Updated on April 30, 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 and resources for software engineering students.

Software is a tool of modern business. In nearly every type of organization, software solutions manage the flow of data and control business functions. Software engineering is the art of solving problems. The US Department of Labor projects the field to grow more than 20% through 2028. The high rate of growth involves both major software engineering fields. Organizations need both applications developers and systems developers. There is a large and expanding demand for computer software.

Software engineers need to have strong coding and programming skills. There are important soft skills that also determine success. Software engineers must have strong logic and thinking skills. The work environment also requires teamwork, collaboration, and strong written and verbal communications skills.

Significant resources for software engineers include certifications of skills for career expansion and advancement. Software engineering is a new and emerging field. Networking, conferences, and scholarly journals hold important opportunities to learn, exchange ideas, and create valuable professional networks. Professionals must then specialize and develop a deep understanding for their chosen areas of work. Software engineers need strong educational foundations in mathematics and computer science among other things.

Resources for Software Engineering Students

Understanding Accreditation

Accreditation is a critical part of education in software engineering. Employers and educational institutions rely upon accreditation as an assurance of quality education. Software engineering requires a strong foundation in mathematics, science, and programming. Accreditation ensures that students gets the education they need in these fundamental areas.

Accreditation ensures that students get adequate support from their institutions including library resources, research facilities, and close relationships with faculty. It also assures students that they will get academic counseling during their learning phase and career counseling.

The Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) is the premier accrediting body for software engineering in the United States. ABET approved programs offer students the best guarantee of wide acceptance of their educational credentials among employers and other educational institutions. ABET accredits bachelor’s and master’s degree program in software engineering and provides software engineering accreditation through the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission and the Computing Accreditation Commission.

Schools that lack ABET accreditation for Software Engineering may have accreditation from other sources. The US Department of Education authorizes accreditation groups that cover entire schools (institutional accreditation) as well as specific parts of a school (program accreditation). Degrees and credits earned from schools accredited by approved Department of Education agencies will get wide acceptance among employers and other educational institutions.

Questions About Financial Aid

Financial aid is an important part of the educational process for most students and families. The average US costs of one year of full-time attendance on a college campus is about $28,000. One can divide the typical forms of financial aid into two large categories. First are grants and scholarships, which have the important advantage of not needing to be repaid. Second comes loans, which must be repaid in some form. One can also consider a hybrid type which consists of grants or loans that one can repay by service or employment. Grants and scholarships are the top choice for most students.

Loans can cover a variety of costs including the general cost of living, but students must repay them with interest. Education loans can be federally-guaranteed, state-guaranteed, or personal loans to students or their families. When considering loans, students should carefully consider the debt-burden they will accrue during college, which will immediately come due after graduation.

Grants often come from the government (federal or state), foundations, and colleges or universities. Grants can prioritize need, achievement, or some other ideal on which they choose to focus such as nationality, location, age, race, or gender identity. Some grants seek to inspire students to enter fields in which the supply of qualified personnel is much lower than the demand, or to provide representation in fields with a lack of one sort or another.

Software engineering scholarships usually focus on high achievement. Scholarship organizations frequently prioritize high achievement in areas such as GPA, test scores, and leadership. Some scholarships restrict or prioritize awards to meet social goals as well, such as advancing female participation in the STEM fields.

Each year, millions in scholarships and grant dollars go unclaimed. Students often fail to look at the possibilities for scholarships and grants. Many grants intend to support students that live in specific areas or attend a certain high school or college. Some scholarships and grants seek to support women or race minority group members who are under-represented in a field. Grants and scholarships can be quite specific. Companies sometimes offer scholarships to their employees or their family members.

When searching for engineering scholarships, students should be thorough and they should examine any possible classification that may include them. International students may feel disadvantaged because they are not eligible for US student loan and grant programs. These students can search for scholarships that do not require US citizenship or permanent resident status.

The federal government, states, and many private companies experience severe shortages in certain fields. They may also experience a lack of diversity in their workforce. These factors spur extra efforts to recruit certain students. Those efforts often include scholarships, grants, subsidies, and other incentives.

Accreditation is also important for getting financial aid. The US Department of Education administers the student loan program along with a wide range of federal grants and scholarships. To be eligible for participation in federal student financial aid, the school must have Department of Education-approved accreditation.

Best Associations for Students

Students can join and participate in software and computer engineering associations. Some groups located on-campus serve students. Other professional associations admit students or offer student sections. Whether as a student member of a professional group or a student member of a student-centered group, associations offer substantial benefits for those who are just getting into software engineering.

