25 Best Online Associate Degrees in Software Engineering

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Earning an online associate degree in software engineering can help you enter the in-demand, profitable field of computers and information technology.

Associate Degrees in Software Engineering

You will learn to think systematically about software development, and the engineering skills you learn may help you contribute to the process of creating secure software programs and running them through rigorous tests.

An associates degree in this field could also prepare you for further education in a bachelors degree program.

Best Online Associates in Software Engineering

Software Engineers working in the office

In a software engineering program, you’ll study all aspects of the software life cycle, from the initial design phase to everyday use and maintenance. These in-demand skills have practical applications in many different industries, including technology, manufacturing, and finance.

The curriculum for a software engineering program may include an introductory course to teach you the fundamentals of computer programming. You’ll then delve into more specific topics, such as algorithms and object-oriented programming.

By the end of your studies, you should be an expert in one or more computer languages, such as C++ or JAVA. All students in your program may study the same languages, or you might be able to select an area of focus.

You may study additional computing topics as well. The curriculum may include classes on data analytics, network architecture, and user interfaces. You may also need to take advanced math and science classes. Some programs include an internship experience so you can gain additional knowledge in the field.

With an associate degree in software engineering in hand, you may qualify for various tech positions in computer companies or other industries. Jobs related to web development and computer support often go to people with associate degrees.

Some employers require only an associate degree for certain positions on software engineering teams. You may be able to get hired as a computer programmer or a software developer, especially if you start as an assistant and work your way up the chain.

An associate degree can also be a stepping stone toward a bachelor’s degree. Your credits may transfer smoothly into a bachelor’s in software engineering, software programming, computer science, or computer programming. Your credits from your associate degree may cover most bachelor programs’ lower-level course requirements.

Software Engineering Careers & Salaries

Software Engineering Careers & Salaries

When you study for a degree in software engineering, you’ll acquire programming, database, and network skills that may prepare you to be competitive in the job market. Computing knowledge is currently in demand, so you may have an assortment of work opportunities to consider.

Your top career choices maybe ones that draw on your programming skills. Whether you want to write code for websites, applications, or operating systems, your extensive knowledge of computer languages will help you succeed in this field.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in computers and information technology pay an average annual salary of $88,240. This sector is expected to see 11% job growth through 2029.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Computer and Information Systems Managers $146,360
Computer Network Architects $112,690
Software Developers $107,510
Information Security Analysts $99,730
Database Administrators $93,750
Computer Systems Analysts $90,920
Computer Programmers $86,550
Network and Computer Systems Administrators $83,510
Web Developers $73,760
Computer Support Specialists $54,760

Education requirements vary among employers, so a bachelor’s degree may be necessary for some of the above jobs listed. With a degree in software engineering, potential employers may include companies that focus on computer systems or software development.

You could also work in various industries—such as manufacturing or insurance—writing code for websites or programs that support your company’s unique needs. Contract work is always another option to consider.

Companies might trust you to maintain their database systems, build their networks, protect their cybersecurity, or improve their computing efficiency. In order to be able to move into management positions, you may need to obtain certifications or a higher degree in the field.

Associate’s in Software Engineering Curriculum & Courses

Software Engineer working on her computer

If you enjoy technology and computers, then you may be fascinated by the topics covered in a software engineering program. Look through the following sample curriculum to see if the courses interest you.

  • Algorithms: You’ll put your software engineering skills to work in this course as you learn to work with data structures and perform analyses.
  • Computer Programming Introduction: This is a foundational class that you’ll take toward the beginning of your program in order to set the stage for further studies.
  • Computer Systems: You can learn about computer architecture during your time in this course and become familiar with the fundamentals of processing.
  • Databases: This class will teach you how to design databases and will probably give you experience in working with Structured Query Language (SQL).
  • Networking: Topics for this course may include local and wide area networks, communication between computers, network access, and cybersecurity.
  • Object-Oriented Programming: You’ll learn about encapsulation, polymorphism, and other principles of the object-oriented design paradigm, and you will probably work with OOP languages as well.
  • Professional Communication: This class will prepare you for the technology workforce by teaching you how to clearly communicate detailed information through written and oral channels.
  • Programming Languages: Your program may introduce you to one or more programming languages, such as C++, Python, or HTML.
  • System Analysis: In this class, you may explore the cycle of system development, from pre-planning research to program implementation, and you’ll learn to evaluate those systems.
  • Web Development: You’ll learn programming skills for websites and online applications and discuss ways to prioritize user experience.

