Software engineering positions require practitioners who are nimble, thorough, and technically gifted. These skills are essential for keeping pace with the rapid pace of technological change and changing customer expectations. Today’s innovations become tomorrow’s givens, leading to consistent demand for forward-thinking engineers.
Employers are looking for the next generation of software engineering experts. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 22% growth in software jobs by 2030 with a median salary of $110,140 as of May 2020. This is where a Masters in Computer Science Online program can help, imparting the in-demand skills of the present with the vision to solve future challenges.
Software Engineering and Technology Sector Challenges
Engineers of all kinds are problem solvers by nature. They need to know the scope and shape of the task at hand before creating a solution. Planning your software engineering career requires a similar focus on the challenges facing the industry and sector.
The concept of application lifecycle management (ALM) shows potential challenges for engineers. Every software application adheres to the following process:
- Defining requirements
- Product development
- Testing and quality assurance
- Continuous maintenance and improvement
Software engineering professionals must be successful at every step. Unclear communications on requirements or inadequate integrations with other systems can lead a project to fall below expectations. An engineering mindset takes none of these steps for granted and solves new problems as they arise.
Frequent changes in user needs and hardware capacity can push software projects away from their original goals. Engineers who complete a Masters of Computer Science Online maintain balance in their work with rigorous processes. This innovation-minded degree trains students to incorporate feedback and industry trends without sacrificing quality.
The software industry is not the only career employer of experienced engineers. Tech-focused businesses covering areas from healthcare to transportation need engineers to develop in-house software. No matter the industry, software experts in the technology sector face challenges like:
- Coordinating with distributed workforces
- Protecting data security across different user types
- Developing resiliency against sudden changes
- Sourcing skilled personnel in a competitive market
A Masters of Computer Science Online provides advanced lessons in a collaborative environment. Faculty members encourage students to use course learnings and their professional experiences to answer real-world questions in virtual classes. Solving challenges specific to the technology sector becomes easier when you’ve already done this type of work in an online setting.
Skills Needed for Software Engineering Careers
The elevated demand for software engineers means that applicants need dynamic skill sets to stand out. A blend of interpersonal - or soft - skills and technical talents shows an engineer’s readiness for the modern workplace. The Software Engineering track of a graduate-level computer science program helps to develop the in-demand skills sought by employers.
Soft Skills for Software Engineers
The success of any software project depends on team members engaging in effective collaboration. Engineers oversee the entire lifecycle from specifications to software maintenance. The following soft skills are essential to involving stakeholders at every step:
- Clear communication
- Time management
- Emotional intelligence
Experiences in the workplace and the classroom help shape soft skills over time. Collaborations during Masters in Computer Science Online courses emphasize people-centered innovations in software. Every software engineering project builds off this foundation and presents growth opportunities.
In-Demand Technical Skills
Software engineers generally need to know how to program, document, and test their work. The specific technical skills required for engineering jobs shift with new advances and user needs. We can use Hired’s 2021 State of Software Engineers report as an indicator of what skills are needed by today’s employers.
This report reviewed software engineering job listings and found the skills most frequently mentioned as requirements. Engineers with the following skills were likely to stand apart from the competition:
- Google Cloud
- Amazon Web Services
- Continuous Integration
Software Engineering Specialization
The term software engineering encompasses a range of roles for practitioners. The 2021 State of Software Engineers placed the demand for specialized roles in context. Job listings showed the highest demand was for these specializations:
- Full Stack
Engineers should keep these coveted specializations in mind when pursuing their graduate degrees. Coursework and guided research related to these roles can open doors to lucrative positions after graduation.
The Future of Software Engineering
Open University Professor John Naughton offered a vision for the profession’s future in a 2020 essay. Naughton argued that software engineers need to find greater efficiency in programming because physical hardware can’t be made much smaller. He concludes that:
“Either we moderate our ambitions or we go back to writing leaner, more efficient code. In other words, back to the future.”
In this sense, engineers need to think about the ‘how’ of their work as they move into the future.
The future of technology also challenges software experts to think about the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of their profession.
How Software Solves Global Problems
The most likely technologies to change our lives in the future will need software to operate. NTT produced a report looking ahead to the most likely candidates for disruptive technologies. This study concluded that the following trends will hold our attention in 2021 and beyond:
- All-photonics networks
- Cognitive foundation technology
- Digital twin computing
- Robotics process automation
- Quantum and edge computing
Software engineers surveyed by Hired highlighted global problems they want to fix through their work. The most popular responses show the potential for software engineering to improve the world:
- Economic opportunity and employment
- Public health
- Global warming
Best practices for software engineers include asking questions and creating models to solve problems. Every engineer needs to shift their view between the present and the future as they design durable solutions. A graduate degree in computer science from a top university can help you achieve this balance.
Advancing Software Engineering Careers at Baylor
Baylor University’s Online Masters in Computer Science trains students for new technological frontiers. This entirely online degree is built with industry demand and expectations in mind. Degree candidates learn how to lead projects based on ethical values and the needs of diverse audiences.
The Masters in Computer Science Online includes a Software Engineering Track that builds on a six-course core curriculum. This concentration focuses student attention on the following topics:
- Advanced Object-Oriented Development
- Advanced Software Engineering
- Distributed Systems
- Software Verification & Validation
Future leaders in the software engineering space want the best possible degree for their education dollars. U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Baylor University No 75, placing it among the Top 5% of Best National Universities in 2021. The publication ranked the school No. 82 Best Value Schools, and No. 34 Most Innovative Schools.