Updated on May 29, 2024
Edited by Evelyn Keener
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University Headquarters (HQ) is an industry-leading, independent educational organization that provides independent college rankings using a proprietary formula to create first class unbiased rankings. The team at University HQ strives to provide accurate and trustworthy rankings that highlights the best programs for software engineering in North Dakota.

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What is Software Engineering?


North Dakota may not be the first state that comes to mind when you think of software engineering, but the field is growing rapidly in this Midwestern state. With the rise of technology and the increasing demand for software solutions, there is a need for skilled software engineers in every state.

This state's software engineering industry has experienced steady expansion. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2020, there were approximately 810 software developers employed within ND. Although this number may seem relatively modest when compared with states with more concentrated technology hubs, it serves as evidence of growing demand for software engineers.

One of the factors contributing to the growth of software engineering in this state is the state's efforts to attract and foster tech companies. The North Dakota Department of Commerce has been actively promoting the development of the technology sector through initiatives such as the Innovate ND program. This program provides funding, mentorship, and resources to tech startups and entrepreneurs, encouraging innovation and job creation in the state.

North Dakota boasts an active startup ecosystem and supportive business environment that make it an appealing location for tech companies. The state provides various incentives, such as tax breaks and grants, to attract and retain businesses within this sector. Coupled with its low cost of living and excellent quality of life, it makes this an attractive place for software engineers to live and work.

To pursue a career in software engineering here, individuals typically need a degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field. While a degree can provide the necessary foundation, it’s essential to continuously update skills and stay current with the latest advancements in software dev. Professionals can enhance their knowledge and expertise through certifications, workshops, and continuing education programs.

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Online Software Engineering Education in North Dakota


A software engineer, also known as a computer programmer or developer, is a professional who designs, develops, and maintains software applications or systems. They are responsible for creating computer programs that perform specific tasks or functions and may work in various industries such as technology, finance, healthcare, and more.

Software engineers usually need a strong background in computer science or related disciplines in order to break into this profession. Many professionals in this area possess bachelor's degrees in computer science, software engineering, or related fields. However, individuals may start their career with an associate degree or coding bootcamp certification and gain experience through internships or on-the-job training.

Software engineers use various programming languages such as Java, C++, Python, and JavaScript to write code that enables software applications to function. They analyze user requirements, design software architecture, write code, test and debug applications, and ensure that they meet quality standards. Software engineers also collaborate with other team members, such as designers and product managers, to ensure that the software aligns with the desired functionality and user experience.

The role of a software engineer requires problem-solving skills, logical thinking, and attention to detail. They must be able to break down complex problems into smaller, manageable tasks and develop efficient and scalable solutions. Additionally, software engineers need to stay updated with the latest advancements in technology and programming languages to adapt and enhance their skills continually.

Software engineers work in various settings, from software companies and tech startups to government organizations and freelancers. With increasing reliance on technology and demand for applications across industries, software engineers are in high demand and the need for their services can only increase further. Engineers may specialize in various areas like web development, mobile app development, database management, or artificial intelligence for instance.

Online Associate Degree in Software Engineering (AS)

An associate degree in software engineering can be a game-changer for individuals looking to jumpstart their tech careers without committing to a four-year program. With the demand for skilled software engineers skyrocketing, these two-year degrees equip students with essential technical knowledge and programming skills. The curriculum typically covers a range of topics including programming languages like Java and Python, database management, network security, human computer interaction, and web development.

One of the major advantages of pursuing an associate degree in software engineering is the shorter time frame compared to traditional four-year programs. This means that graduates can enter the job market sooner and start gaining valuable industry experience. Additionally, many community colleges offering this degree often have partnerships with local businesses or tech companies, providing students with internship opportunities or job placement assistance upon completion of their degree.

While some may argue that an associate degree may not carry as much weight as a bachelor's or master's degree in the eyes of employers, industry trends are showing otherwise. Many technology companies now recognize the value and expertise that individuals with associate degrees bring to the table. Employers are increasingly concerned about practical skills, rather than just academic qualifications, making an associate degree a credible choice for those wanting to hit the ground running in their software engineering careers.

