Software engineers oversee the development of new software programs, from the original concept to construction and product launch. This requires the ability to analyze the end user's needs, manage a timeline, and create a program within budget. The initial product blueprint must completely and accurately detail how all code is to be written.
New programs must be tested for quality assurance and thoroughly documented for both administrators and end users. Software engineers also manage upgrades and create contingency plans to follow in the event of flaws. Graduates of a master's degree in software engineering acquire the advanced skill set necessary to develop and distribute innovative software products.
Why a Master's Degree?
Software is ubiquitous; every industry relies on software at some point in its business process. While it is possible to enter the field with a bachelor’s degree in software engineering, an advanced degree provides a competitive edge in the crowded job market. Students in a master’s degree program develop the critical thinking skills necessary for excellent analysis, design, and execution of new products. Creating new products under time and budget constraints is also addressed in the program’s project management curriculum.
Master’s degree programs in software engineering are easy to find, and the subject matter lends itself well to online study. Designed for working professionals who wish to enhance career options, these programs can usually be finished in two years. Graduates of this program will be well versed in design, analysis, architecture, data storage, and verification of existing coding systems, as well as new technologies. Additional training in collaboration and group dynamics readies these graduates for management positions.
Inside a Software Engineering Master's Degree Program
Coursework in this degree program covers best practices in software engineering, design concepts, coding methodologies and new technology. Fundamental theory is always presented in conjunction with its practical application. Because the program is targeted to management professionals, classes in software law and financial best practices are also emphasized.
Classes commonly found in master’s in software engineering programs include:
- Engineering Processes
- Quality Assurance in Software
- Design, Architecture and Modeling
- Requirements and Specifications
- Configuration Management
- Construction and Testing
- Validation and Verification
- Ethical and Legal Issues in Software
Students in the best online masters in software engineering complete a capstone project. Under faculty supervision, a new software product is designed, developed and tested.
What's Next for Software Engineering Master's Degree Holders?
The explosive growth of new technology has created enormous demand for highly trained software professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), software engineers can expect a 17% increase in available jobs through 2024. These new jobs will be available in mobile technology, cybersecurity, systems development and electronic infrastructure across numerous industries, especially healthcare. In 2014, the median annual salary for these professionals was $97,990; the highest-paid engineers reported salaries of more than $140,000 per year.
The world is increasingly reliant on computers and software to function, and the full scope of software engineering has yet to be fully understood. Software engineers who are interested in cutting-edge research and product development may choose to continue their education. A Ph.D. in software engineering examines theory and principles of software and the development process. Ph.D. students perform original research in the field and share the newest technologies and processes with the industry.