The massive growth and impact of computers and information technology on our lives generates a constant need to design new computer software systems and to devise new technologies to handle the ever growing list of applications across the world. Much of this work is handled by a skilled software engineer.
The roles of a computer software engineer tends to change fast; this reflects how quickly new technologies come to market and are embraced by industry and consumers.
Computer software engineers are relied upon to apply the techniques and principles of computer science, mathematical analysis and engineering to how software and computer systems are designed, tested, developed and evaluated.
Software engineers are frequently deeply involved in the development and design of all types of software; this can include operating system software, network distribution, compilers and more.
The role of software engineer is absolutely critical to the functioning of our society today. A great way to become a software engineer and enjoy a great career is to earn your master’s in software engineering. Upon graduation, you can work in jobs such as:
- Software developer: These are the creative minds behind all of the computer programs we use every day. Some developers will come up with the applications that allow users to do certain tasks on a computer, cell phone or laptop. Others may work on developing the systems that run computers and devices, or possibly control the networks that we use to communicate with one another with our devices. Many software developers are in charge of the whole development process for a specific application or software program. Developers usually are working closely with programmers, who they generally supervise.
- Computer and information systems manager: These technical workers may be called information technology managers. They are responsible for the planning, coordinating and directing of all computer related jobs in a department or company. They help to determine what the IT goals are for a company, and must then design computer systems or software to meet the goals.
- Computer systems analysts: These IT professionals analyze the computer systems and software systems that a company is using, and then designs new software and IT solutions to help the company to operate in a more efficient fashion. The main role of this job is to bring business and IT together and help each side to understand each other, and how to work together for company goals.
Why Earn a Master’s Degree in Software Engineering?
The biggest reason that many people choose to work as software engineers is that there is a very large and growing demand in this field. This is only going to get bigger as the years go by and technology becomes more advanced.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reflects these facts in its data: The government agency reports that the employment of all computer, IT and software professionals will grow by 12% by 20224. All of these occupations will add at least 488,000 new jobs in that time.
Specifically, employment for software developers and software engineers will rise by 17% by 2024. In particular, it is anticipated that the health and medical insurance industries will see blossoming demand for software developers.
Earning a master’s degree in software engineering is challenging, and you can expect tough admissions requirements. For example, San Jose State University has these requirements:
- Bachelor’s degree in a technical field
- GPA of 3.0 or higher is recommended
- GRE test scores of at least 294 on quantitative + verbal, and 3.0 or higher on analytical writing
- Writing sample
Curriculum and Courses
Carnegie Mellon University offers a Master of Science in Software Engineering. It is a unique program that is located at the university’s campus located in Silicon Valley. This program stresses a highly rigorous foundation in the most important software engineering principles.
Students will develop a very high level of understanding and the skills that are needed to become a software architect and project leader for building advanced software systems. This program has a deep understanding of software engineering principles and practice, combined with an application of complex computer software system challenges that have been drawn from the real world.
Your required courses in this two year program include:
- Foundations of Software Engineering
- Software Architecture
- Service Oriented Computing
- Software Requirements and Interaction Design
- Software Verification and Validation
- Mobile Security
- Analytical Performance Modeling
- Statistical Discovery and Learning
- Mobile Hardware for Software Engineers
Career Outcomes and Job Titles
Your possible job titles with a master’s in software engineering include:
- Junior software engineer
- Senior software engineer
- Software architect
- Application architect
- Software designer
- Software engineer
- Software manager
Job and Salary Outlook
- Software Developer — This professional will see 17% job demand increase by 2024. Part of this demand will be driven by a strong need for new applications on mobile devices and tablets. Systems developers are seeing more demand because of a great increase in the number of consumer devices that use software. Also, there is much more threat to computer software security today, so this is also driving more demand. The median salary is $98,000 per year.
- Computer Systems Analyst — This computer professional will see a 21% increase in job demand by 2024, which is much faster than average. With all organizations in the economy needing more information technology in their operations, there will be many more analysts being hired to install new software and new hardware systems. Expect to be working on many projects at once, especially in smaller and medium sized companies. Also expect to see strong job growth in the healthcare sector. Median salary in this field is $85,000 per year.
- Computer and Information Research Scientist — This field will see 11% job growth by 2024, which is faster than average. There is fast growth in data collection by companies in all sectors, so it is believed that there will be more need for research for new types of computer systems and software. Also, expect more job growth in the cybersecurity software industry. The median salary in this field is $110,000 per year.
Scholarships and Grants
You can get help with your master’s degree tuition with the following scholarships:
- Iowa State University: This university offers several master’s programs in software engineering, and several scholarships as well for both bachelor’s and master’s students. There are a number of scholarships available for women who are entering technical professions, too.
- Society of Women Engineers: Are you a woman interested in software engineering? This organization offers several scholarships.
Find out more about the software engineering profession with these organizations:
- The IEEE Computer Society Technical Council on Software Engineering: This group strongly encourages the application of new engineering methods and principles to advance the development of new computer software. This organization sponsors several conferences per year, including the International Conference on Software Engineering. The IEEE generally advances technology advancement for all technology professions.
- Software Engineering Institute: This organization for more than 30 years has helped government and industry organizations to develop, acquire, and sustain advanced software systems. The focus is on developing systems that are innovative, affordable, and stand the test of time. This organization is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center, which is sponsored by the US Department of Defense.