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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree in Software Engineering

Majors Overview December 9, 2013

An Associate of Engineering (A.E.) degree and an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree are different options for associate degrees in software engineering. Both degrees prepare those interested for work in the software engineering technician field. An Associate of Engineering (A.E.) program is normally offered through an engineering department; Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) programs can be offered in other departments.

A.A. Programs in Software Engineering

Students enrolled in Associate programs in software engineering are trained in maintaining and developing software systems and applications. Students can expect to become adept in the key procedures, processes and techniques involved in the creation of software. Students enrolled in these programs are helped to develop the skills necessary for testing, analysis and troubleshooting of systems, as well. It takes approximately two years to complete most programs that typically require applicants to hold GED certificates or high school diplomas before seeking admission.


Core coursework in a software engineering program revolves around the technical skills of the field. Some basic computer concepts and advanced mathematics are also taught to students enrolled in the program. Topic areas such as teamwork, conflict management, project planning and business are also included in coursework that includes subjects such as:

•Network administration
•C++ programming
•Computer security
•Web design
•Database management
•Network infrastructures

Career Choices

Graduates from these programs can seek entry-level computer technician positions as well as management positions with a technical orientation. They may seek occupations in the areas of software installation, maintenance, testing and design, in non-profit organizations, government agencies and small or large companies, and engage in work that involves:

•System engineering
•Web development
•Maintenance and development
•Database administration

Continuing Education Choices

Recruiters for software engineering positions prefer candidates with bachelor’s degrees (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). Programs may allow graduates of an associate degree program to transfer into a bachelor’s degree program in mathematics, computer information systems, computer science or software engineering.

Voluntary certifications in the field will help professionals to enhance their job prospects by thus being able to showcase their skills and knowledge. Professional organizations and product vendors offer such certifications.

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