Exploding population growth and an increased investment in technological solutions have made Florida a premier destination for software engineers. The state is also home to many top undergraduate and graduate schools, including some of the nation’s foremost research institutions.
Florida’s rich heritage in aeronautics, security, and technology, coupled with its increasing population, means there are countless opportunities there for software engineers to build a rewarding career.
The Software Engineering Landscape in Florida
With connections to the space industry as well as some of the largest tech firms in the country, Florida has long been known for its commitment to growth and innovation. Recent developments indicate this trend is not likely to slow down anytime soon.
One of the most important reasons Florida continues to invest heavily in network and technological solutions is its rapidly growing population. Since 2021 more than half a million people have relocated to the Sunshine State—and tech companies are responding to the population increase in a variety of ways.
Verizon has already allocated over $150M to improve network solutions throughout Florida, while many other companies, including L3Harris and Roper, are actively seeking new software engineers to join their workforce.
With most entry-level positions requiring at least a BS degree, it is a great time for prospective software engineers to consider earning their degree from one of Florida’s top universities.
Software Engineering Education in Florida
Florida is home to several exceptional software engineering programs. For students seeking a BS degree or pursuing graduate-level education, there are many strong academic tracks to choose.
Florida Gulf Coast University delivers a robust BS in software engineering track, allowing students to explore exciting coursework in both computer science and software engineering. The program is designed to prepare graduates for careers “in application software development [and] system software development, as well as for further graduate study.”
Lab facilities include the Viper Lab, home to “virtual reality and all its applications,” two computer science classrooms, a dedicated software engineering lab, and a software design studio, where students “plan, build, design, and analyze their projects.”
For students who are seeking the flexibility of online learning, Florida International University offers a fully remote bachelor’s degree in computer engineering. With courses in hardware architecture and software engineering, Florida International University prepares graduates for exciting careers with some of the nation’s top employers, including Boeing and Intel.
University of Miami offers both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in software engineering, giving dedicated students the chance to increase their knowledge and skills in an ever-evolving industry. The MS in Software Engineering is geared toward professionals, allowing them to complete the program in as little as one year while taking courses in subjects such as artificial intelligence and learning, cybersecurity, cloud-based and mobile application development, data analysis, and data science. Their dual BS/MS degree is a five-year program, which provides core training in computer engineering before focusing on the software engineering specialization.
Florida Institute of Technology is one of the most highly-respected universities in the state, offering a stellar MS in software engineering program that emphasizes lab research as well as the application of skills in real-world settings. Florida Tech graduates have gone on to work with NASA as well as national corporations such Google, Microsoft, and Lockheed Martin.
A world-class research institution located along the famed Space Coast, Florida Tech also earned the designation as an NSA/DHS Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Research. The L3Harris Institute for Assured Information is an “interdisciplinary center that focuses on high-risk disruptive work aimed at helping us trust the information that we so often rely on,” allowing students to solve real-world problems during their academic training.
St. Petersburg College offers a one-year certification program in computer programming for working professionals. This rigorous training program can help students advance in their careers or switch to a more tech-intensive field. For students seeking an entry-level program to explore software engineering more thoroughly, the certificate program can serve as a stepping stone into St. Petersburg’s associate’s or bachelor’s degree programs.
Tallahassee Community College offers a similar certification track, a 33-credit hour program that allows professionals to further their skills or eventually join the accredited Computer Programming and Web Development Associate’s Degree program.
Software Engineering Jobs in Florida
With a BS in software engineering, graduates will find a strong job market awaiting them. Along with the major international tech firms such as Roper, there are many innovative companies searching for new talent.
Online business directory Florida Smart recently named the 8 Top Tech Companies in Florida, which include JHT Incorporated and Sykes Enterprises. Tyco Integrated Security (a division of Tyco International) and Astadia are also mentioned, with Modernizing Medicine rounding out the list for graduates who wish to use their skills in the medical industry.
With so much growth and expansion throughout Florida, it should come as no surprise that “software engineer” is projected to be one of the fastest-growing jobs over the next decade. According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, software developers and software quality analysts are projected to rise by nearly 17% by 2030, with over 70,000 jobs slated to open during that period.
Overall, it is an exciting time for software engineers nationwide. And in Florida, the future appears to be especially bright.