Online Software Development Degree

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What is a Software Developer Degree Online Program?

A software developer degree program teaches how to design and build software. That includes everything from being able to understand user needs to how to test finished software. You’ll study topics like how to program, interface design, and security.

Software developers may have a few paths when it comes to earning a degree. For instance, they could study computer science (CS), computer engineering, or a related area. What may matter most is knowing the theory and practice of how to create software. If you enjoy solving problems and want to create new programs that do so, this field might be ideal!


Types of Software Developer Degree Programs

Associate’s Degree Bachelor’s Degree Master’s Degree 
A.S. in Software Development B.S. in CS – Software Development MS in IT – Software App Development 
The Associate’s degree is designed to build foundations in software development. Intro course work in areas like computer systems, networks, and programming show students the basics of the field. Related courses like project management offer a glimpse of professional skill areas. This Bachelor’s in Computer Science has a focus in Software Development. Students take intro courses in CS and learn how to program. They also embark on courses in their focus, and apply their knowledge to the field of software development.  This Master’s program focuses on the IT skill areas needed to build applications. That includes understanding user needs and designing, building, and testing the app. Plus, core courses in IT help build the foundations students need to explore further.  
  • Relational Database Design & SQL 
  • C++ Programming 
  • Data Structures and Algorithms 
  • System Design 
  • Computer Organization and Architecture 
  • Intro to Programming 
  • Software Design and Modeling 
  • Object Oriented App Development 
  • Operating Systems 

Software Developer Degree Online Programs 

Software developer degree programs cover how to create the apps that keep the world running smoothly. Topics covered can include how to design, code, and maintain software. Most programs also cover an overview of C.S. and I.T. For example, you could study networking, IT security, and other concerns that factor into developers’ work.

Curious about similar programs? Check out software engineer degree programs here.

Undergraduate Software Developer Programs 

Most software developers need at least a Bachelor’s degree. In undergrad programs, you’ll lay the ground work to build effective software. That includes working on your coding abilities. Even though coding is not the main duty for developers, they must still have a back ground in this area. So, expect to study programming languages like Java, C#, C++, Python, and SQL.   

You’ll also discover the many concepts and moving parts that go into how to build software. For instance, you could study the user experience, and how to design programs. You could learn to build data bases that make it easy for users to search information. And, you could take a critical look at security, across areas like cloud computing and operating systems. 

Finally, your program could include courses in IT business. Software developers often work as part of a team, and manage projects and other professionals. So, areas like project management and financial accounting may be important. 

Look for programs like: 
  • Associate’s in Software App Development  
  • BS in Software Development 
  • BS in CS – Software Development

Graduate Software Developer Programs 

In some cases, employers may prefer software developers with advanced education – like  Master’s degrees. A grad program, such as a Master’s, may build on your past learning in the C.S. field. (In some cases, applicants may not need to have prior education in software development.) 

Programs often cover advanced topics in how to design and build software. For instance, you could study agile development, a method for how to work on software more efficiently. You could study more complex programming techniques. You could even delve into machine learning and AI.

Look for programs like: 
  • Master of Science (MS) in Software Development 
  • MS in IT – Software App Development

What Do Software Developer Online Degree Courses Look Like? 

You’ll take course work across skill areas like software design and architecture, how to program, and more.

Some common courses include: 

Introduction to Programming Using Java: Knowing how to code is critical for developers. A course like this introduces you to the basics of how to program. You’ll study programming language syntax – in this case, Java. You’ll also learn how to code, document, debug, and more.

Data Structures and Algorithms: Data structures and algorithms are key to being able to create functional software. So, in this course, you’ll learn how to design, analyze, and use them. You’ll study abstract data types, plus algorithms for searching, sorting, and more.

Data base Design and Implementation: Databases are accessible data sets. This course covers how to design them, so that they are useful in settings like business. You’ll also study the relational and object relational tools and techniques you need to build data bases.

Project Management: Software developers often need to juggle many areas of a project. This course covers concepts that make that possible. For instance, you could learn how to create a work break down structure and task plan. And, you may study management and communication techniques that help everyone work as a team.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Software Developer Degree Online?  

