What's it like for students at WGU?
At WGU, your experience is our obsession! You're in charge of your college education—but you're never alone.
Find out how different WGU is about personalizing and supporting your education.
Part of Western Governors University
Learn more about the B.S. Software Development degree, and see why it could be the right fit for your future.Learn More
A degree in software development opens all kinds of doors in the IT world. Learning and gaining expertise in programming languages and IT fundamentals can propel your career forward in an exciting way. A good software development degree will help you learn about programming languages, software design principles, user experience (UX), and other IT basics. A degree in software development will give you valuable skills along with credentials and certifications that can make you more competitive in the job market.
Jump to career:
Software developers create computer programs—from games to customized business software. Software developers use their skills to create applications that perform specific computer tasks or develop the underlying systems that control the computer networks. They analyze the needs of a market and create programs to fill those gaps. Designing programs involves creating each individual piece of the software and planning how those pieces will fit together. Software designers go on to test, make upgrades and patches, and integrate their software into organizations or systems around the world.
Software developers tend to be very well paid because of the specific qualifications they must have in order to do their job. The median annual salary for software developers is over $103,000 per year. Entry-level software developers make over $61,000 per year, while the top 10% earn more than $161,000 each year. Technology is impacting every single area of our life, so software developers are constantly needed to make new applications and programs to meet demand.
Most software developers will need at least a bachelor's degree to be qualified for this career. A degree will give you the specific knowledge of programming languages that you need in order to be a developer. You will learn about user experience, operating systems, data manipulation, and more. A bachelor's degree can be the key to you getting onto the path for a career in software development.
The software development field is expected to grow 21% by 2028, much higher than the national average for career growth. As technology continues to grow and advance, more companies will need specialized software to meet their needs. Games, business software, healthcare programs, and more will continue to be in high demand, making qualified software developers also in high demand.
job growth by 2028
Computer network architects build data communication for an organization. This can include local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and intranets. These tech networks can work for connections between a few workers in an office or a giant infrastructure that services multiple customers. Network architects create layouts for the communication network, explain to management how these networks will work, make sure security is the top priority for these communication systems, upgrade hardware to meet standards, research new technologies, and more.
According to the BLS, computer network architects can expect to earn $109,020 per year on average. The lowest 10% of computer network architects earn around $60,000, with the highest 10% earning over $164,000 each year. Technological fields tend to be higher paying than other fields, due to the specific skills that IT careers require.
A degree in software development is a great start to a future in career network architecture. Software development helps prepare computer network architects by giving them an understanding of underlying computer systems and programming languages, which are often needed to construct communication avenues between networks. Software development helps you understand the ways computers communicate, a key feature in establishing their architecture and system management.
Employment of computer network architects is expected to grow 5% in the next 10 years. This is about as fast as the national average, which means that, over time, more organizations will be adding these positions to their payrolls. There will be plenty of tech job opportunities for those interested in pursuing this career path.
job growth by 2030
Software engineers are slightly different from software developers. While they have the same knowledge of programming languages and systems, they apply engineering principles to software creation. This allows them to create highly customized software for individual clients. They use mathematical analysis and computer programming to help create specific programs. They may work hand in hand with software developers or computer programmers, handing the actual coding to them once they have written the blueprint of how a program will work.
On average, software engineers earn a yearly salary of over $86,000. Entry-level software engineers can expect a salary of $61,000 per year, while the top 10% will likely earn a salary of over $126,000 per year. Software engineers typically work for individual clients, so the client and industry they work for directly impacts their salary level.
A software development degree is the perfect place to start for a career in software development. A degree in software development will help students learn about programming languages, systems, and the needs of software applications and programs. This degree will enhance your ability to plan out software programs in a way that will be beneficial for a company.
Software engineering positions are expected to grow 21% by 2028, as quickly as software developer positions. Software engineers are in high demand as organizations require specific computer programs for their companies. Clients are continually hiring software engineers to help them plan and map out the best software systems possible.
job growth by 2028
Hardware engineers are in charge of researching, designing, and testing new computer hardware. This can include processors, circuit boards, networks, and routers. Computer hardware engineers utilize a combination of engineering, design, and technical skills to create needed hardware. They analyze and test results, modify design, update computer equipment so it can work with new software, and more. They are crucial players in how computer systems run and how devices connect.
Computer hardware engineers make $114,600 per year on average, with those who have more experience and education earning even more. Entry-level hardware engineers can make around $68,000 per year, with the top 10% earning more than $185,000 per year. Based on the size of the company you work for and where it’s located, your income is likely to vary. Your education level can also play a big role in your salary potential.
Hardware engineers can benefit from a degree in software development. An understanding of computer software can improve how you interact with computer hardware. Many IT degrees will include basics in computer hardware and software, and a deeper understanding of software systems and how they work be important knowledge for hardware engineers.
Employment for computer hardware engineers is expected to grow 6% by 2026, which is on par with the national average for career growth. This means that those who are qualified should be able to find job opportunities all around the country. A degree can set you apart from the competition when looking for computer hardware positions.
job growth by 2026