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Does becoming a software development professional interest you?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that software engineering will be one of the fastest-growing careers in 2016 in the United States.

College graduates in the field of software engineering are some of the most in-demand graduates in the country. Experienced graduates in this field can expect a future with great opportunities to work and advance.

What is a Software Engineer?
Software engineering is a process and practice to develop software systems. This approach to developing complex software treats the process as more of a traditional engineering process rather than just a programming problem.

Software engineering is a subset of computer science which focuses on the development of practical, affordable and efficient software systems for the needs of software users. A software engineer is concerned with computer science systems engineering and software development.

While this specialization is based on computer science and the roles are similar, these engineers are more focused on the process, design, and testing of a system.

Someone interested in the science and principles behind computer systems would be better off pursuing a computer science degree, while a student interested in the process of designing software for specific purposes may be best served by obtaining a software engineering degree.

What is the Education and Training Like?
There are associates degrees, bachelors degrees, masters degrees and even doctoral degrees available in this field.

An associates degree in software engineering is typically a two-year program that will provide the basic foundation for someone to start an entry-level job designing computer programs and software systems. Students will take a combination of technical and general education courses that will help them develop skills in communication and problem-solving that will prepare them for beginning jobs as computer programmers, database analysts, developers or web site developers. An associate’s degree will usually allow a student to transfer to another university and complete a bachelor’s degree.

Although a two-year degree or certificate is all that is required in some cases, a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a closely related field is often required for a position as a software engineer in many companies.

A bachelor’s degree program will often be interdisciplinary in that you may work with both engineering and computer science departments. Students will work on building a foundation of theory and real-world practice. Students will learn how to design and develop software, test it and maintain it.

Besides these courses, most students will be required to take advanced classes in mathematics, electrical engineering, computer science and perhaps even physics.

The goal is to develop skills that will be applicable to any type of development project the student will face in the future. Specific degree options offered at colleges may include computer science, management information systems and systems engineering.

A master’s in software engineering is a collection of classes that build further knowledge in theory, actual work and leadership for application in the real world. A MS in Software Engineering is typically a two-year degree program that allows students to continue in their current jobs. Different schools will offer different areas of specialization which may include database technology, network architecture, software engineering management and systems engineering. A masters degree is becoming the preferred degree among leaders in this field, so many engineers eventually work for it.

What is the Work Like?
Unlike what some people may think, software engineering is almost never a solitary job. Most of the work is done as part of a development team.

The process of software engineering often involves determining the goals of what a project hopes to achieve, designing an architecture capable of obtaining those goals, developing, coding and integrating the various parts of the system, and then testing, deploying and maintaining the project. Programming is just a part of the process.

Software and computer engineers may design and build systems working in cell phones, laptops, databases, network servers or a variety of other applications.

Experienced or advanced individuals may work in positions such as systems engineer, designer, lead software engineer, software engineer manager or director of software development.

It’s an exciting field to work in, with tremendous career opportunities.

So, could this be a career you might want to learn more about?

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