Student or Open Access Journals

Open access journals fill gaps in current education by removing costs, membership, subscription, and other barriers to student access to scholarly publications. Students benefit from reading published works and research in their intended fields. Journals offer peer-reviewed work of high scholarly quality. The topics vary, but entries often relate to trends, developments, and innovations.

Open access systems ease the path to valuable current research. Authors can share their work with a global audience. Students benefit from open access publications because the costs and other barriers to access can particularly affect students. Organizations have frequently restricted access to their scholarly journals as membership incentives to professional members These costs can place valuable information out of reach of many students.

The below-listed journals are open access or permit student access.

Software Engineering Study Resources

Online resources are a valuable source of technical information, education, and practical tips. Online resources offer self-paced scheduling and freedom to choose the precise courses or tutorials needed. They also often have the advantage of being taught by practicing professionals. Students can get differing perspectives than those found in standard textbooks and lecture halls.

Online resources can add valuable knowledge and insights at every stage of your career. Students can benefit by expanding their knowledge and perhaps improving their grades and academic performance. Once in the job market, online resources can provide competitive advantages when bidding for jobs and contracts.

  • FreeCodeCamp.org:
    This website offers free education and training. Users can learn to code, build projects, and earn certifications.
  • Microsoft Learn
  • egghead.io:
    This site offers video tutorials for JavaScript and JavaScript tools. Videos led by industry professionals guide learners to advanced levels.
  • Codecademy:
    This site offers a catalog of courses covering web development, programming, and data science.
  • Stanford Online:
    This free site offers classes leading to degrees and certificates in computer technology and other engineering subjects
  • Upcase.com:
    Presented by Thoughtbot, Upcase is a combination of bootcamp and finishing school for developers.

Apps for Software Engineering Students

Today, software engineering students can take advantage of apps that provide tools for research, learning, and communications. Apps exist for a wide range of functions, some of which save significant amounts of time and effort. Software engineering and computer science more generally use engineering concepts, computational, and communications tools. There are apps for those and many other challenges facing software engineering students.

Some apps go to the heart of software processes for developers and system work. Other useful apps form the tools that help get the job done such as scientific calculators and conversion devices. The items below describe some useful apps for Android or IOS devices.

Options for Software Engineering Internships

Software engineers are in relatively short supply in a field that continues to grow. Many companies seek to engage promising software engineering students and provide real-world experience. Students can also follow their interests and goals to find internship and career opportunities.

Aerospace activities are heavy users of software engineering services. Both in government (NASA) and the newer private space exploration business, software engineers are in high demand. Social media platforms such as Facebook also use software engineering. Reddit is an example of a social media platform that recruits software engineering talent.

Resources for Students and Professionals

Software Engineering Certification Options

The desired level of training may require a demonstrated level of knowledge by education, experience, or both. Some certifications require formal training, college training, and/or specialized experience. For example, the ISC2 awards the Certified Information Systems Security Professional Certification. The test and practice require education and knowledge prerequisites. Candidates must possess five or more years work experience. Further, the experience must demonstrate knowledge of two or more of the eight CASSP common body of knowledge domains.

Vendor-specific certifications provide expertise in the line of products of particular companies. Microsoft, Oracle, and Cisco are leading examples of vendor training and certifications.

Neutral certifications can help professionals demonstrate their abilities to work at advanced levels and not limited to a single system or line of products. Examples of this type include CompTia, (ISC)2, ISACA, and certifications from the Project Management Institute.

Certification Study Resources

Software engineers can be divided into two main classifications: Applications Software Engineers and Systems Software Engineers. Applications software engineers analyze an end-user's needs and develop a custom program to meet those needs. They use a range of programming languages to do this. Systems software engineers coordinate the creation, maintenance, and expansion of an organization's internal computer systems. Systems software engineers may also be responsible for developing a company's intranet and ensuring system security.

These busy professionals can benefit from acquiring certifications in various parts of their fields. These certifications include vendor specific awards from firms like Oracle and Microsoft. Applicants can get preparation courses that can make preparation more efficient and complete rather than only relying on their previous knowledge and experience.

