An Introduction to Software Engineering Programs
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Hale Jaeger in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
- Why a Software Engineering Background Is an Asset
- The Benefits of Hands-On Engineering Programs
- For Students Interested in Multiple Kinds of Engineering
- For Students with Interests Outside of STEM
- What Schools Are Known for Their Computer Science Programs?
Why a Software Engineering Background Is an Asset
Nearly everywhere you look, behind any website, application, smartphone, or computer, is a whole team of software engineers. As a result, the role of a software engineer is invaluable. Almost every company, workplace, and field needs software engineers, and that makes it a highly desirable job.
It’s a quickly growing profession for which there’s a great deal of demand. Engineering in general is a fairly competitive major. Looking at specific programs to see if one stands out to you—in terms of access to research and internships, senior projects, and the pedagogical approach—is necessary to ensure that it’s worthwhile. By understanding the nuances among programs, you can become more aware of the resources available to help you become a software engineer and pursue your passions.
The Benefits of Hands-On Engineering Programs
Many programs focus on working with your peers to make real impacts, which can be a selling point for many students.
The University of Connecticut, for example, has a computer science and engineering senior design project that’s required for all computer science majors. It’s a two-semester course sequence in which students work in teams to resolve real-life problems. This hands-on curriculum forces the use of teamwork to solve complicated problems. Project examples from the previous years include license plate recognition, 3D system navigation, and opioid epidemic predictive modeling.
For Students Interested in Multiple Kinds of Engineering
For students who want to specialize in their interest in computer science and combine it with another type of engineering, some schools offer joint engineering majors.
Schools commonly offer a double major or a joint degree in EECS (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science), for instance. This hardware-software union helps students learn how computers work both on the inside and the outside and can be an asset when applying for jobs after graduation.
For Students with Interests Outside of STEM
If you have interests that go beyond the normal range of subjects related to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), there are cross-discipline programs out there too.
Yale University in particular offers a “computing and the arts” major that combines music with computer science. It’s a flexible and individualized department and unites things that otherwise may seem isolated.
If you’re unsure if you should double-major, read more about whether double-majoring is worth it.
What Schools Are Known for Their Computer Science Programs?
Schools known for their computer science departments include Carnegie Mellon University; Georgia Tech; the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; and the University of Texas at Austin.
A benefit of schools known for their computer science programs is that they have deep networks of people that you could potentially tap into through mentoring, alumni, or networking events. Although this is not the only factor to consider, ensuring that a school can offer you the support and resources to excel in your field of choice can be crucial to your long-term success.
When considering if these schools would be a good fit, you can use CollegeVine’s Admissions Calculator to build a model of your chances at any of these schools based on your academic profile. This tool was created by software engineers and is a great example of what you can do with this kind of background.