An Associate’s degree program may take around two years to earn. A Bachelor’s degree can take at least four years to earn. And, earning a Master’s degree can take around two years. That said, length can vary by program and other factors. That includes whether you study part time or full time. 


Software Developer Degree Program Examples

School Degree Level # of Credits Required Start Dates Minimum Months to Complete 
Rasmussen College Associate’s 90 Multiple 18 
Boston U Master’s 32 Multiple 16 
Maryville U Master’s 30 3 (Spring, Summer, Fall) 12 

The Cost of a Software Developer Degree Program 

According to NCES, the average annual cost of attending a public, four year school is $19,189. Average tuition was higher for private and for profit schools, at $39,529. Compare tuition for these schools that offer software development degree programs: 

School Degree Level # of Credits Required Cost Per Credit Total Tuition Cost 
Bellevue U Bachelor’s 127 $425 $53,975 
Champlain College Online Bachelor’s 120 $318 $38,160 
University of Maryland Bachelor’s 120 $499 $59,880 

Top Schools That Offer Software Developer Degree Programs 

NCES lists 823 schools with Computer Software & Media Applications programs. From those schools, students were awarded 11,331 degrees in 2017 (the most recent data). The most common degree awarded in this field was the Bachelor’s.  

School 2017 Degrees awarded 2019/20 Tuition (out of state unless *) 
Academy of Art University576$23,412* 
University of Phoenix Arizona339$9,552* 
Full Sail University226$24,513* 
The New School201$50,994* 
DeVry University Illinois191$17,798* 
Rochester Institute of Technology184$45,890* 
Valencia College183$9,383 
Atlantic University College182$7,500
Purdue University Main Campus139$28,794 
Bellevue College135$9,246 

Choosing an Accredited Software Developer Degree Program 

Finding an accredited software developer degree program can help ensure your program meets industry standards. That said, it’s not always required. What may be more important is making sure your school is regionally accredited. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognizes seven agencies that accredit schools at the regional level. 

Finding an accredited software developer degree program can help ensure your program meets industry standards. That said, it’s not necessarily required. What may be more important is making sure your school is regionally accredited. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognizes seven agencies that accredit schools at the regional level. 

What Can You Do with a Software Developer Degree?  

According to the most current data, there are over 2 million Computer Software and Computer Application grads in the work force. That includes grads of many kinds of programs, like software development.  

The number of grads in this field is growing, with a one year increase of 4.78%. And, the software development occupation as a whole is growing much faster than average. Projected growth between 2018 and 2028 was 21%. For app developers, that projected growth rose to 26%. This is due to demand for computer software and apps on phones and tablets. Other growth should come from fields like health and medical insurance, which need to accommodate new customers with digital enrollment tools.  

A quick snap shot of the industry shows that just slightly more males (56.9%) than females are degree holders. And, the average degree holder in the work force is 40.7 years old.  

Top Salaries by State for Software Developers (Apps) 

State Employment Annual Mean Wage 
New York52,640$116,830
District of Columbia2,520$112,510

Jobs with a Software Developer Degree 

Software Developer 

Software developers design and create software. Some focus on software apps that can be used on computers, smart phones, and other devices. Others develop systems for devices or networks. Either way, developers work to understand user requirements and design solutions. They then work with other pros, like programmers, to create and test the software.     

Median Salary: $105,590 per year

Job Growth Through 2028: 21% (Much faster than avg)

Typical Entry level Education: Bachelor’s degree

Computer and Information Systems Manager 

Computer and information systems managers plan and manage IT related aspects of a company. They determine the computing needs and recommend the right strategies. They also plan for and monitor network security needs. And, they work with other pros like software developers and computer support specialists to achieve IT goals. 

Median Salary: $142,530 per year

Job Growth Through 2028: 11% (Much faster than avg) 

Typical Entry level Education: Bachelor’s degree

Computer Hardware Engineer 

Computer hardware engineers design and create computer systems and components. These include circuit boards, memory devices, networks, routers, and a lot more. The process of engineering hardware involves various functions – from research to development and testing. And, engineers may design computer components for many uses, like automobiles and appliances.  

Median Salary: $114,600 per year 

Job Growth Through 2028: 6% (As fast as avg)

Typical Entry level Education: Bachelor’s degree

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Sources for school statistics is the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

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This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The financial aid information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.