Software engineering is the process of using engineering principles to develop new software applications. It’s a fundamental discipline within computer science. After all, without software, a computer is about as useful as a paperweight.

It’s a diverse field and requires skills in computer science, engineering, and information technology. Aspiring software engineers have excellent career prospects and can work in a range of different domains including web development, mobile applications, and video game programming. If you're ready to learn more, we've got your intro to software engineering, along with a list of the most popular courses to get you on your way to a tech career.

What Does a Software Engineer Do?

A software engineer uses engineering techniques to build software applications that perform useful tasks. These tasks can be business-related such as word processors or spreadsheet applications. They can also be for entertainment purposes like mobile games or online video streams. In fact, software can be built for absolutely any user requirement.

In the current digital age, many different devices can run software applications. Software engineers must be able to work with various different platforms. From smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers, to smart TVs, electrical appliances, and even cars.

Fundamental Concepts of Software Engineering

Software engineering encompasses many different skills and comprises of the following core concepts:

After discussing what software engineering is, the role of a software engineer, and the concepts that form the basis of software engineering, you should hopefully now have a better understanding of the field.

Let’s move on, and go through some popular software engineering courses:

  1. Software Engineering Bootcamp

No matter what your level of experience, the software engineering bootcamp is perfect for anyone that wants to start a new career in programming. You’ll learn all the core skills you need to become a highly sought-after full-stack developer. Technologies such as C, C++, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are covered in depth.

One nice feature about this program is the personal mentorship you’ll receive. Each student will be assigned an industry expert with real-life experience to answer any questions and support you every step of the way.

2. Java Programming and Software Engineering Fundamentals Specialization

Offered by Duke University, this course introduces Java and acts as a great first step towards a career in software development. Java is one of the most used and in-demand programming languages in the space.

JavaScript, HTML, and CSS are also covered. JavaScript is a scripting language based on Java and is essential for creating interactive web applications.

In this course, you’ll learn programming concepts and practical techniques to fix complex problems. The course is centered around projects, so will help you demonstrate your new skills in a highly structured way. You’ll learn basic skills required to solve real-world problems.

3. Software Development Lifecycle Specialization

The University of Minnesota offers this course online for aspiring software engineers. It includes development philosophies that are traditional, secure, agile, and lean. In this course, you’ll learn to analyze software engineering development from the four philosophies and discuss the processes within each of the philosophies.

Additionally, you’ll be introduced to Kanban, agile software development, and software development kit. By the end of this course, you’ll be able to build applications using the software development lifecycle (SDLC) framework.

4. Software Design and Architecture Specialization

If you’re interested in both design and data architecture, then this course from the University of Alberta might be just the boost you need to start a tech career. In this course, you’ll learn to apply design principles and architectures to create software applications. This course is well balanced with both practical and theoretical assignments.

You’ll learn how to plan, record, and communicate software system design. The practical examples help you develop employable skills to deal with real-world problems. By the end of the course, you’ll be able to read and write Java code.

5. Google IT Automation with Python Professional Certificate

Provided by Google, this course will teach you how to use Git and GitHub for version control. In addition, you’ll learn how to analyze problems and implement appropriate strategies to solve them.

You’ll learn in-demand skills such as Python, Git, and IT to debug complex problems.

6. Software Development Processes and Methodologies

In this course offered by the University of Minnesota, you’ll be given quizzes to learn how software development processes work and understand what is involved in these processes. You’ll gain experience in Waterfall, Spiral models, and RUP. Above all, you’ll get an overview of how software teams work and what processes they use.

7. Object-Oriented Java Programming: Data Structures and Beyond Specialization

UC San Diego now offers this course online, so you can become a Java expert from the comfort of home. This course is all about using Java with data structures and algorithms for organizing big data. You’ll gain experience in writing code to analyze large data sets.

A unique feature of this course is that a group of students will be selected at the end to have practice interviews with Google recruiters. Note: Invitation to a practice interview does not guarantee employment and by no means should be treated as an actual interview.

How Much Can Software Engineers Earn?

In the United States, the average annual compensation for a software engineer is $109,396. In some cases a cash bonus of $4,000 can also be earned.

Exact earnings will vary based on your experience:

Top 5 Companies for Software Engineers in the United States

Highest Paying Cities in the United States for Software Engineers

Hopefully this article has helped you understand the relevance of these courses and the high demand for software engineers in the job market. But before investing your time and money in any of these courses, take some time to thoroughly research the market in your local area, talk with industry professionals, and make sure that the course you choose will add real value to your skills and career.

If you’ve done all the research and you’re ready to dive in, check out our software engineering blog. We’ve collected a range of resources for those looking to get into tech, like our list of top software engineering books for newbies and seasoned engineers, as well as our ultimate cheat sheet for web developers.



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