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Online Bachelors Degree in Software Engineering (BS)

A bachelor's degree in software engineering is an investment that can open doors to various opportunities in the ever-evolving field of technology. With a strong focus on problem-solving, critical thinking, and teamwork, these degrees equip students with the skills needed to design and develop software solutions for complex business challenges. What sets software engineering apart from other computer science degrees is its emphasis on the systematic and disciplined approach to building reliable and scalable software systems beyond the original computer programming using various techniques.

One of the key benefits of pursuing a bachelor's degree in this field is the practical experience gained through hands-on projects. Many programs offer opportunities for a student to work on real-world problems, either independently or as part of a team. This not only provides invaluable experience, but also allows students to build their technical portfolio, building sites on the internet or writing code, which can greatly enhance their job prospects after graduation. Additionally, a software engineering program may have partnerships with industry-leading companies, providing internship and co-op opportunities that gives a student exposure to professional work environments during a semester.

Moreover, a bachelor's in software engineering prepares graduates for a wide range of career paths within the tech industry. While some graduates may choose to work as software engineers or developers, others may explore roles such as data analysts, systems analysts, project managers, or even pursue entrepreneurship by starting their own technology ventures. The multidisciplinary nature of modern software engineering programs ensures that graduates are equipped with both technical expertise and essential soft skills like communication and leadership abilities – qualities highly valued by employers in today's competitive job market.

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Online Masters Degree in Software Engineering (MS)

A master's degree in software engineering can offer significant advantages when pursuing a career in this dynamic field. In addition to providing a deeper understanding of software development principles, this advanced degree equips students with the skills needed to tackle complex problems and develop innovative solutions. The software engineering program focuses on both technical and managerial aspects of software engineering, ensuring graduates are well-rounded and capable of leading successful projects.

One key advantage of a master's degree in software engineering is the opportunity for specialized study within the field. Students can choose to concentrate on areas such as artificial intelligence, cyber security, or mobile app development. This allows individuals to tailor their education based on their specific interests and career goals. Graduates with specialized knowledge are often highly sought-after by employers looking for experts in these rapidly evolving areas. And you can also learn associated skills such as project management, design solutions, how to make decisions with big data, and more.

Another important aspect of a master's degree program is its emphasis on practical experience through internships or real-world projects. By working alongside industry professionals and tackling real-life challenges, students gain valuable hands-on experience that goes beyond theoretical knowledge. This exposure not only enhances technical skills but also fosters critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, and communication skills - all essential qualities for success in today's competitive job market.

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Online PhD Degree in Software Engineering (PhD)

If you're considering pursuing a PhD in software engineering, you're likely someone who is passionate about pushing the boundaries of technology. These advanced degrees can open numerous opportunities, not only in academia but also in industry research and development. With the rapid advancements and evolving nature of software engineering, a PhD can provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to become a leader in this field.

One of the key benefits of obtaining a PhD in software engineering is the opportunity to delve deep into specialized areas within the discipline. Whether it's artificial intelligence, cyber security, or software testing - there are countless avenues for exploration and specialization. By conducting your own original research as part of your doctoral studies, you'll be able to contribute new insights to existing knowledge and drive innovation forward.

Furthermore, pursuing a PhD can also enhance your earning potential. On average, individuals with a doctoral degree earn significantly more than those with only a bachelor's or master's degree. This is particularly true for roles within academia or private research institutions where advanced qualifications are highly valued. Additionally, having a PhD may give you an edge when seeking senior positions within industry organizations that require extensive expertise in software engineering.

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Online Software Engineering Certifications

Software engineering certifications can be an invaluable addition to a software engineer's skill set. While a college degree in software engineering is essential, certifications offer specialized knowledge that can enhance career prospects. One such certification is the Certified Software Development Professional (CSDP) offered by the IEEE Computer Society. This certification focuses on professional standards and ethics, as well as fundamental knowledge of the software dev processes.

