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Online Master’s Degree in Software Engineering Programs

Is it possible to launch a breakout app without earning an online masters degree in software engineering? Or any other seeming hard work? We all know the stories of young ...

Is it possible to launch a breakout app without earning an online masters degree in software engineering? Or any other seeming hard work? We all know the stories of young software-developing wunderkinds who burst onto the scene with their billion dollar apps they dreamed up while playing PS4 in their friends’ garage. Truth is, though, these only work as eye-catching stories because they’re so exceptional—if not just plain urban legend. For the regular person, catching lightning in a bottle isn’t a legitimate career strategy. This kind of mad money isn’t really a thing; you’ve just got to grow and improve your skills, slow and steady. But how?

Lucky for you, there are potential career enhancement tools available... such as earning an online masters degree in software engineering! There are many different reasons to pursue a masters in engineering, and if you already love software engineering (you know you do), they may well apply to you. Let’s explore some of those right now.

Reason #1 – We All Want to Climb the Career Ladder

But the possibility of earning a paycheck isn’t the only reason to pursue a master’s degree in software engineering. With technology powering virtually every item in our household, workplace, and most points in between, the software engineering field arguably isn’t disappearing any time soon, by the looks of it. The main reason for the rapid growth in both applications developers and systems developers is a large increase in the demand for computer software, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The need for new applications on mobile devices and tablets will help increase the demand for application software developers specifically. 

In fact, applications software developers will see a 19% change in employment from 2014 to 2024 as projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  For systems software developers this number is 13%. Put yet another way, employment of software developers as a whole is projected to grow 17% from 2014 to 2024, which is considered much faster than the average for all occupations.  For comparison, let’s use a frame of reference: A public relations specialist or a high school teacher  can expect a job growth of 6%, which is as fast as average for all jobs, while a police officer or a detective can expect a job growth of 4%, which is considered slower than the average among all occupations. 

And graduate degrees also may help you branch out from a traditional software development career and stand out among the swarm of competition. While a bachelor’s degree is typically the most common requirement for getting entry-level jobs in software engineering, employer’s may actually prefer a master’s degree for certain positions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  So that’s another thing to keep in mind when thinking about whether or not to earn that degree.

In fact, the New York Times recently ran an article calling the master’s degree “the new bachelor’s degree.” In the article, David King, dean of graduate studies and research at the State University of New York at Oswego, and director of the professional science master’s program, said, “There are several million job vacancies in the country right now, but they don’t line up with skills.” Each master’s degree, “is developed with advisers from the very companies where students may someday work. We are bringing the curriculum to the market, instead of expecting the market to come to us,” King says. So you may just want to earn that degree to keep up with the times! Now let’s move on to the next reason. . . .

Reason #2 – You Get to Learn New Things

You’re likely wondering, “What kind of classes will I have to take to get a Master of Science in Engineering?” Every program varies so check with the school, but certain basic coursework awaits you in a typical software engineering master’s program. Some topics you will likely encounter include the following, or variations on them:

  • The fundamental and theoretical concepts of software engineering
  • Concept and designs of engineering
  • Software architecture
  • Leadership & software project management
  • Testing and debugging
  • Development processes
  • Networking
  • Intro to databases
  • Mathematics for computing

You may need to know certain programming languages depending on the type of software development you hope to work on. You may already know JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. But you may need to learn more advanced languages such as C, C++, Ruby on Rails, Python, or Objective C.

Reason #3 – Drop Some Knowledge (and Research)

Another potentially interesting part of earning your master’s degree is the capstone project. The capstone project, or thesis, is a critical element of many master’s degree programs in software engineering. It serves as an opportunity to tackle real-life software challenges with your best ideas. It gives you a chance to innovate while you develop and showcase your wide range of problem-solving and technical skills. This can also help prepare you for all the professional troubleshooting you may likely experience on the software engineering road ahead.

While the master’s degree in software engineering focuses more on hands-on relevant experience and cool team projects, there will certainly be a substantial measure of learning and research as well. Software engineering students who are interested in learning more and doing research may even want to consider pursuing a doctorate program afterward. (this is just in case you want to put a link here to doctorate eLearners page)

Reason #4 – You Need to Make Some Money

We all need to pay our monthly bills. Ideally we would like to put a little savings in the bank. Let’s be honest. That’s why we all get up every day and throw ourselves into the rat race.

And speaking of earning money, the median salary for a software engineer was $100,690 in 2015 according to the United States Bureau of Labor of Statistics.  Meanwhile, the average American male made about half that in the same year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: The median earnings of men working full time, year-round was $51,212, while for women who worked full time, year-round the median earnings were $40,742. 

Therefore, software engineers earned a higher salary than the average American in 2015, which might be a solid reason in and of itself to consider pursuing a degree in the field, although there are no guarantees.

So how do I get into an online masters program in engineering?

Some masters programs will allow you to enroll straight out of school; others require real-world experience. It depends on the program’s emphasis and its requirements; so check with the schools you are interested in by following the sponsored links on this page. If you’d like to pursue a career in software engineering and be matched with a master’s program that might be perfect according to your goals and level of experience, what better time than now to start the next phase of your life?

Take the Next Step

Use this website to search for an online degree in software engineering that is a perfect fit for you. Click the button to Request Information today. And get your education back on track.


[i]bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm#tab-6 [ii]bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm#tab-6 [iii] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm#tab-6 [iv] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm#tab-6 [v] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm#tab-6 [vi] bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/public-relations-specialists.htm [vii]bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm [viii] bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/police-and-detectives.htm#tab-6 [ix] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm#tab-4 [x] bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm [xi]census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2016/cb16-158.html