Northwestern launches new major in software engineering

Student in a computer science courseNorthwestern College will begin offering a major in software engineering next fall.

The new major is designed to prepare students for careers in software engineering and development, database administration, and web and mobile app development. The program will focus on how software is developed in industry.

“We’re excited to provide students with a program that addresses modern, cutting-edge technology and gives them experience working on projects in a real-life setting,” says Dr. Mike Wallinga, assistant professor of computer science and department chair. “We’ve had a number of graduates work in software engineering, including for Google and Microsoft, but this program will offer better preparation, bridging the skills gap between what academics is producing and what industry wants: the ability to design, test, validate, calibrate and work with teams.”

The new major is based on standards recommended by the Association for Computing Machinery. It will include required courses in such areas as web development, data management systems, principles of software engineering, cybersecurity, management, and calculus. Numerous additional courses will be available, including data structures, networking, concurrency and parallelism, and data mining and machine learning.

Students will learn how to write code in a variety of programming languages and develop efficient algorithms to solve problems. Additionally, students will study best practices for project management, design, testing, documentation, verification and quality assurance. Large-scale projects and teamwork are integrated throughout the curriculum to provide hands-on experiences simulating real-world practices.

The software engineering major will join a major in computer science, designed to prepare students for graduate school or research-oriented industry positions, as well as a minor in computer programming and a career concentration in computer science.

Study computer science at Northwestern

Northwestern’s computer science program can lead to a career in analytics, database management, game design, network administration, programming, software engineering, web development, research or more. Our graduates enjoy 100% career placement rates, mostly in high-paying jobs at companies that include Apple, Google, IBM, Microsoft and Lockheed Martin. They are in demand because of their knowledge of theory, their hands-on experience in real-world settings, and the values and critical-thinking skills that make them exemplary employees.