Associates in Software Engineering

By Brandon Mario D`Souza

Updated March 21, 2024

Brandon Mario D’Souza

Brandon is a registered social worker with Social Work England. He obtained his master’s in social work (personnel management & industrial relations) and used it in fields such as water treatment, construction, software, and education. Then he transitioned to the health and social care sector with an M.Sc. in health psychology. Brandon loves to write, cook, and play musical instruments (piano, guitar, melodica, ukulele, and kazoo) and enjoys the calmness and serenity of nature.


Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.

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Students interested in producing software in a continuously changing field will benefit from an associates in software engineering degree. They will learn how to create software for mobile applications using different frameworks, study user interfaces that work across multiple platforms and apply various technologies to challenges faced by the industry. An associate degree is one means for students to further their education in a subject of their choice, making them suitable contenders for entry-level job positions following graduation. According to Payscale, the average base salary for a software engineer is $89,068 a year. This guide explains the associates in software engineering degree and its various elements.

Associates in Software Engineering

Best Associates in Software Engineering

Because software engineering is an advanced field of study, few universities offer the program at an associate’s level. Nevertheless, when opting for this degree, one must ensure that the selected college is ranked well, offers good infrastructure and student services, has competent and experienced faculty, and more. Based on these and other criteria, FBD has prepared a list of the best associates in software engineering programs as follows: *

Strayer University, founded in 1892 as Strayer’s Business College, is a private for-profit university headquartered in Washington, D.C. Operating under the holding company Strategic Education, Inc., the university enrolls over 50,000 students through its online learning programs and 64 campuses located across 15 U.S. states.
Univ Address
Strayer University 1133 15th St NW, Suite 200, Washington, District of Columbia 20005

Universities and programs are ranked by various factors, such as affordability, curriculum and coursework, reputation and availability, program length, statistics, the potential of employment, and return on investment for the students. For a more in-depth analysis, please read about our rankings methodology page

What to Expect from the Associates in Software
Engineering Degree Program

The associates in software engineering is an entry-level undergraduate degree that focuses on teaching students the process of assessing user requirements to design, create, test, deploy, and manage software application systems. Students study programming languages, databases, systems design, cloud computing, etc., as part of their coursework, which will help them build scalable software, web applications, and mobile or cloud-based apps. Along with core courses in computer and engineering-related subjects, one can expect general education courses and a project or some hands-on practicum as well. Some of the core courses across associates software engineering programs include:

Cloud Computing

The broadest range of topics, ranging from the traditional data center to IT as a service, are covered in this course. It offers a solid framework for comprehending cloud computing and virtualization technologies. Students study cloud building blocks developed on virtualized infrastructure as well as virtualization technologies at the level of computers, desktops, networks, storage, and applications.

Programming Logic

In this course, students investigate how business programs that operate computers are developed, including their logic and theory. The evolution of both structured and object-oriented design is covered throughout the course. Arrays, control structures, data validation, debugging, and testing are among the topics covered.

Systems Concepts and Design

In this course, students will use an actual firm as a model as they design a system, create the necessary documentation, and develop the necessary applications. The creation of new forms, problem definition, and system flowcharting are all covered in the course.

Database Systems

In this course, students look at noSQL, distributed, relational, and object-oriented database systems. The essential ideas of database systems are covered, focusing on design, implementation, and management. Other topics covered include SQL, normalization, database management, data models, and Internet connectivity.

Some of the other courses students can expect in an associates in software engineering include:

  • Network Fundamentals
  • Web Design and Development
  • Communication Fundamentals
  • Web Programming
  • Java Programming
  • Programming in C++
  • Android Development
  • iOS Development
  • Algebra
  • Physics
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Linux Administration

General Education courses include:

  • Cultural Anthropology
  • International Relations
  • Cultural Connections
  • Art History
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • Psychology

Degree Types for Associates in Software

The Associates of Science degree in Software Engineering and the Associates of Applied Science degree in Software Engineering are the two most frequent associates degrees in software engineering. A third option is the Associates of Arts in Software Engineering, which is less common and popular.

Associate of Science in Software Engineering

The Associate of Science in Engineering degree program, also known as AS Software Engineering, examines the subject through scientific and mathematical perspectives. The majority of the teaching in this degree type is theoretical in nature and is based on technological and scientific ideas.

Associate of Applied Science in Software Engineering

The Associate of Applied Science in Software Engineering degree program provides students with practical training and prepares them to enter the workforce as soon as they graduate.

Associate of Arts in Software Engineering

For students who plan to transfer to or pursue a bachelor’s degree later in life, the Associate of Arts in Software Engineering or AA Software Engineering degree program fulfills the criteria for lower-division general education at a four-year university. Apart from fundamental software engineering disciplines, this degree type focuses on humanities and social science topics. However, this degree type is the least common among the three options.

