Engineering is a diverse field that spreads through many different disciplines. Software engineering is one of the newest of these disciplines. While still based in the basic engineering tenants of conception, creation, and maintenance, software engineering focuses on building computer systems and applications. Software engineering isn’t for everyone, but many people find it to be a very rewarding career path. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of a software engineering degree.
Pro: Software engineering jobs are extremely diverse.
Don’t think that getting a degree in software engineering means you’re going to be sitting behind the same desk writing the same line of code to develop computer systems for department stores. There are tons of different opportunities. Most software engineers work with computer systems or computer applications, but it’s much broader than that—you can create Facebook and smartphone apps, develop security protocols for the government, help maintain different games, or manage the people working on those projects. If you have real talent for software engineering, your options are wide open.
Con: There's no leaving your work at the office.
While the goal of many software engineering programs is to produce professionals who can stay afloat as technology, code, and computers evolve, you have to work to get that knowledge. Software engineering pays well and the market is booming, but you have to keep learning to make yourself a hot commodity. You have to know several different programming languages—and if you don’t know it and need it for a project, you’re going to have to learn. Additionally, many companies ask long hours of their engineers, especially with an upcoming deadline or big customer. Be prepared to put in a lot of work, in a lot of different ways.
Pro: You have options for your education.
While getting a bachelor’s degree in software engineering and then heading out into the job market might be a great option for a lot of people, college isn’t for everyone. One of the great things about software engineering is that some schools offer alternative ways to get your degree. Schools like Holbertson School offer a project-based degree method. This lets you hit the job market with a lot practical application, rather than just book knowledge. But wait, there’s more! Many people are under the assumption that software engineering takes a genius who has doctorates in computer science to back up their engineering masters degree. Not so—programming, one of the specialties within software engineering, has a lot of people who are self-taught. Unfortunately, as more people get their degree, companies are beginning cracking down on their hiring requirements.
Con: You might need that master’s degree.
On the bright side, software engineering has one of the highest paying base salaries, and it keeps rising. On the down side, that’s really appealing to a lot of people. While there’s a huge job market, you have to have something that sets you apart from the other candidates for the really good jobs and the ability to advance within those companies. That means you may need to be thinking about getting a master’s or even a doctorate. Ultimately, no amount of education can help you if you don’t have the talent. Anyone can program. Not just anyone can create world-changing applications.