For software engineering students and working professionals alike, there are few places in the country more exciting to be than the Commonwealth of Virginia. One of its greatest strengths is its unyielding support for startups, research, and partnerships with private sector technology firms.
With a promising job outlook and a commitment to supporting higher education institutions, Virginia is positioned to be one of the leaders in software development and technology within the next decade.
Software Engineering Landscape in Virginia
In 2018, the Commonwealth of Virginia set forth ambitious plans to heavily invest in cybersecurity and emerging technologies. Now in the fifth year of these plans, Virginia is well on its way to fulfilling its vision to “to serve as an engine for research, innovation, and commercialization of cybersecurity technologies, and address the Commonwealth’s need for growth of advanced and professional degrees within the cyber workforce.”
In 2022, Virginia announced $38M in new research grants and contracts. Perhaps even more significant, Virginia has established ongoing partnerships with 41 higher education institutions, opening the door to greater job opportunities, a skilled workforce, and an environment that supports startups and tech firms.
Not only does this commitment improve the job outlook for software engineers; it raises the profile of their universities, meaning students who are entering the software engineering field today will have greater opportunities than ever before to develop their skills and a meaningful career path, and find jobs at some of the leading technology and software development companies.
Software Engineering Education in Virginia
Students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in Virginia will find many impressive software engineering programs throughout the Commonwealth.
Virginia Commonwealth University provides several exciting computer science degree tracks, including a BS in computer science with a concentration in software engineering. Additionally, VCU undergraduates have the option to enroll in an accelerated BS/MS degree program, enabling them to complete a graduate-level degree in as little as five years.
VCU stands out among Virginia universities not only for its rigorous curriculum but also for its highly respected faculty. In both 2021 and 2022, VCU faculty from the College of Engineering were among the most-cited researchers in the country.
At Liberty University, students can earn a BS in computer science – software engineering from one of the nation’s top-rated Christian universities. Students in Liberty’s undergraduate program are trained “in the principles and techniques of computer science, engineering, and mathematical analysis,” allowing them to enter post-graduation careers with leading software development and engineering firms.
George Mason University offers a research-focused undergraduate degree in computer engineering, giving students hands-on experience in the design of new devices and systems, including supercomputers, artificial intelligence, and IoT technology. The BS degree program is specifically designed to help students enter career fields at leading tech companies immediately upon graduation, with former students earning positions at Google, Amazon, and General Electric.
Marymount University was recently named in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges list for the first time in its history—a clear indication of the Catholic university’s continued commitment to development and excellence. At Marymount’s College of Business, Innovation, Leadership, and Technology, graduate students can earn an MS in information technology with a specialization in software engineering.
At Stratford University, students can earn an MS in software engineering in as little as 15 months, completing the degree program in person or online. While ensuing their individual coursework, students also have the option to join cooperative education cohorts, allowing them to practice their newly developed skills in real-world settings.
For students seeking a fully online graduate degree option, Strayer University offers an online MS in software engineering management. Featuring twelve 11-week courses, the MS degree culminates in a capstone project in which students “examine and address real-world projects and problems and apply project management techniques to create practical solutions.”
In addition to its undergraduate and graduate degrees, Virginia Tech offers a graduate certificate in software development—a four-course track that can serve as a stand-alone online program or as part of the larger Master of Information Technology degree.
Virginia Western Community College offers an online, two-year Career Studies Certificate in IT Technology: Database and Program Development. A proud partner of the Cisco Networking Academy, Virginia Western offers challenging coursework in diverse fields such as software engineering, database administration, and Java development.
Software Engineering Jobs in Virginia
Because of key investments by Virginia policy makers, the job outlook is increasingly optimistic for software engineers. The Virginia Employment Commission Economic Information & Analytics Division projects that by 2028 software development will be one of the fastest-growing job sectors across the Commonwealth. Within the next five years, there are expected to be over 12,000 jobs added annually, with a median annual salary of over $110K.
General Dynamics Information Technology is one company seeking new talent with a focus on aeronautics and cybersecurity. Currently, it has over 600 available positions for software engineers, making GDIT a great choice for recent graduates looking to embark on their careers.
Based in Reston, Leidos is another large corporation that is looking to increase its staff. For graduates seeking careers in aerospace and defense, Leidos currently has over 900 available software engineering positions.
Virginia continues to lean heavily into new and emerging technologies, making it an ideal place for students to earn a software engineering degree and launch the career of their dreams.