Software engineering is a subcategory of computer engineering and computer science. At its core, software engineering focuses on programming codes for various applications. Thanks to the emergence of computers in the late 20th century, there has always been a continuous need for software engineers. Especially as our lives are so intertwined with technology today, software engineers are always in high demand.
Between 2012 and 2022, an estimated 220,000 software development positions will be created nationally. Software engineers will not just be sitting behind a desk every day but must also work with other industry leaders to improve technology outcomes. Because of the high demand for this position, software engineers can work in a variety of fields.
What type of degree in Software Engineering should you get?
An online Software Engineering degree is the most flexible degree for working adults who may not have time for a traditional on-campus degree. Most of these degrees can be completed 100 percent online with sometimes the option of choosing hybrid courses. The amount per credit-hour is often usually cheaper, making online courses the more affordable option.
Check out College Choice’s list of the Most Affordable Online Colleges regardless of degree.
The most common specializations within the Software Engineering field include software design and development, software engineering configuration management, application development, and information security. Students interested in pursuing a specific area should check to see if the program offers these focuses.
How much money do people make with a degree in Software Engineering?
According to PayScale, the average salary for a software engineer is $82,749 or about $33.95 per hour regardless of degree. The average salary of those who hold a BS in Software Engineering is $74,000. People with several years of experience can easily make over $100,000. Although a master’s may not be necessary for advancement in career, the average salary of those who hold an MS in this degree is $99,000.
Companies that tend to pay software engineers the most include Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft. However, graduates should not just look at big corporations to find jobs – startups also can pay big bucks for talented software engineers.
What can you do with a degree in Software Engineering?
Because jobs within Software Engineering is expected to experience a growth of about 20 percent within the next several years, those with this major will be able to find several jobs. Some of the major career paths of a software engineer include applications, systems, or web development. These engineers find themselves working not only in large tech corporations, but also for the government and small startups.
A software engineer will utilize programming and computing theory in order to produce better outcomes for businesses and society. Some engineers may also advance to the management side where they will merge both technical and business skills in their everyday job. Therefore, a software engineer must have great communication, critical thinking, and decision-making skills in addition to the technical skills required.
What are the requirements for a degree in Software Engineering?
Strong applicants will have a high school diploma with a strong GPA, preferably above a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Many schools also have minimum SAT and ACT scores, with emphasis on the math or science section. While not technically required, taking advanced math and science courses in high school will also improve one’s chances of admission. For the programs that only offer upper division courses, an associates degree in Software Engineering or related field will be required for admission.
What are the most affordable online Software Engineering degrees?
Below is College Choice’s top 10 picks for the Most Affordable Online Software Engineering degrees. These schools were chosen based on a variety of data from sources such as the U.S. News & World Report, PayScale, the National Center for Education Statistics’ IPEDS database, and individual college websites.
See our rankings methodology page.
Eastern Florida State College
Average Net Price: $5,344
Eastern Florida State College is a four-year public institution of higher education that began as a junior college in 1960. From its beginning, Eastern Florida has always supported diversity and inclusion, providing educational opportunities to African-Americans in the early 60s. Today over 15,000 students are enrolled among its four campuses: Cocoa, Melbourne, Palm Bay, and Titusville. Eastern Florida also offers online programs through eLearning. The school is proud to be an affordable institution, offering no tuition hikes for the past seven years.
Eastern Florida’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Program Development/Software Development is a specialized degree where students learn to solve general computer software application issues.
- Advising during orientation
- Financial aid available
- Sample Courses: Internet Programming, Application Development for Mobile Devices, Database Design/Architecture
This program is designed for people who hold an associates degree either in the sciences or arts.
Brigham Young University - Idaho
Average Net Price: $8,624
Brigham Young University – Idaho is a private university associated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At BYUI, students not only receive an education that prepares them for leadership in their individual careers, but also strengthen their knowledge and commitment to their faith. Over 15,000 students are enrolled in BYUI’s online programs. The institution offers 11 online bachelor’s degrees, and over 350 online courses.
At BYUI, students can learn industry standard approaches to design and development of complex computer systems through its online BS in Software Engineering.
- 1-4 credit-hour internship available
- $167 per credit-hour
- Sample Courses: Data Structures, Fundamentals of Digital Designs, Human-Computer Interaction
Some possible careers upon graduation include software development, computer systems design, or a software engineer.
Western Governors University
Average Net Price: $8,667
Western Governors University was founded in 1997 when a group of US governors wanted to create a new institute of higher learning for the 21st century. As a technology-focused university, the school immediately implemented new methods of learning other than the traditional lecture. At WGU, students always come first and receive excellent support and teaching. Every year, over $750,000 worth of scholarships are available to support students in their future.
WGU’s online BS in Software Development degree teaches programming fundamentals through its two tracks: Java or C#.
- Completion Time: ½ to 2 years
- Accepts transfer credits
- $3,190 tuition per 6-month term
While a C# track may be ideal for those who wish to work in big tech centers, Java is an important programming language that is utilized by many devices.
