Electrical engineering is a broad discipline, opening the doors to many different specializations.
Likewise, computer science has many different focuses such as software engineering.
While these are typically two distinct focuses, you may wonder if it is possible to become a software engineer while pursuing electrical engineering academically or later in your career.
In this detailed guide, you will find if this is possible and all the details associated with this potential career move.
An electrical engineer can be a software engineer, because the disciplines and fields overlap in many work environments.
Electrical engineering focuses on researching, designing, developing, and installing physical, electrical systems and their components.
On the other hand, software engineering centers on researching, designing, developing, and running non-tangible computer programs.
Although these are distinct programs, electrical engineers who have software development skills are more desirable than those with only engineering degrees.
As long as you have programming and computing courses to showcase proficiency, employers recognize your math may be at a higher level than most software engineers.
To become a software engineer, you will need an undergraduate degree in software engineering.
Alternatively, you can complete a degree in computer engineering, computer science, or computer programming.
Although many software engineers enter the job market with only an undergraduate degree, others find higher paying positions by pursuing higher academic degrees or completing short certifications.
You may decide to pursue software engineering courses coupled with another academic discipline, such as electrical engineering.
This way, you can broaden the scope of your knowledge and skills.
After your undergraduate degree, you can either pursue higher academic levels (Masters or PhD), you can obtain field experience and put together a portfolio of important projects, or obtain certifications.
Certifications may be particularly important if you are coming from an electrical engineering background, to clearly display your skill.
Popular certifications include:
- Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional
- Certified Software Development Professional
- Certified Web Development Professional
- Certified Management Professional
- International Software Testing Qualifications Board
- Certified Associate in Software Testing
- Computer Education & Technology Promotion Association
- Certified Software Testing Engineer
After gathering all your qualifications, you can find an excellent job in almost any domain including communications networks, computers, AI and robotics, commerce, insurance, banking, and healthcare.
Best Courses For Software Engineers
Whether you are taking a software engineering program and looking to supplement with further classes or taking classes outside of electrical engineering, the following courses may be of interest:
- Object-Oriented Programming
- Project Management
- Algorithm Design and Analysis
- Operating Systems
- Software Design
- Software Testing
- Mission Critical Systems
- Programming Languages
- Mobile App Development
- Web Programming/Web Design
- Artificial Intelligence or Robotics
- Data Analysis and Processing
- UI/UX Development
- Cyber Security
Learn more about the differences between electrical engineering and AI.
Electrical engineering is a broad discipline and involves a great amount of abstract thinking.
Some people may find this more difficult, as working with unseen components is complex.
Computer engineers need to learn components computer science to research, design, and build efficient computer systems.
Hardware engineers must know the fundamental concepts of electrical engineering.
Software engineers can benefit from knowledge in signal processing and other concepts of electrical engineering, but it is not a necessity.
Therefore, computer engineering often focuses more on practical and concrete work than electrical engineering.
If you are looking for a high amount of available jobs, job stability and advancement opportunities, it is best to choose software engineering.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the job market will grow 22% between 2020 and 2030, offering 409,500 more software engineering jobs.
On the other hand, electrical engineering offers modest or average growth in the same period.
They predict 7% growth between 2020 and 2030, providing 20,400 more electrical engineering jobs.
On top of that, software engineers often choose to complete certifications in order to obtain a specialized position.
However, many electrical engineers need to complete a graduate degree to obtain specialized jobs or acquire more responsibility.
Since software engineering may offer better job opportunities from similar amounts of work, software engineering may be a better practical choice.
Software engineers earn more on average than electrical engineers, at entry-level jobs.
That said, salaries do increase depending on employer, specialization, expertise, and experience.
For instance, if you work for prestigious companies such as Apple, Samsung, or Google, you could earn more than $150,000 per year as a software engineer.
In contrast, you could earn more than $170,000 per year working as an electrical engineer for Lam Research or Sandia National Laboratories.
Interested in other opportunities for electrical engineers? Electrical engineers can transition into aerospace.
A path from electrical engineering to software engineering can increase your job opportunities and salary.
Since specializing in software engineering after completing an electrical engineering degree is so simple, it may be the perfect way to open more doors for yourself.
If you find you are passionate about software design or development, enroll in a few software engineering courses to further your knowledge and your skill. Your electrical engineering history will only bolster your qualifications!