Most associate degree programs require about 60 credit hours of study. Many credits will come from lecture classes, but some may come from lab courses as well.

Admissions Requirements

Software Engineering student studying online

Many 2 year colleges accept applications on a rolling basis, so you might be able to apply at any time of year. Here’s what you may need to send in:

  • Application form: The admissions process usually begins by filling out a form with your contact information and personal details.
  • Personal essay: You may need to provide a few paragraphs on your past accomplishments or future plans.
  • Transcript: You may need to ask your high school or previous college to send an official record of your courses and grades. At some schools, GED scores can be submitted instead.

Keep in mind that some institutions may charge an application fee when you apply.

Accreditation

Associate Degrees in Software Engineering Accreditation

When getting an associate degree, it’s important that you attend a regionally accredited school. That way, you can be sure that you’ll be earning meaningful credits that can help you achieve your goals.

An institution’s accreditation status may determine whether you’ll be able to transfer your credits to a bachelor’s degree program. Most reputable colleges only recognize courses from accredited schools.

Employers usually have greater respect for accredited degrees as well. To learn more about the seven organizations that grant regional accreditation to colleges in the U.S., visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Associate Degrees in Software Engineering Financial Aid

The government has programs in place to help qualifying students afford a college education. You can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to learn what funds are available to you.

Depending on your financial status, you may qualify for grants or low-interest loans from the federal government. Your state government may have similar opportunities for you. States often use FAFSA results to determine an applicant’s eligibility for additional aid.

Scholarships can be valuable as well. Applying for scholarships doesn’t guarantee that you’ll receive any, but the more you apply for, the better your chances will be. You could win anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a full ride.

You may be able to have a conversation with your employer about contributing to your education. Some companies have established programs for supporting team members who go back to school.

What Can You Do with an Associates Degree in Software Engineering?

Software Engineers working together

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of the best job positions for people who have an associate degree in a computer field are web developers and computer support specialists. Being a web developer pays an average annual salary of $73,760.

With the right employer, you may be able to take on other roles as well. Some companies will hire associate degree holders to work as software developers, computer programmers, or network administrators.

Gaining professional experience or pursuing industry certifications may increase your chances of securing these roles.

Can You Be a Software Engineer with an Associate’s Degree?

Software Engineer working together in the office

To be thought of as a software engineer, you typically have to hold a bachelors degree. Even so, an associate degree in software engineering can help get your career off to a good start.

Software engineers usually work as part of a team to oversee the software development life cycle. Even though you may not be a full-fledged engineer without a bachelor’s degree, you could still have a place on this team. As an assistant member, you might write code, run tests, or carry out other specific tasks.

What’s the Difference Between Software Engineering vs. Computer Science?

Some of the classes in a computer science program may overlap with those in a software engineering one, but these are two distinct fields. Understanding the differences can help you decide which is best for you.

Computer science is a broad field. If you select this as your major, you’ll study computer hardware and the ways that software interacts with it.

Software engineering focuses on the software development life cycle from beginning to end. Although you’ll learn about hardware, it won’t play as significant a role in your studies. You’ll also study systematic engineering principles that should guide your work.

Is an Associate Degree in Software Engineering Worth It?

Software Engineers talking in the office during break

Yes, an associate’s degree in software engineering is worth it for many students. With an average salary of $88,240 and 11% job growth (Bureau of Labor Statistics), a software engineer associates degree can help you launch a career in this cutting-edge field.

Common software engineering careers include web developer, computer programmer, software developer, database administrator, and computer support specialist.

Software engineering skills are needed in many different organizations. This includes tech companies, manufacturing facilities, banks, and insurance companies. Opportunities for self-employment are available as well. In addition, credits from your associate degree may count toward future bachelors studies.

Universities Offering Online Associate’s in Software Engineering Degree Programs

Each of the universities included below are regionally accredited and offer software engineering associates degree online.

#1  Anne Arundel Community College

Anne Arundel Community College

Anne Arundel Community College has a lot of options when it comes to computer science and software development degrees.