Areas of Specialization in Associates in Software
Engineering Programs

Selecting a niche and becoming an authority in it is the best way to find a job that one enjoys doing. It is also the most reliable means of boosting one’s earnings and career prospects. Software engineering is often treated as a specialization or concentration of computer science and computer engineering by academic institutions. Given the introductory nature of the associate’s degree in software engineering, students typically do not have concentrations from which to choose. However, where the school or program may permit, one could choose to focus on areas within software engineering, such as:

  • Software Quality Assurance & Testing
  • Software Design & Development
  • Information Security
  • Web, Game, and Mobile Application Development
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Machine Learning
  • Specific Coding/Programming Languages such as R, PHP, Python, C++, Java, etc.

Why should I do an Associates in Software
Engineering Degree?

There are many advantages of doing an online associate’s degree in software engineering; relative information is available in the Guide to Associate Programs. Those who desire to gain the knowledge and abilities required to pursue their career aspirations or transfer to earn a bachelor’s degree in the field should pursue this degree. Applications developers, information technology analysts, programmers, computer consultants, software engineers, and software developers are just a few possible career paths. With the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reporting that computer and information technology jobs are projected to grow by 13% between 2020 and 2030, the demand and need for software engineers seem promising.

To take on entry-level jobs in the field, graduates with associates in software engineering online would have acquired several skills they can apply, including the ability to:

  • develop and deliver high-quality software by working both independently and as a member of a multidisciplinary team;
  • demonstrate proficiency in communication, planning, design, analysis, construction, and deployment while putting the software engineering lifecycle into practice;
  • exhibit the expertise required for higher learning and career progress;
  • show a working knowledge of one or more essential application domains;
  • use the methods and equipment required for engineering practice; and
  • show comprehension and the use of the ideas, models, and methods that serve as the foundation for the software lifecycle.

Free Courses for Associates in Software
Engineering Students

Free courses are usually non-credit and seldom lead to certification. Nevertheless, they are useful for students to gain more knowledge on a topic and help with assignments or exams. Here are a few platforms that offer free courses that associates in software engineering students can explore:

CourseDescriptionProvided by
Topics Related to Software EngineeringThe popular online-learning website Udemy offers several courses on topics such as software architecture, coding, algorithms, data structures, etc. While many are reasonably priced, some are free.Udemy
Topics Related to Software EngineeringedX offers free courses from industry stalwarts such as IBM and Microsoft and popular universities such as Stanford and Harvard.edX
Topics Related to Software EngineeringThe Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offers undergraduate and non-credit courses in various topics related to software engineering, including software engineering for web applicants, performance engineering of software systems, etc.MIT OpenCourseWare

How to get into the Associates in Software Engineering
Degree Program?

Students in high school who want to enroll in an associate degree program in software engineering must preferably have some computer science or software development background. Most schools require official high school, General Education Development (GED), or home school transcripts or certificates before making admissions decisions. Many schools may also require students to submit their ACT or SAT scores for admission into a program. Demonstrating proficiency and readiness in English, Math, and Computer Science will be advantageous. The following are some typical software engineering associates admissions requirements:

  • Admission or Application Form with its prescribed fee.
  • Official Academic Transcripts.
  • Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.5 or more (higher grades in English and Math preferred).
  • SAT or ACT Score (required by some schools)
  • Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose (required by some schools)
  • Proof of English Proficiency (if the native tongue is or education was not in English)

Note: Admission requirements differ by school and program. It is always advisable for students to check with the admissions office at their preferred school for specific requirements.

How Long does it take to complete the Associates in
Software Engineering Program?

An associates degree in software engineering usually requires at least 27 to 32 credits. It can generally be completed in about 2 years if attended full-time. If a college offers a part-time option for working adults, it would require between 2 and 3 years to complete (sometimes even longer). However, the time it takes to earn an associates in software engineering degree will vary depending on the community college and degree type chosen. If the degree program needs general education courses in addition to core coursework, one must complete all the necessary classes for the major, and one’s time in school will undoubtedly be extended. To sum up, this is how long it usually takes to get an associate’s degree in software engineering:

  • Time to complete full-time associates in software engineering program: about 2 Years.
  • Time to complete part-time associates in software engineering program: between 2 and 3 years.

Accelerated Associates in Software
Engineering Programs

Many universities allow students to pursue an online associate’s degree in software engineering part-time. Nonetheless, few will be able to complete the program in less than two years. Students may be able to complete their studies two to three months earlier than predicted, depending on their specialty, courses, and school. Some universities, however, provide accelerated degrees with a twist: they allow students to complete their associate’s program and then transfer most or all of their credits into a bachelor’s program, decreasing the overall duration of their bachelor’s degree.