  • PeopleCert:
    offers prep course for the Certified Associate in Software Testing (CAST).
  • PeopleCert:
    offers prep course for the Certified Software Testing Exam (CSTE).
  • New Horizons:
    Microsoft Technical Training & Certification for Windows Azure
  • New Horizons:
    Microsoft Technical Training & Certification for Windows System Center
  • Oracle University:
    Oracle Database Administration
  • Oracle University:
    Oracle MySql5.7 Database Administrator

Job Boards

Job Boards can be free or paid by the employer. Some boards require sign in or registration for job seekers. Whatever the method, getting to a great job board can start or jump-start a career. Employers use job boards to generate attention and applicants for most vacancies in a company. If a vacancy draws many more applicants than needed, companies may keep the employee information for later use.

Selecting job boards may depend on the types of jobs sought. Some boards are best for short-term, non-repeating types of assignments. Other boards attract employers with substantial and on-going needs. Here are some for tech professionals specifically

Temp Agencies

The software engineering field consists of public agencies and private companies with a, generally, fixed staff of experts. In many cases, projects or events can create sudden demand for more talent. It is for just such occasions that employers usually turn to temporary talent agencies. These agencies can specialize in fields such as computer technology and maintain an active inventory of skilled persons ready to work.

The services that software engineering temporary employment agencies provide is often critical to an employer’s mission. The temp agency can vet the skills, experience, and educational qualifications of its staff resources and provide talent when needed.

Software engineers, like other tech occupations, can benefit from temporary employment agencies. They can be an excellent solution for periods between jobs, at the start of a career, or when one simply wishes to head in a new direction. Temp agencies may offer you the opportunity to try new things. Here are some agencies that help tech professionals find the short-term jobs they are looking for.

Resources for Software Engineering Professionals

Professional Associations

After graduation, young professionals begin to work and experience life in their fields. The formal education process may have ended, but the professional learning process will have just begun. Professional associations offer valuable opportunities for specialization, networking, and career advancement. They host events, publish newsletters and journals, and create opportunities for industry-wide impact. Professional associations can guide young professionals into new areas of work and reinforce existing knowledge.

Professional associations offer certifications, continuing education, and professional enrichment. Working with other professionals in the same fields and project areas can expand your professional horizons and introduce you to new ideas.

Popular Journals

Professional journals are an essential part of the software engineer’s efforts to stay up-to-date with news, trends, and developments. The top journals provide peer-reviewed articles, reports, and studies. These items represent cutting edge research and development and can significantly expand your knowledge base. While many journals are available for purchase, some publications require organization membership.

The field of software engineering is relatively new and still emerging as the overall industry grows in prominence and importance. Journals can announce innovations and confirm trends. These types of scholarly publication continue the education process past graduation and into the early stages of the software engineering career.

Industry Conferences for Software Engineers

Many professional conferences have commercial backing and serve to promote the products and services of vendors and patron organizations. Software engineering conferences usually focus on technical content and therefore are ideal vehicles to learn, network, and get information on the latest trends. Conferences can help expand one’s professional horizon and see the software engineering role in many and diverse settings.

Attending conferences is an effective way to demonstrate your commitment to your software engineering career. You can get important exposures to other professionals and ideas, define your professional goals, and learn about the newest things going on in the field.

  • PYCon (pycon.org):
    The international community for the Python Language holds more than 50 conferences each year. Python is popular in the scientific community and a preferred method for managing big data. The community expects the influence of PyCon will also grow.
  • Strata Data Conference (conferences.oreilly.com/strata-data-ai/stai-ca):
    Formerly the Strata-Hadoop World, this conference covers cutting edge topics and emerging data techniques and technologies.
  • Data Conference San Francisco (datacouncil.ai/san-francisco):
    Held in April, in San Francisco California, this is a networking event with an attendance limit of 500 persons. Ideal for software engineers, the conference offers six tracks focused on hero engineering, data platforms, AI products, data analytics, and database tools.
  • GlueCon (gluecon.com):
    holds a May event. The conference has a software engineering focus and a DevOps concentration. It focuses on learning, exchanging ideas, and collaborating. Recent topics included serverless architecture, mobile, analytics, blockchain applications, and cutting edge developer techniques.
  • Open Source Summit North America (events19.linuxfoundation.org/):
    Sponsored by the Linux Foundation, this is actually a series of conferences held in locations around the globe. The June 2020 Austin event is the next US event and it includes embedded conferences with specific focuses. Check and see if the next one is near you!
  • Microsoft Ignite - (microsoft.com/en-ca/ignite-the-tour/#cities):
    Free with registration, this event runs through May. The locations vary and are both within and outside the US. The US locations include DC, Chicago, and nearby Toronto.