Another popular certification in the field of software engineering is the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certified Developer – Associate. As more companies move their infrastructure to the cloud, AWS has emerged as one of the leading cloud platforms. Becoming certified as an AWS developer demonstrates expertise in building and deploying applications on this platform, which can open doors to exciting job opportunities.

Obtaining industry-recognized certifications demonstrates dedication to continuous learning and professional growth – qualities highly valued by employers in today's competitive job market. Additionally, these certifications provide validation of skills and knowledge beyond what can be learned during a traditional college degree program. In a rapidly evolving field like software engineering, where new technologies emerge regularly, staying up to date with certifications becomes crucial for maintaining relevance and ensuring long-term success in one's career.

Read more on computer science certifications

Become a Software Engineer in North Dakota


Are you someone who is fascinated by technology and loves the idea of creating innovative software applications? If so, a career in software engineering might be the perfect fit for you. North Dakota, with its thriving technology industry, provides numerous opportunities for aspiring software engineers. If you're interested in pursuing this path, here are some steps you can take to become a software engineer.

  • Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science or Software Engineering

    To build a career in software engineering, having a strong foundation in computer science is crucial. Thus, you might want to consider enrolling at one of North Dakota's reputable universities or colleges offering programs dedicated to this field - many offer exceptional programs.

  • Step 2: Gain Relevant Skills and Experience

    Gaining relevant skills and experience is equally as essential to formal education, with employers often preferring candidates who can program using Java, Python, C++ or JavaScript as assets for hire. Taking additional courses or attending coding boot camps could further hone your capabilities.

  • Step 3: Build a Strong Portfolio

    On top of education, you’ll want to work to put together an impressive portfolio that displays your software work, from both personal and collaborative efforts, to showcase your ability to solve complex issues, design intuitive interfaces, and write efficient code. Your portfolio can help impress potential employers while landing internships or entry-level positions.

  • Step 4: Seek Internship Opportunities

    Internships provide valuable real-world experience while giving software engineering students a chance to work alongside experienced industry professionals. Many technology companies in North Dakota offer internship programs specifically for software engineering students – you can take advantage of these programs while still in school to expand your practical skillset and expand your professional network.

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What Can I Do with a Bachelor's in Software Engineering?


With a bachelor's in software engineering, the possibilities are endless. From creating innovative apps that streamline daily tasks to designing cutting-edge software solutions for major corporations, the field of software engineering offers a wide range of exciting career paths.

One area where software engineers are highly sought after is in the development of mobile applications. The booming app market has created a strong demand for skilled professionals who can design and build user-friendly apps for smartphones and tablets. Whether you're interested in developing games, social networking platforms, or productivity tools, a bachelor's in software engineering will provide you with the necessary skills to succeed in this rapidly growing field.

Additionally, many software engineers find employment in large corporations where they play a crucial role in developing and maintaining complex software systems. With their expertise in coding languages and problem-solving abilities, these professionals ensure that businesses run smoothly by creating efficient technological solutions tailored to specific company needs. This type of work can be challenging, but extremely rewarding, as it allows you to contribute to the success and growth of an organization while constantly expanding your skillset.

Potential Careers for Software Engineering Graduates


  • Software Developer:

    As a software developer, your primary responsibility will be designing, coding, and modifying software applications in accordance with client specifications. Working closely with cross-functional teams, you will produce high-quality solutions which meet user requirements. In this role, you must possess strong problem-solving abilities as well as attention to detail while being comfortable working efficiently in fast-paced environments.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field
    • Proven experience as a software developer or a similar role

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for software developers, quality assurance analysts, or testers in the US in 2021 was $124,200
    • The mean annual wage for software developers in North Dakota is $85,220
  • Software Engineer:

    Software engineers are responsible for designing, creating, implementing, and maintaining software systems. To do this effectively, they need strong problem-solving abilities, attention to detail, and the ability to work cooperatively as part of a team.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field
    • Strong knowledge of software development principles, algorithms, and data structures
    • Proficient in programming languages such as Java, C++, or Python
    • Experience with software development methodologies (Agile/Scrum)
    • Familiarity with version control

