Students who enjoy computer science and information technology may want to consider a software engineering associate degree. These degrees are also recommended for students who enjoy analytical thinking and computer programming, as they will teach students how to use computers to create programs and applications. While enrolled, students will take classes in programming languages, database management, and software. After graduating, they can become software developers or computer engineers.

Why an Associate Degree?

An associate degree is a good first step toward a career in computer science. Although most software engineering positions require a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree can give students the foundational skills required by the field. They help them get hands-on experience in working with software and hardware as well. Associate degrees can also help students find internships and practicums in software development, which will make them into more marketable employees and bachelor’s degree applicants.

Getting Into an Associate Degree Program

Exact requirements for admission into software engineering online degree programs vary. However, they typically require the following of applicants:

  • High school diploma of equivalent.
  • IT experience.

Inside a Software Engineering Associate Degree Program

Associate degree programs teach students how to design computer programs. They also show students how to develop software updates, create mobile applications, and develop maintenance strategies. In particular, students will take classes like C++ programming, Java programming, database management, and SQL.

In addition to major-specific course work, students will take general courses like psychology, communications, science, and mathematics. They will also learn how to communicate on a professional level. Completing all course work will take around two years, depending on whether students attend on a part-time or full-time basis.

What’s Next for Software Engineering Degree Holders?

Students who graduate from associate degree programs in software engineering may want to consider pursuing a bachelor’s degree. This will increase job prospects. It will also open up further degree levels, like master’s degrees, which will allow them to work in academia. Students can then go on to become postsecondary teachers or researchers.

After earning a bachelor’s degree, students can go on to become software developers or computer engineers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that software developers earn approximately $90,530 annually. The field is growing rapidly, with growth projected at 30% by 2020. The BLS also reports that computer engineers earn around $98,810 annually. However, as with all positions, salaries will vary by experience, education, and location.