas. Careers of software engineering graduates include:

Computer Applications Software Engineer
Computer Systems Software Engineer
Sales Engineer
Computer and Information Systems Manager
Video Game Designer
Chief Technology Officer
User Interface Designer
Healthcare Systems Analyst
Systems Engineer
Database Engineer
Project Manager
Software Developer
Web Developer
Network Engineer

A career in software engineering will be rewarding for individuals who enjoy developing and programming computer systems and software. Software engineering professionals analyze and solve problems in a variety of areas. They work with many different professionals and clients and apply their knowledge and expertise to many different career fields.

(1) SOURCE: U.S. National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics
(2) SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008-2009 Edition
(3) SOURCE:, Salary Survey Report