A person can get a computer software degree by either attending a traditional college or university or by taking online coursework. Computer degrees range from a two-year associate’s program up to a master’s or PhD. Coursework usually falls under either a computer science degree or a computer engineering degree; both focus on software, but may have different emphases in courses. It also varies based on individual university programs. The job outlook for people with a computer software degree is expected to be strong through at least 2018, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of 2011, as the number of jobs available will outweigh the number of graduates through that time.
An associate’s computer software degree program takes two years to complete. A person is often required to demonstrate high-level skills in math, statistics, and the sciences to be considered for entry into a program. Completion of the program will often mean that the graduate has earned certification in one or more PC software forms. Graduates will also be considered advanced users in several different software applications. A two-year degree will entail knowledge of using software, but not necessarily programming. Entry-level jobs with an associate’s degree include working as a computer clerk or a technician or support specialist.
A four-year computer software degree will require much more advanced studies. Students will often learn computer algorithms and abstract concepts. Core coursework usually entails learning multiple computer programming languages in order to write or modify computer software. Students will typically learn about the most advanced systems and methods available to be competitive in the global marketplace once they graduate. Other courses include learning about the software programming process from start to finish, debugging programs, and more. Students will often demonstrate that they’ve learned their coursework through a project that involves writing their own software program or another type of project related to using software in a system management setting.
A person can also earn a computer software degree through an online course. There are several universities that are strictly online, and sometimes traditional universities will have a distance learning program as well. In this case, the student will often take coursework from home. Students will sometimes have to attend on-site courses or seminars, and exams for the coursework will often have to be proctored. A computer software degree that’s earned through an online program can often be completed in a shorter amount of time than a traditional university degree. It may not offer as broad a base of coursework as a regular college degree, however.