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Here’s what the Department of Labor says:

That’s taken from the 2004 Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook and it lays out in concise form where a degree specializing in software development will take you.  It also makes the point that the job is going to require continuing education – it is almost as critical in software as it is in medicine.  In both sectors, technology is moving so fast that it is impossible to stay abreast of the professional field without a disciplined program of continuing study.

Software programmers can probably break in with good experience and an associates’ degree.  If you want to get beyond code writing to conceptualization and program design however, a bachelors’ degree is probably required.  One of the appealing aspects of online education is that you can achieve a bachelors’ degree in a relatively short amount of time if you have credits you can transfer over from previous stints in college.  Moreover, there are online certification programs both for software languages and for operating systems that give you the opportunity to keep current in your profession from your home.

The median salary of a software developer in 2004 was $74,000.  That figure goes up substantially in the fields of scientific research and development.

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Salaries with Software Development Degrees

Average annual earnings with Software Development Degrees in May 2004.

  • Lowest 10 % earned $50,420
  • Median $79,740
  • Highest 10% earned $118,350

Related occupations with Visual Communication Degrees:

  • Scientific research and development services $91,390
  • Computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing 87,800
  • Software publishers 83,670
  • Computer systems design and related services 79,950
  • Wired telecommunications carriers 74,370