Accreditations for Associates in Software
Engineering Programs

Accreditation is a crucial indicator of quality and worth. It demonstrates that a program’s curriculum adheres to commonly acknowledged criteria and produces graduates capable of achieving professional success. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) may accredit colleges or programs in the software engineering field (sometimes in addition to national/regional accreditation). Curriculum, student outcomes, student performance, facilities, instructors, and resources are among the factors used by the organization to evaluate software engineering schools.

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

Additionally, colleges can be nationally or regionally accredited by independent organizations recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). In the U.S., regionally accreditation is the most common form of accreditation and is typically awarded by six bodies:

To ensure quality, students should ensure that their chosen software engineering program is accredited by ABET, a regional or national accreditation authority, or both. Read the Guide to College Accreditation for more information on accreditation.

How to Pay for an Associates in Software
Engineering Program?

An associates in software engineering degree from a community college is more affordable than a four-year bachelor’s degree from a university. However, the price of further education, even the associates degree, can be out of reach for some people. For students looking to have their education funded from external sources, a wide range of funding options are available, including:


Scholarships, which students may easily locate, are a popular choice with students because they do not have to be paid back. They are usually given to students who demonstrate academic excellence or exhibit exceptional skills in art, music, sport, etc.


Grants are often given out based on the applicant’s financial need, though the applicant’s academic progress and strengths may also be taken into account. Like scholarships, the money received as a grant does not have to be paid back.

Student Loans

Students needing additional cash may want to consider applying for a student loan. Banks, credit unions, and the federal government are just a few of the many sources of student loans. It is noteworthy that the rising expense of higher education is mainly attributable to the rising cost of financing it, which is reflected in the high-interest rate on loans. Read about Donors for Student Loans and Grants for Student Loans to understand how one can apply for loan forgiveness to avoid repaying student loans.


The Free Application For Federal Student Aid or FAFSA is an application for federal financial aid that all prospective and current college students must complete to check their eligibility for federal aid and receive the best financial aid package possible. The FAFSA Student Aid guide explains more.

Read about financial aid and find out everything there is to know about college funding in the How to Pay for College guide.

FAQs Related to the Associates in Software
Engineering Degree Program

What is an associates in software engineering degree?

An entry-level degree in software engineering that takes two years to complete is called an associate’s degree. The foundational skills for software engineering will be covered in the program’s core courses. Essentially, the first two years of a bachelor’s degree in software engineering are covered in an associate degree program.

How much is an associates in software engineering?

What can you do with an associates in software engineering?

Where can you get an associates degree in software engineering?

Is an associates in software engineering worth anything?

How hard is it to get a job with an associates in software engineering?

How hard is an associates in software engineering to study?

Career Opportunities and Salaries after an Associates in
Software Engineering Degree

An associates degree in software engineering may appeal to those looking for a 4-year degree or an entry-level tech job. Jobs like software developer, software engineer, team leader, and project manager are all within reach with an associate degree in software engineering. IT project leaders and software development managers are the highest-paying jobs in software engineering for those with an associate degree.

Many entry-level tech careers are open to job seekers with an associates degree in software engineering, some of which include:

  • Computer Systems Analyst
  • Computer Programmer
  • Web Developer
  • Computer Research Assistant
  • Junior Software Developer

Listed below are examples of software engineering-related jobs, median annual salaries, and job growth, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, these jobs would almost certainly require additional educational qualifications and certifications. Still, they are a good indicator of what one can expect in the software engineering field.

Occupation Job DescriptionSkills RequiredMedian Annual SalaryJob Growth (up to 2030)
Computer Systems AnalystsComputer systems analysts, also known as systems architects, investigate and design improvements to an organization’s existing computer systems and procedures. As a result, these analysts contribute to the overall efficiency of the organization.Communication skills, analytical skills, organizational skills, business skills, creativity, detail-oriented$99,2707% (as fast as average)
Computer Support SpecialistsComputer support specialists help computer users and businesses. These professionals either maintain computer networks or provide direct technical assistance to computer users.Customer-service skills, problem-solving skills, communication skills, listening skills$57,9109% (as fast as average)
Computer ProgrammersComputer programmers create, modify, and test scripts and code that enable computer software and applications to work properly. They translate the blueprints produced by engineers and software developers into instructions that computers can understand.Communication skills, problem-solving skills, analytical skills, detail-oriented$93,000-10% (decline)
Computer Network ArchitectsComputer network architects plan and construct data communication networks such as LANs or local area networks, WANs or wide area networks, and intranets. They upgrade the hardware and software needed to support computer networks.Leadership skills, organizational skills, analytical skills, interpersonal skills, detail-oriented$120,5205% (slower than average)
Web Developers and Digital DesignersWebsites are created and maintained by web developers. They are also in charge of technical aspects of the site, such as performance and capacity, which are measures of a website’s speed and capacity to handle incoming and outgoing traffic.Customer-service skills, problem-solving skills, communication skills, creativity, detail-oriented$77,20013% (faster than average)

