Software engineer working with code

How to Become a Software Engineer

If you want to pursue a sought-after career, the Arizona Online BS in software engineering can offer lucrative opportunities, often resulting in high incomes.

There is a demand for professionals with exceptional skill sets in software engineering. If you want to pursue a highly sought-after career, software engineering can offer lucrative opportunities, often resulting in high incomes. 

It's also a career of the future. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 25% employment growth for software developers between now and 2032. To learn how to become a software engineer, continue reading about how to enter this in-demand field.

How to Become a Software Engineer

Step 1: Earn a degree in Software Engineering or a related field.

Because it requires a highly technical skill set, most employers' software engineer education requirements will likely include a degree in software engineering or a related field.

The BS in Software Engineering offered through the University of Arizona Online and the College of Engineering's Department of Systems and Industrial Engineering integrates proven engineering techniques and disciplines with best practices encompassing all aspects of the software development lifecycle. The curriculum includes core principles from systems engineering to electrical and computer engineering.

Step 2: Learn essential programming languages and technologies.

Which programming languages you choose to learn ultimately depends on your skill level, career goals, and the languages your employer uses. While no programming language meets every software engineer's needs, here is a list of the 9 Best Programming Languages to Learn in 2023.  

As a UArizona student, you can work with your academic advisor in your Software Engineering degree program to choose electives that teach the programming languages relevant to your career goals.

The University of Arizona Continuing & Professional Education Coding Boot Camp also gives you the knowledge and skills to build dynamic end-to-end web applications and become a full-stack web developer. The Boot Camp offers an industry-driven curriculum, and you can learn JavaScript, HTML, CSS, jQuery, Bootstrap, Node.js, MySQL, MongoDB, React, and more.

Step 4: Prepare for software engineering job interviews.

Interviewing for jobs is a unique skill in itself. Beyond being a talented and qualified candidate for a position, knowing how to talk about your knowledge and previous experience is just as important when making an impression on potential employers. Student Engagement and Career Development is available to you as an Arizona Online student and offers holistic career support. You can submit your professional materials for expert review and even schedule a Zoom or in-person practice interview with a member of the Career Education team!

The Alumni Career Lab partners with Student Engagement & Career Development and welcomes alums to explore professional tips, advice, and insights from Arizona alums, faculty, and advisers – no matter your professional focus or career level.

Step 3: Gain experience through internships.

At the University of Arizona, we always recommend looking into internship opportunities related to your field of interest. Internships are a great way to learn real-world skills in your area while often completing degree requirements simultaneously, plus building your professional network. 

The Programming Industry has been involved in UArizona's software engineering program's curriculum development and continues to play an instrumental advisory role. Raytheon and several companies and organizations – Hill Air Force Base, Intel, Jet Propulsion Lab, Microsoft, Northrop Grumman Corp., Oakridge National Labs, and more – have supported the degree program, and internship and networking opportunities are often available to students. 

Software Engineer Salary: The 2021 U.S. News & World Report ranked software developer, or engineer, as the best technology job in the United States and the second-best job across all categories. According to Indeed, the median software engineer salary in the United States is $117,654. 

Ideal candidates for a software engineering career use creativity to solve problems and have strong analytical skills. They become software and application architects and developers, project managers, network engineers, and business owners. Software engineers are in high demand across industries with employers such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Snap Inc., Medtronic, Johnson & Johnson, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Honeywell, Wells Fargo, and many more.