Software Engineering Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Software Engineering?

Software engineering is the application of engineering concepts to software development. Software engineering takes into account engineering aspects like the hardware and software environment when working on a program.

Software engineers work on creating, maintaining, and managing software applications of various types. Software engineers have extensive knowledge of programming languages, software development, and computer operating systems, and they apply engineering principles to software creation.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering Software Engineering courses in the following subject areas:

  • Software Engineering – Enhance your knowledge and expertise in areas of current active research and development in software engineering.
  • Software Engineering (Diploma) – Study in the area of software design and development, providing an insight into technical skills and modern industry techniques.
  • Computer Science: Software Engineering – The study of computer science and related disciplines.
  • Software Engineering with Objects – The study of designing, building and testing software systems.
  • Software Engineering & Database Technologies – gain the necessary professional skills, conceptual frameworks, methods, technologies and hands-on experience of software development as a basis for a career in the IT industry.

Studying Software Engineering in college

There are many Software Engineering courses that take place over 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials and taught modules. Assessments will take place on a continuous basis with written examinations and practical assignments combined in order to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. Relevant work experience is a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in computing and is regarded favourably by employers.

Work Experience will not only give you the opportunity to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a course in Software Engineering you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of software engineering and computer science.

Software engineers are employed in a very broad range of sectors:

Specialist IT firms – such as IT consultancies, large IT providers, software development, internet providers and training firms; organisations that use IT software, systems and equipment, including retailers, law firms, business intelligence and market research organisations, education providers, the armed forces, the public sector and voluntary sector organisations.

Manufacturing industry – including automotive, navigation, telecommunications, manufacturing and construction companies.

Financial services – including global investment banks, financial/banking organisations, security market specialists and the pensions sector.

Public utilities – covering energy and water supply, energy extraction and transport.

Working hours will depend on whether you are employed by a company with set business hours or if you are contracted to various facilities or companies. The hours are usually full time, Monday to Friday. However, longer hours are often necessary towards the end of projects as deadlines approach, as well as during the testing stage so that systems can be tested when they’re not being used. In some cases, software engineers may be required to be on call to deal with problems. This can involve evening and weekend work in a shift pattern. Allowances may be available in these cases.

Related jobs include:

  • Software engineer
  • Software tester
  • Systems analyst
  • Junior Web Developer
  • Software Web Developer
  • Senior Software Web Developer
  • Lead Software Engineer
  • Technical Architect
  • Development Team Lead
  • Software Development Manager
  • Chief Technology Officer
  • Applications developer
  • Cyber security analyst
  • Game developer
  • Information systems manager
  • IT consultant
  • Multimedia programmer
  • Web designer
  • Application analyst
  • Database administrator
  • Forensic computer analyst
  • IT technical support officer

Further study

After completing a course in Software Engineering you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skillset. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practise in certain career areas such as technology, healthcare, automotive manufacturing, green energy, remote sensing, aeronautics, government, non-profit, and finance.


What is the difference between a software engineer and a software developer?

Software engineering applies engineering principles to create software that connects a client’s needs with technological solutions.

Software developers are responsible for the entire development process and are the driving creative force behind programs. They typically work together with the client to create a conceptual design and then have computer programmers create the programming code needed to run the software.

The main difference between software engineering and software development is that one oversees the engineering while the other focuses on creating functional programs.

Software engineers can be divided into two categories:

  • Applications Engineers
    Applications engineers create or adapt applications for businesses and organisations by analysing the end user’s needs. They will design, build, install, and maintain these applications or programs.
  • Systems Engineers
    Systems engineers coordinate the creation, maintenance and growth of a business or organisation’s computer systems. They coordinate each department’s needs, suggest technical direction, and set up any networks that link up computers with the company.

Where can I study Software Engineering?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

  • The first computer weighed more than 27 Tons. Her name was ENIAC, and she took up a modest 1800 square feet of space.
  • Doug Engelbart invented the first computer mouse in around 1964 which was made of wood.
  • About 70% of Virus Engineers work for Organized Crime Syndicates. This gives new weight to the importance of anti-virus and anti-malware software, and excellent virus removal services.
  • The daughter of famed poet Lord Byron, Augusta Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace — better known as “Ada Lovelace” — showed her gift for mathematics at an early age. She translated an article on an invention by Charles Babbage, and added her own comments. Because she introduced many computer concepts, Lovelace is considered the first computer programmer.
  • The first microprocessor created by Intel was the 4004. It was designed for a calculator, and at that time nobody imagined where it would lead.

Mariza Halliday

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