Average Net Price: $8,727
Bellevue University has its roots serving the country’s active forces when the city of Bellevue, Nebraska was home to the Offutt Air Force Base. Since then, the university has grown to accommodate over 13,000 students on-campus and online. In 2014, the U.S. News & World Report ranked Bellevue as having the #18 best Top Online Education Program in the nation.
The online bachelor’s in Software Development degree at Bellevue is for students who wish to enter into the busy tech industry within a variety of fields.
- 36 major credit-hours
- $415 per credit-hour
- Sample Courses: Information Security, Intermediate Database and Database Connectivity, Java Programming
The school offers over 80 degrees, preparing students for the demands of their future careers.
University of Maryland University College
Average Net Price: $12,429
With over 70 years of providing adults with a quality online education, the University of Maryland University College is an online university with over 90 programs. In fact, UMUC was one of the first schools in the nation to offer bachelor’s degrees entirely online. Through its distance learning, students can obtain their degree at an affordable price. Every year UMUC awards over $8 million in scholarships.
Through UMUC’s online BS in Software Development and Security degree, students learn programming language and how technology is implemented in government practices.
- Ability to transfer up to 90 credit-hours
- Hybrid courses available
- Sample Courses: Secure Programming in the Cloud, Software Security Testing, Introductory Programming
Potential careers upon graduating from this program include security management, penetration testing, security, and code auditing.
Average Net Price: $12,825
Grantham University is an online university that was founded by WWII Veteran Donald Grantham in 1951. Grantham’s mission is to serve various non-traditional populations that wish to advance in their careers. The university currently offers more than 50 degree and certificate programs, with its Software Engineering degree offered through the College of Engineering and Computer Science.
Grantham’s online BS in Computer Engineering Technology degree prepares students for entry-level positions within computer science or engineering tech fields.
- 126 credit-hours
- Completion Time: 38 months
- $265 per credit-hour
The most common field graduates were employed in following this program was in electronics engineering.
Arizona State University-Downtown Phoenix
Average Net Price: $13,175
Ranked as the nation’s #1 most innovative school, Arizona State University was founded in 1886. What began as a small school became a major research institution with multiple awards for its excellent faculty, programs, and outstanding research. Today ASU is among the top 1 percent of the world’s most prestigious universities according to the Times Higher Education. It is also an affordable school, with the Princeton Review calling ASU the “Best Bang for Tuition Buck.”
ASU’s online BS in Software Engineering degree is a flexible program whose curriculum is based on the idea of learning-by-doing.
- 7.5-week courses
- 45+ engineering student organizations and student professional societies
- Sample Courses: Discrete Mathematical Structures, Principles of Database Management, Mobile Systems
According to the U.S. News & World Report, the undergraduate programs at ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering are ranked in the top 25 percent of its kind in the nation.
American InterContinental University
Average Net Price: $13,366
American InterContinental University is a primarily online school with its main campuses located in Houston and Atlanta. At AIU, students have access 24/7 to their school work on their own computer or mobile devices. Founded in Europe in 1970, the university began with the goal of providing higher education while transcending the traditional in-class curriculum. AIU began operating in the US in 2000. In 2017, the U.S. News & World Report ranked AIU’s online bachelor’s degrees among the best.
An online degree in a BS in Information Technology with a specialization in Software Analysis and Development at AIU poses both creative and analytical challenges.
- 180 credit-hours
- Full and part-time option
- Sample Courses: Human/Computer Interfaces and Interactions, Data Structures and Implementation, E-commerce Development
There are many ways to save money at AIUNIV, including receiving scholarships and grants or using transfer or prior learning credit.
Colorado Technical University
Average Net Price: $14,724
Colorado Technical University was founded in 1965 when an Air Force Lt. Colonel wanted to help Veterans with their transition following their service. Since then, CTU has been committed to a variety of learners such as the military, international, and online students. Since 1995 CTU has had its online school that offers career-focused programs primarily to adult learners. The university was the “Best of 2015 Winner” according to Elearning.
Through CTU’s online BS in Information Technology – Software Systems Engineering, students can choose which programming track they would like to specialize.
- 184 credit-hours
- Tracks: Java, C#, Visual Basic
- CTU Fast Track exam program where students can earn credit from prior knowledge
This program was recently ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by the U.S. News and World Report for the fourth year in a row.
Kennesaw State University
Average Net Price: $17,493
Kennesaw State University is a leading public research institution with more than 35,000 students. KSU is a member of the University System of Georgia and is the third-largest school in the state. It is known for its growing research, with its funding exceeding over $51 million over the past five years. In 2018 the U.S. News & World Report ranked KSU the #13 school in the national for admission yield rates.
KSU’s online BAS in Information Technology is for experienced students who wish to apply for managerial positions within the future.
- Ability to transfer as many as 28 credit-hours
- Hybrid courses available
- Sample Courses: Programming Principles, Foundations of Health Information Technology, Advanced Database
In 2016, PayScale recognized KSU as a Best Value School according to their ROI report.