The degree is designed to serve the needs of professionals working in the field who want to boost their career by moving into software design and architecture, software management and other higher-level positions.
A master’s degree will help these workers reach that level faster than they would by working their way up. A master’s degree is equivalent to about five to seven years in the field, said Mehdi Mekni, assistant professor of software engineering.
Software engineering is a growing field with more than 13,000 projected annual job openings nationwide including more than 170 each year in Minnesota.
Where traditional Master of Science programs prepare students for research and advanced degrees such as a Ph.D., the Professional Science Master’s is for working professionals who want to pursue a degree to further educate themselves, obtain cutting-edge knowledge in the field and apply what they learn to their jobs and seek career advancement.
In addition to courses on advanced topics in software engineering, the program includes courses from the Herberger Business School’s Master of Business Administration that focus on important skills related to project management, communication, negotiation and business analysis that employers are seeking, said Mekni.
He developed the program together with Assistant Professor Omar Al-Azzam with support from the Industry Advisory Board.
Another aspect of the program tailored to working professionals is its focus on online offerings — the courses will be available fully online or online with one-on-one interaction opportunities between learners and instructors at St. Cloud State at Plymouth, he said.
Students can also choose between a 33-credit capstone project track where they’ll do a project in the workplace with their employer or the 36-credit supervised internship that includes software engineering development activities.
The program is accepting applications for fall through July 15.
That program has grown from eight students in the first semester to 149 students today. The first class of nine undergraduate students graduates this May. All nine students had signed contracts with employers the summer before their senior year.