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for software developers, quality assurance analysts, or testers in the US in 2021 was $124,200
    • The mean annual wage for software developers in North Dakota is $85,220
  • Information Analyst:

    An information security analyst is charged with protecting an organization's computer systems and networks against potential security threats and breaches, playing an essential role in safeguarding confidentiality, integrity, and availability of its assets.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field (or equivalent work experience)
    • Proven working experience as an information security analyst or similar role
    • Strong knowledge of network infrastructure, protocols, and security technologies
    • Familiarity with industry standards such as ISO 27001, NIST cybersecurity framework, or CIS controls

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for information security analysts in the US in 2022 was $112,000
    • The mean annual wage for information security analysts in North Dakota is $90,130
  • Computer Programmer:

    Computer programmers are responsible for designing, creating, testing, and maintaining computer applications and programs. They collaborate closely with software developers and engineers in understanding project requirements before translating them into functional code.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field
    • Proven experience as a computer programmer or software developer
    • Proficient in programming languages such as Java, C++, Python, or Ruby
    • Strong problem-solving skills and attention to detail
    • Familiarity with software development methodologies and best practices
    • Excellent communication and teamwork abilities
    • Ability to meet deadlines and work under pressure

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for computer programmers in the US in 2022 was $97,800
    • The mean annual wage for computer programmers in North Dakota is $89,220
  • Game Developer:

    Game developers will have the responsibility of designing, creating, and implementing interactive and engaging games across various platforms. Collaboration between various disciplines to realize ideas while creating superior gameplay experiences will play a pivotal role.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree in computer science, game development, or a related field (or equivalent experience)
    • Proficiency in programming languages such as C++, C#, or Java
    • Strong knowledge of game development frameworks and engines (e.g. unity, unreal engine)
    • Experience with 2D and/or 3D game development
    • Familiarity with game design principles and mechanics
    • Excellent problem-solving skills and attention to detail

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for software developers, quality assurance analysts, or testers in the US in 2021 was $124,200
    • The mean annual wage for software developers in North Dakota is $85,220
  • Computer Network Architect:

    Computer network architects are responsible for designing, building, and maintaining computer networks for organizations. Working closely with clients and IT teams, they develop network solutions tailored to the organization's requirements that facilitate efficient communication among devices and systems, while meeting all compliance regulations.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field
    • Proven experience in designing and implementing complex computer networks
    • In-depth knowledge of networking protocols, including TCP/IP, DNS, DHCP, VPN, and VLAN
    • Strong understanding of network security principles and best practices
    • Proficiency in network monitoring

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for computer network architects in the US in 2022 was $126,900
    • The mean annual wage for computer network architects in North Dakota is $103,230
  • Computer and Information Systems Manager:

    Computer and information systems managers are accountable for overseeing an organization's technological infrastructure and systems. They direct all computer-related activities to maximize effective utilization of resources within an organization.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor's degree in information technology, computer science, or a related field (master's degree preferred)
    • Proven experience in managing computer

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for computer and information systems managers in the US in 2022 was $164,070
    • The mean annual wage for computer and information systems managers in North Dakota is $130,830
  • Web Developer:

    A web developer will be responsible for designing, coding, and modifying websites, from layout to function, and according to the client's specifications. The ideal candidate should have a strong understanding of front-end development technologies including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, as well as experience with back-end development using frameworks like PHP or Python.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Proven work experience as a web developer or a similar role
    • Strong understanding of front-end development technologies, including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
    • Experience with front-end frameworks/libraries such as react or angular
    • Familiarity with back-end development using languages like PHP or Python
    • Knowledge of database systems such as MySQL or MongoDB
    • Understanding of web standards and best practices

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for web developers and digital designers in the US in 2022 was $80,730
    • The mean annual wage for web developers in North Dakota is $75,980
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