What Can I Do with a Bachelor’s in Software Engineering?
With a bachelor’s in software engineering, you can be competitive for many mid-level positions in software development as well as for jobs in related fields like cyber security. There’s a good deal of variety. You can vie for positions in the business, communications, health care, or gaming industries. You can also work on embedded software projects; this type of software is used in virtually every industry, from medicine to aeronautics. Here is a look at some of your options. [Find a Bachelor's in Software Engineering program near you]
“I don’t know of software engineering graduates who haven’t had jobs when they graduate” - Dr. David Dampier, Associate Professor of Computer Science & Engineering at Mississippi State University
Software Engineer (Corporate)
Software engineering programs prepare students to do more than code. Bachelor’s educated software engineers may work at any stage of the software development life cycle. Duties can include eliciting project requirements, writing algorithms, coding, testing, deployment, or maintenance. Professionals who are new to the field often start out as programmers and work their way up to positions of greater responsibility, whether it’s as an architect or a project manager. Even at the entry level, though, employers sometimes specify that applicants should be knowledgeable of all stages.
Software engineers have different roles depending on the function of the software. They may design the user interfaces that customers interact with; they may also create automated scripts and programs that are for internal use only. Employers may be educational companies, publishers, credit unions, or even search engine giants. Companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo, and Amazon hire strong candidates at the bachelor’s level for a range of positions. Senior projects and internships give students opportunities to solve real world problems and often lead to job offers after graduation.
One shouldn’t discount the small companies, though. There can also be advantages to working for a start-up for a few years after college.
Software architects are in charge of the “big picture” – transforming a plan and a set of requirements into something that’s programmable and achievable. They are concerned primarily with the early stages of the software development cycle: requirements and design; sometimes they also do programming. A bachelor’s degree is the beginning, though it can take some years to achieve the software architect level of responsibility.
Embedded Software Engineer
Software runs the machines that we interact with on a daily basis. These range from the vending machines that dispense our coffee through the automated teller machines that give us access to our money and on up to the defense systems that our national government uses. At Toshiba Medical Research Institute, a software engineer might work on medical imaging programs. At GE, they might help create lighting systems. Raytheon and Boeing are among the best known employers of embedded software engineers. In fact, Boeing had a lot to do with the creation of the country’s oldest software engineering program (a master’s level program).
Some industries favor candidates with a sound knowledge of engineering principles. A software engineering licensing exam will become available as early as 2013; it will be an asset for some positions in embedded software.
Cyber Security Manager
Some software engineers become experts in security systems. They, too, have a crucial job. On a typical day, we entrust software with passwords, financial transactions, and personal correspondences; many of us store our personal and business documents “in the cloud” – in other words, via software. Our government also relies on security engineers to keep software from being hacked or corrupted.
Security managers may write security programs or act in an expert/ liaison role, selecting programs and educating the development team about best practices. A typical duty is writing code that checks for inputs and rejects code that doesn’t follow the typical (and accepted format).
Software engineers may also be hired by large companies to prevent other types of system abuse.
As you can see, there are many directions you can take with a bachelor’s in software engineering. Once you get started in a program additional pathways will present that will give you an idea of where you’d like to take your education and career. Check out more career paths for those with asoftware engineering or computer science background.