Software Developer: Educational Requirements for a Computer Software Engineer
Computer software engineers apply mathematic and scientific principles to the design and development of software systems and applications. The minimum educational requirement is a bachelor's degree and certification may be necessary.
Educational Requirements for a Computer Software Engineer
Most computer software engineering jobs require a bachelor's degree. These programs have significant math requirements that include a sequence in calculus plus courses in differential equations and linear algebra. A sequence in physics is also required. Students typically complete these requirements in the first two years of a program.
The engineering tracks of these programs teach students how to construct, analyze and maintain software through lectures and laboratory sessions. Programs include topics in computer programming, operating systems and networks. In many programs, the capstone requirement is a senior design project that allows students to apply the principles they've learned to an original concept. Students may also take part in cooperative internships to gain experience as part of an engineering program.
Computer software engineering students may want to consider programs that are accredited by ABET, Inc., formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. According to ABET, graduate schools, employers and certification boards may require that applicants hold degrees from accredited programs (www.abet.org).
Software engineers do not have professional licensing requirements but may need certifications. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), certifications demonstrate competency and some firms may require certification in their products before an individual can work with them (www.bls.gov). One possible option is certification from the Computer Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, which offers software development credentials for beginning and experienced software engineers.
Computer software engineers often work in one of two major areas: systems or applications. Engineers working in the systems sector develop operating systems for computers. Those who work in the applications sector design computer programs and modify existing programs to perform specific tasks. Each sector requires engineers to be knowledgeable in development software such as C, C++ and Java.
According to the BLS, computer software engineers will see an employment growth of 32% from 2008-2018. The employment increase was due to the growing use of computer technology and the need to replace workers who are either advancing or leaving the profession.
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