Online software engineering certificate programs are a good way to set a foundation for future careers in software development or computer engineering. Students can use these programs to learn about computers, hardware, and networking, which will form a good basis for programming and software creation. They will also take classes in software development, mobile applications, and operating systems. In addition, the best online software engineering certificate programs will also provide classes in business and communications, which will help students be successful and well-rounded.

Types of Software Engineering Certificates

Vocational Certificate

The vocational certificate’s curriculum consists of classes that introduce students to software engineering. The objective is to prepare students to meet the requirements for their future careers in a program that is shorter and cheaper than degree programs. While these programs may not give students what they need to become managers in the field, they will help them get started in software development. Classes include software design, algorithms and data structures, and basic business classes. Exact requirements for admission vary, but generally include the following:

  • High school diploma or equivalent.
  • IT experience.

All software engineering takes place on a computer, so students should have no trouble completing and submitting their course work over the Internet. The program’s projects usually include developing a portfolio and designing software for specific operating systems. Students will also take exams and quizzes, which will show their instructors that they have a solid grasp of programming concepts.

Pre-Master’s Certificate

After earning a bachelor’s degree, students may want to consider a pre-master’s certificate. These programs are structured to build off of the basic concepts learned during undergraduate studies and include in depth study on computer architecture and software design. They can also serve as good tools for improving academic achievement before embarking on a master’s degree program. As with vocational certificates, admission into pre-master’s certificate programs will depend upon a variety of factors. However, schools typically seek candidates that have the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field.
  • IT experience.
  • GPA of 2.0 or higher.

Once enrolled, students will complete all course work over the Internet. The program can take between six months and one year to complete, depending on how many classes the student chooses to take per term. A background in computer science is essential for success.

Software Certification

Students who want to specialize their knowledge can also consider getting certificate in different software or operating systems. Doing so can make them more marketable within their careers and can also help them advanced into higher-level positions. Programs are offered in areas like A+, Linux, Microsoft Office, and Windows. Students will take classes about each individual area and become experts in utilizing the technology. Before enrolling, they typically need to have the following:

  • High school diploma or equivalent.
  • IT experience.

Rather than spanning multiple terms, software certificate programs usually take place over a few weeks. Although the program itself can be completed over the Internet, students will need to find a testing location to sit for the certification exam. Before enrolling, check your local area to see if you can find a place where your exam can be taken under the supervision of a proctor.

What’s Next for Certificate Holders?

Upon earning a certificate, students can become software developers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, software developers earn approximately $90,530 annually. The field is growing faster than the average career, with growth projected at 30% by 2020. A bachelor’s degree is necessary for employment, but having additional certificates or certifications can help students qualify for positions.

Students who wish to have even more higher education can enroll in master’s degree programs or post-master’s certificate programs. These will open up postsecondary teaching positions and can also help students qualify for doctoral degree programs. In addition, earning advanced education can also help students become supervisors and managers.