Software engineers are responsible for creating the programs and applications that help computers run efficiently. An online software engineering masters degree prepares students for careers in software development by building upon the concepts taught during the bachelor’s degree program. Students will take advanced classes in software design, computer architecture, hardware, application integration, and business. Students will also get hands-on experience in studio classes, which will help them develop their professional portfolios.

Why a Master’s Degree?

Although most software engineering positions only require candidates to hold bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees can improve job prospects. They can also help employees advance into supervisory or management positions. In addition, master’s degrees are a good way to boost students’ academic achievements, which can help them apply for doctoral programs. Both master’s and doctorates can help students establish careers in postsecondary teaching or research as well.

Getting Into a Master’s Degree Program

Requirements for admission into online software engineering master’s programs vary according to individual schools. However, it is typical for candidates to have the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree in an IT field.
  • IT work experience.
  • Recommendation letters.
  • Letter of intent.

Inside a Software Engineering Master’s Degree Program

Master’s degree programs expect students to know how to use a computer and design software. They build upon those skills by offering advanced classes in software development management and software artifact analysis. Specific required classes may include systems engineering, open source software, software processes, and computer science. Students will also take classes in finance, negotiation, and statistics. Finally, many programs will also require students to participate in software development studios or internships.

A typical master’s degree program will take between two and three years to complete. Before graduating, students will be expected to develop a portfolio. They may also be asked to complete a capstone project in software development. All course work will be completed over the Internet and submitted through an online portal. Students may want to consider finding internships or practicums in software development, which will help improve their chances of finding a job after graduation.

What’s Next for Software Engineering Master’s Degree Holders?

After graduating, students can become software developers, a position that brings in around $990,530 annually, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports. The job outlook is good, with growth projected at 30% by 2020. As an alternative, students can also become postsecondary teachers, a position that averages $60,050 annually, according to the BLS. The field is growing about as a quick as the average career and is expected to expand by 17% by 2020. However, keep in mind that salaries and job prospects may vary by location and experience.

Students who wish to continue their education can apply for doctoral degree programs. They can also look into getting certified in different software or operating systems. Doing so can help them become software specialists, which will make them more marketable for career advancement.