Certifications and Licensing for Associates in Software
Engineering Students

A software engineering certification validates and extends the skills and information gained in an academic setting. Technical expertise in a certain subfield of software engineering is supposed to be demonstrated by holding a specialized professional certification. While most certifications need at least a bachelor’s degree, the following may be achievable for students with previous qualifications or sufficient job experience:

Certified in Cyber Security

The Certified in Cyber Security entry-level credential is intended to show employers the knowledge of fundamental cybersecurity principles held by students, young professionals, and career changers as determined by cybersecurity professionals and practitioners already working in the sector. It is administered by (ISC)².

CIW Web Development Professional

The CIW Web Development Professional certification program is meant for anyone aspiring for a career in Web and IT technology. A Web Development Professional is defined by the essential mix of HTML5, a front-end scripting language, a back-end programming language, and the ability to link them with a database.

AWS Certified Developer

The Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certified Developer certification is designed for people who work in the developer role. The test verifies a candidate’s awareness of essential AWS services, uses, and basic AWS architecture best practices, as well as expertise in developing, deploying, and troubleshooting cloud-based applications utilizing AWS.

In almost all instances, licensing is not required to work as a software engineer.

Additional Resources for Associates in Software
Engineering Students

Building relationships with one’s peers in the scientific and engineering communities is crucial to success in these fields. Some examples of the work done by professional organizations include hosting conferences, publishing journals, and providing editorial services. They help members get jobs and further their careers by establishing educational and professional standards. Associate in software engineering students would do well to connect with such organizations to gain further insight into the subject. Here are a few to explore:

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the world’s biggest educational and scientific computing organization, provides resources that enhance computing as a science and a career. ACM maintains the computing field’s foremost Digital Library and delivers cutting-edge publications, conferences, and career tools to its members and the computing profession.

IEEE Computer Society (CS)

The IEEE Computer Society (CS) engages computer engineers, scientists, academics, and industry professionals from all fields of computing, fueling global technological growth. IEEE CS empowers, shapes, and directs the future of its members and the industry as a whole through conferences, publications, and programs, creating new opportunities to better serve the world.

Computing Research Association (CRA)

The Computing Research Association (CRA) has more than 200 North American members, including computer science and engineering departments, labs, and institutes in industry, government, and academia. CRA collaborates with these groups to represent the computing research community and impact change.

Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI)

The Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) is a nonprofit scientific society dedicated to understanding thought and intelligent behavior in computers. AAAI promotes AI research and use. It also aspires to raise public knowledge of AI, teach and train AI practitioners, and advise research planners and funders on AI’s usefulness and potential.

Association for Women in Computing (AWC)

The Association for Women in Computing (AWC), one of the first professional organizations for women in computing, is committed to advancing women in computing professions. Its members comprise a wide range of computer professionals, including programmers, operators, system analysts, Internet specialists, technical writers, trainers, and consultants.

Author Bio:

Brandon Mario D’Souza

Brandon is a registered social worker with Social Work England. He obtained his master’s in social work (personnel management & industrial relations) and used it in fields such as water treatment, construction, software, and education. Then he transitioned to the health and social care sector with an M.Sc. in health psychology. Brandon loves to write, cook, and play musical instruments (piano, guitar, melodica, ukulele, and kazoo) and enjoys the calmness and serenity of nature.


Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.


The average tuition (based on degree type for in-state students), average graduation rates, and rankings are based on data from various sources, including the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and are variable over time. All rankings and statistics are subject to change. The rankings are solely the opinion of Find Best Degrees (FBD) and are based on our proprietary methodology. They do not represent the views of the institutions or organizations mentioned, nor do they represent any official government census or survey. Furthermore, any views or opinions expressed on this page are of FBD’s researchers and teams. Unless otherwise specified, they do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the individuals, institutions, or organizations mentioned. This page’s content is provided solely for informational purposes, with data drawn from various sources, including IPEDS. FBD and its employees make no guarantees regarding the accuracy or completeness of any information found on this page or by following any link. FBD will not be held liable for any errors or omissions in this material nor any losses, injuries, or damages resulting from the exposure or use of this information. Although the information on this page is/was correct at the time of publication, readers should exercise caution because some or all of the provided information may have changed over time, potentially resulting in inaccuracies. For more information, please read our Terms of Service. Trademarks and logos are the property of their registered owners.