Computer information and control systems are becoming more and more integral to our daily life. Often, we are not even fully aware of how completely we rely on technology in our day to day lives. If you are interested in becoming a part of this booming industry, then studying software development in the US might be for you.
A software developer must be able to model and understand complex interactive systems, identify how computer information systems can be made to improve such systems, manage the construction of the information system components, and ensure that procedures are in place for the continual testing and maintenance of operational systems.
You might choose to study software development if you are determined, capable of thinking abstractly, and good at solving puzzles. In many ways, designing software is like piecing together a large puzzle with a team; each of you will add a piece and each piece depends on the others in order to work.
Software Development Major
When studying software development in the United States, you will study the scientific and mathematical basis of computer software, learn a number of different programming languages, and how to design, analyze, and maintain software. You will take classes in both computer science and computer engineering and learn all aspects of designing, building, and revising large, complicated software systems. You may also choose to intern off-campus at a software company, which will allow to you gain real-world experience in the software development field, increasing your chances of employment following graduation.
Your experience as a software development major depends largely on the type of program in which you are enrolled. If your program is in an engineering department, you’ll learn more about the hardware issues that affect software; if you enroll in a program based in a computer science department, you will focus more on theory and math.
You may also be required to complete a senior project or capstone course in your final year. This project generally involves software development in teams, and allows you and your teammates to put your knowledge to practical use. In some cases, outside companies will sponsor these projects, presenting students with real problems that are in need of a solution. This is a great way to establish yourself in the professional software development world before graduation.
What to Look for in a Software Development Program
If you decide that you want to study software development in the US, here are some questions you need to ask about any programs you might be considering:
- Is the campus equipped with a sophisticated computer network, and does it have the appropriate software development tools for software development students?
- Is the program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology?
- Does the faculty have practical experience, as well as academic? Have they built large software systems?
- What is the senior project or capstone course like?
- Does the department have ties to local companies that offer software development internships?
As a software development major, you will most likely take the following courses:
- Discrete math
- Fundamentals of software development
- Introduction to computer science
- Operating systems
- Programming language concepts
- Software architecture and design
- Software testing and quality assurance
- Systems analysis
- Website design
Careers in Software Development
Software engineers are among the highest-paid professionals in the world. They are in demand not only at software development companies, but also in governments, telecommunications companies, the chemical industry, the bio-medical industry, financial institutions, agribusinesses, pharmaceuticals, healthcare sector corporations, and engineering and manufacturing firms—really any organization that is involved in the development of significant information systems. The demand for software engineers is constantly growing; says noted software engineer David Parnas: “career opportunities for software engineers are essentially unlimited.”
Due to the rapidly changing nature of the technology industry, you will need to keep an open mind in regards to your future job. You may find that by the time you finish college, the job you imagined having has changed significantly or ceased to exist entirely. You must be compared to be constantly learning in order to keep up with the changing technology if you want to continue to be successful as a software engineer.