The school offers Associate of Science transfer degrees in the concentrations of Information Systems and Computer Science and an Associate of Arts transfer degree. Students may also earn scientific programming certificates.

  • AS in Computer Science

Anne Arundel Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#2  Broward College

Broward College

Broward College offers several different degree options for students pursuing STEM related degrees and careers, including an Associate of Science in Software Development degree.

A heavy focus is placed on computer programming and analysis, and students also learn about web and app development, client- and server-side scripting, and object-oriented programming.

  • AS in Software Development

Broward College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#3  Champlain College

Champlain College

The Associate of Science in Software Development program at Champlain College is entirely online. There are numerous courses in programming, web development, and networking.

Upon completion of the degree, students should be able to manipulate data efficiently, apply computer theory to software development, and display up-to-date, in-demand technical and analytical skills.

  • Associate’s in Software Development

Champlain College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

#4  Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

Students at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Software Engineering Technology.

The degree concentrates mostly on computer programming and database management, and graduates should be able to write computer programs, design database management systems, and effectively earn some industry certifications.

  • AAS in Computer Programming and Database Management – Software Engineering Technology

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#5  Columbus State Community College

Columbus State Community College

Columbus State Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Computer Science with a focus on Software Development.

The curriculum includes courses in business and soft skills development in addition to the core computer science-related courses. Some of these include computer languages, software development methodology, networking, and web development.

  • AAS in Computer Science – Software Developer

Columbus State Community College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#6  Dakota State University

Dakota State University

The Associate of Science in Software Development program at Dakota State University is recognized by both the NSA and DHS for its high-quality curriculum.

Students who complete the program should be able to design computer application systems and software, build web-enabled applications, and write, test, and maintain programs and apps.

  • AS in Software Development

Dakota State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#7  East Coast Polytechnic Institute University

East Coast Polytechnic Institute University

East Coast Polytechnic Institute University offers both Associate of Science and Associate of Applied Science degrees in Software Development.

Both programs feature the same useful core courses, including introductory courses in programming, networking, cloud systems, business, and cyber security. Other courses include principles of communication, Linux administration, and web scripting.

  • AS in Software Development

ECPI University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#8  Finger Lakes Community College

Finger Lakes Community College

The Associate of Science in Computer Science program at Finger Lakes Community College features a heavy software development component.

Students build strong foundations in computational thinking and programming, and students learn about computer architecture and organization as well as object-oriented software development. This program prepares students to enter the workforce or to transfer to another school.

  • AS in Computer Science

FLCC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#9  Florida State College at Jacksonville

Florida State College at Jacksonville

Students in Florida State College at Jacksonville’s Associate of Science in Computer Information Technology program can choose from one of four tracks: web, database, data science, and software development. The software development track allows students to learn about programming languages, like Java, Java EE, C++, and C#.

  • AS in Computer Information Technology

FSCJ is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#10  Franklin University

Franklin Pierce University

Franklin University offers a computer science Associate of Science degree that’ll introduce students to the fundamentals of software construction. They’ll also have ample opportunities to gain real-world experience utilizing Java programming.

The school offers Bachelor of Science degrees in the field for students who are interested in continuing their education.

  • AS in Computer Science

Franklin University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#11  Gateway Technical College

Gateway Technical College

Gateway Technical College offers an associates degree in information technology with a concentration in web software development.

The curriculum is designed to help students develop programming skills through hands-on projects, develop a professional network, and prepare to earn certifications in various industry specialties. The program requires 62 credit hours for completion.

  • Associates in Information Technology – Software Developer

Gateway Technical College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#12  Herzing University

Herzing University

Students at Herzing University can earn their associates or bachelors degrees in software development. There’s no prior coding experience required to enter either program, and both prepare students to pass several industry certification exams. Students should learn various programming languages and learn how to build and maintain software.

  • AS in Software Development

Herzing University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#13  Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College’s Associate of Applied Science in Software Development program teaches students to build, test, and maintain various software applications that people use on a daily basis.

The curriculum includes a mixture of hands-on experience and detailed coursework. Program graduates should be prepared for entry-level software engineering jobs.

  • AAS in Software Development

Ivy Tech Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

#14  Jamestown Community College

Jamestown Community College

The Associate of Science in Computer Science program at Jamestown Community College puts a major emphasis on software design and development. It’s flexible, affordable, and able to be completed entirely online.

