Is Software Engineering the Major For You?

If you have a passion for computer games and business applications, are comfortable with math and engineering principles, and enjoy learning new programming languages, software engineering may be the major for you.

The program offers a project-based curriculum and emphasizes the importance of discovery. It also prepares students for professional paths in database and systems engineering, software development and more.


Software engineers require an extensive set of technical skills to develop quality, cost-effective software systems that meet customer requirements and deliver projects on time and within budget. A bachelor’s degree in this field will include courses that cover all aspects of the software engineering life cycle, from design and architecture to testing, maintenance, and documentation.

Students will also take a series of courses that build on these skills and help them gain a broader perspective of the industry. These will include math and science courses, as well as a number of general education courses that provide an overview of the wider world of technology.

Many coding schools offer special projects or sandwich years that give students the opportunity to hone their skills in real-world scenarios. They’ll also learn about different processes that dictate how software is developed, including Agile and Waterfall methodologies. In addition, they’ll be taught how to use version control systems such as Git and GitHub.

Senior Project

A software engineering major must complete a senior project, which is usually a multi-term capstone experience that requires students to work in teams to create a real-world software application. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the software engineering principles they have learned throughout their studies, and it often focuses on solving specific problems that external clients have identified as needing to be addressed.

Software engineers often find themselves orally presenting suggestions or research findings to various groups within their organizations, so strong presentation skills are required. They need to be able to explain their projects in plain language, without resorting to insider jargon.

Dagna Bieda, a career coach who works with software engineers, said that they tend to over-value their technical skill sets and under-value soft skills such as collaboration and communication. But those are essential for them to be successful in their careers, she added.


A software engineering internship provides priceless real-life experience. The more you can work on a team, debug software applications and communicate your vision, the better equipped you are for the workplace after graduation.

Companies like Google and Meta have well-resourced intern programs that give students the same responsibilities as full-time employees. Even smaller tech firms are accustomed to taking on undergraduates, particularly in areas like testing or site reliability.

Interviews for software engineering interns are often a combination of coding tests and technical questions. Employers want to know that you’ve mastered the basics of programming and have the right attitude for a job in their company. Practicing with free resources like LeetCode can help you be prepared for these interviews.

During an interview, be ready to talk about your passion for the field. It’s also important to show that you have a good understanding of the lifecycle of software systems and can speak about your own experiences as a developer.

Career Opportunities

Those with a bachelor’s in software engineering are likely to find a wide range of career opportunities. Virtually all businesses, including fashion, manufacturing and transportation, rely on software to run their operations. Software engineers may choose to specialize in a particular type of software development, such as web, back-end or game development. They can also become certified in their specialty.

For those looking to make a change from the computer programming side of the field, jobs in support roles such as QA and operations engineering might be an option. These jobs focus on ensuring that the company’s infrastructure runs smoothly, from writing automation scripts to performing server maintenance.

These positions may require the ability to communicate orally and present research or suggestions to other employees. In addition, they may have to explain technical concepts to individuals who don’t share their expertise. This requires soft skills that a software engineer major can build during their degree program, such as communication and collaboration.

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