As one of the fastest growing professions in the United States, the software engineering field attracts people from all sorts of backgrounds and interests. If you find yourself interested in entering the software engineering field after you’ve already earned a college degree in an unrelated field, you need not worry. The majority of affordable online master’s degrees in software engineering recognize that adult learners sometimes come to the field from different areas of study and have created a structure or pathway into their program. This path can look slightly different depending on the school you choose, but most require a few additional introductory courses while some simply require work experience in the field before you are considered an official part of the masters program.
All master’s level programs require admitted students to have earned a bachelor’s degree. Students entering online master’s degree programs in Software Engineering with a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field will often be required to take several foundational courses before taking classes that count toward the actual master’s degree. While this means these extra courses will add some time and cost to your degree the foundational courses are crucial for those entering the field for the first time as they provide the basis for all the degree program’s other course requirements. Examples of foundational courses include undergraduate-level introduction to areas such as programming, computer operating systems, computer networking, database design and application, and database storage systems. Most commonly, four foundational courses are required but some programs tailor the requirements to the individual student.
Provisional Student Status
Some online master’s in software engineering programs admit students with no academic experience in computer science or related fields who have at least one year of work experience in the field as a “provisional graduate student.” A “provisional graduate student” takes the same courses as a “regular graduate student” as long as the student can demonstrate continued work in the software engineering field while in the online master’s degree program while earning high grades (usually Bs or higher) in the first few Core courses. After these requirements are met the “provisional graduate student” can move to “regular graduate student” status. The huge benefit of these programs is that there is no extra cost or time spent on additional course work while it is expected and hoped that you learn the foundations of the software field on the job. If you are a quick learner this route may work well for you.
Master’s in Software Engineering Open to Students from all Backgrounds
The best thing about online master’s degrees in software engineering for students from different academic backgrounds is that there are many in-roads and already-established pathways to quickly be on your way to becoming a software engineer with a master’s degree. All it takes is the willingness to develop basic software engineering knowledge and skills through either a few additional introductory courses or through work experience in the field itself. Either way, the knowledge and skills you gain will come in handy in your master’s level courses.