Students will study web technologies, networking, programming, mathematics, database design, and computer theory. Financial aid is available to qualifying students.

  • AS in Computer Science

Jamestown Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#15  Lake Washington Institute of Technology

Lake Washington Institute of Technology

Lake Washington Institute of Technology has an extensive computer science department that offers certificates, associates degrees, and bachelors degrees in computer science-related fields.

This includes an Associate of Applied Science in Computing and Software Development. It’s a 90+ credit program that prepares students to enter the technological workforce.

  • Associate’s in Computing and Software Development

LWTech is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

#16  Limestone University

Limestone University

Students in Limestone University’s Associate of Science in Computer Science Programming program will take several different classes in programming languages, networking fundamentals, computer science, and software development. There’s also an optional concentration in programming.

The program is great for students hoping to become software engineers, programmers, analysts, or project managers.

  • AS in Computer Science Programming

Limestone University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#17  Monroe Community College

Monroe Community College

The computer science associate degree transfer program at Monroe Community College prepares students either to transfer or to pursue jobs as computer programmers, software developers, computer science teachers, and computer and information systems managers.

Courses are designed to help students explore the fundamentals and principles behind commonly used networks, software, and devices.

  • AS in Computer Science

Monroe Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#18  Ocean County College

Ocean County College

Ocean County College offers an Associate of Science in Computer Science degree with a concentration in Cyber-Information Security. There are additional certificates that can be earned as well. Courses include general education classes as well as programming, computer organization and architecture, and data structures and analysis.

  • AS in Computer Science

OCC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#19  Park University

Park University

Park University offers both its associates and bachelors degree in information and computer science programs online.

There are several specialties from which students can choose, including cyber security, computer science, web development, and software development. There are also opportunities to gain hands-on experience through internships set up by the college.

  • AS in Information and Computer Science – Software Development

Park University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#20  Rasmussen College

Rasmussen College

The software application development associates degree from Rasmussen College can be earned in as few as 18 months.

Courses are designed to prepare students to successfully earn industry certifications. Students learn about various programming languages, databases, software development tools, cloud computing, and principles of systems integration.

  • Associate’s in Software Application Development

Rasmussen College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#21  Salem University

Salem University

Salem University’s Associate of Science in Computer Science program provides students with firm foundations in computing principles and increased critical thinking, communication, and reasoning skills.

Whether students are hoping to transfer to 4 year universities or enter the workforce after earning their degrees, this program can prepare them for either route.

  • AS in Computer Science

Salem University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#22  Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University’s Associate of Science in Computer Science program is a 60 credit program that provides students with a wide range of skills.

Students learn to design, implement, and evaluate computing-based solutions, communicate effectively, analyze complex computing problems, and solve problems by applying computer science and software development.

  • AS in Computer Science

Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

#23  Spokane Community College

Spokane Community College

Spokane Community College offers several certificate programs in computer science and software development fields. It also offers an Associate in Applied Science in Software Development. The program’s goal is to train students in the most up-to-date, innovative desktop and web application development tools to succeed in the development field.

  • AAS in Software Development

SCC is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

#24  University of Toledo

University of Toledo

Students at the University of Toledo can earn their Associate of Science in Programming and Software Development degree entirely online.

They’ll learn current computer science techniques and the newest programming languages available. The curriculum blends comprehensive coursework and hands-on software and programming experience for a well-rounded education in the field.

  • Associate’s in Programming and Software Development

The University of Toledo is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#25  Weber State University

Weber State University

The Associate of Applied Science in Computer Science program at Weber State University provides students with all the necessary lower-division courses in computer science and most of the general education courses online. The program is flexible and affordable, and there are only a couple of classes that cannot be completed online.

  • AAS in Computer Science

Weber State is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Getting Your Associate’s Degree in Software Engineering Online

Associate’s Degree in Software Engineering student studying on his laptop

If you love computers, find programming addictive, and want to delve into software development, then a college degree in software engineering may be right for you. As a first step into this field, consider earning an online associate degree in software engineering.

This two-year degree may help you get a job on a website or software development team. It may also prepare you for a bachelor’s program in a related field. Earning your degree from an accredited online college will allow for scheduling flexibility and convenient access to your courses.

Start checking out software engineering associate degree programs today.

James Chen
WRITTEN BY
James Chen