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Career and Education Opportunities for Software Engineers in Columbia, Maryland

Software engineer career and educational opportunities abound in Columbia, Maryland. The national trend for software engineers sees this job pool growing by about 13.1% over the next eight years. In general, software engineers design and develop solutions to complex applications problems, system administration issues, or network concerns.

The income of a software engineer is about $43 per hour or $91,420 per year on average in Maryland. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $36 per hour or $75,150 per year on average. Incomes for software engineers are better than in the overall category of Computer in Maryland, and better than the overall Computer category nationally. People working as software engineers can fill a number of jobs, such as: web architect, system architect, and computer systems architect.

There are eleven schools within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can study to be a software engineer, among 109 schools of higher education total in the Columbia area. Given that the most common education level for software engineers is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years studying to be a software engineer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Software Engineer

In general, software engineers design and develop solutions to complex applications problems, system administration issues, or network concerns. They also perform systems management and integration functions.

Software engineers furnish advice on project costs or layout changes. They also document layout specifications and other system-related data. Equally important, software engineers have to verify the stability or scalability of system architecture. They are often called upon to complete models and simulations, using manual or automated tools, to analyze or predict system performance under different operating conditions. They are expected to identify system data or software components used to meet user needs. Finally, software engineers collaborate with engineers or software developers to decide on appropriate layout solutions or insure the compatibility of system components.

Every day, software engineers are expected to be able to write clearly and communicate well. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they read and understand documents and reports.

It is important for software engineers to perform ongoing hardware and software maintenance operations, including installing or upgrading hardware or software. They are often called upon to research or verify proper functioning of software patches and fixes. They also train system users in system operation or maintenance. They are sometimes expected to perform security analyses of developed or packaged software components. Somewhat less frequently, software engineers are also expected to train system users in system operation or maintenance.

They also have to be able to communicate project data through presentations, technical reports or white papers and evaluate current or emerging technologies to consider factors such as cost or usability. And finally, they sometimes have to direct the installation of operating systems, network or application software, or computer or network hardware.

Like many other jobs, software engineers must be able to absorb the factors involved and a problem and provide a well thought out solution and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Columbia include:

  • Applications Programmer. Develop, create, and modify general computer applications software or specialized utility programs. Analyze user needs and develop software solutions. Design software or customize software for client use with the aim of optimizing operational efficiency. May analyze and design databases within an application area, working individually or coordinating database development as part of a team.
  • Computer Programmer. Convert project specifications and statements of problems and procedures to detailed logical flow charts for coding into computer language. Develop and write computer programs to store, locate, and retrieve specific documents, data, and information. May program web sites.
  • Computer Scientist. Conduct research into fundamental computer and information science as theorists, designers, or inventors. Solve or develop solutions to problems in the field of computer hardware and software.
  • Computer Security Specialist. Plan, coordinate, and implement security measures for information systems to regulate access to computer data files and prevent unauthorized modification, destruction, or disclosure of information.
  • Computer Support Specialist. Provide technical assistance to computer system users. Answer questions or resolve computer problems for clients in person, via telephone or from remote location. May provide assistance concerning the use of computer hardware and software, including printing, and operating systems.
  • Computer Systems Analyst. Analyze science, engineering, and all other data processing problems for application to electronic data processing systems. Analyze user requirements, procedures, and problems to automate or improve existing systems and review computer system capabilities, workflow, and scheduling limitations. May analyze or recommend commercially available software. May supervise computer programmers.
  • Computer Systems Engineer. Research, design, and test operating systems-level software, compilers, and network distribution software for medical, industrial, and general computing applications. Set operational specifications and formulate and analyze software requirements. Apply principles and techniques of computer science, engineering, and mathematical analysis.
  • Network Operations Analyst. Determine user requirements and design specifications for computer networks. Plan and implement network upgrades.
  • Network Systems and Data Communications Analyst. Analyze, design, and evaluate network systems, such as local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), Internet, intranet, and other data communications systems. Perform network modeling, analysis, and planning. Research and recommend network and data communications hardware and software. Includes telecommunications specialists who deal with the interfacing of computer and communications equipment. May supervise computer programmers.
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrator. Install, configure, and support an organization's local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), and Internet system or a segment of a network system. Maintain network hardware and software. Monitor network to ensure network availability to all system users and perform necessary maintenance to support network availability. May supervise other network support and client server specialists and plan, coordinate, and implement network security measures.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Software Engineer Training

Stratford University - Falls Church, VA

Stratford University, 7777 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22043-2403. Stratford University is a small university located in Falls Church, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,644 students. Stratford University has a master's degree program in Computer Software Engineering which graduated 202 students in 2008.

University of Maryland-Baltimore County - Baltimore, MD

University of Maryland-Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250. University of Maryland-Baltimore County is a large university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 12,268 students and an admission rate of 72%. University of Maryland-Baltimore County has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Computer Engineering which graduated thirty, four, and two students respectively in 2008.

University of the District of Columbia - Washington, DC

University of the District of Columbia, 4200 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008. University of the District of Columbia is a medium sized university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 5,339 students. University of the District of Columbia has a bachelor's degree program in Computer Software Engineering which graduated three students in 2008.

Towson University - Towson, MD

Towson University, 8000 York Rd, Towson, MD 21252-0001. Towson University is a large university located in Towson, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 21,111 students and an admission rate of 61%. Towson University has a postbaccalaureate certificate program in Computer Software Engineering.

Capitol College - Laurel, MD

Capitol College, 11301 Springfield Rd, Laurel, MD 20708. Capitol College is a small college located in Laurel, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 701 students and an admission rate of 38%. Capitol College has a bachelor's degree program in Computer Engineering.

George Washington University - Washington, DC

George Washington University, 2121 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052. George Washington University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,027 students and an admission rate of 37%. George Washington University has bachelor's degree, postbaccalaureate certificate, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Computer Engineering which graduated two, one, six, and five students respectively in 2008.

Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD

Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N Charles St, Mason Hall, Baltimore, MD 21218-2688. Johns Hopkins University is a large university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,049 students and an admission rate of 26%. Johns Hopkins University has a bachelor's degree program in Computer Engineering which graduated three students in 2008.

University of Maryland-College Park - College Park, MD

University of Maryland-College Park, , College Park, MD 20742. University of Maryland-College Park is a large university located in College Park, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 37,000 students and an admission rate of 39%. University of Maryland-College Park has a bachelor's degree program in Computer Engineering which graduated fifty students in 2008.

DeVry University-Virginia - Arlington, VA

DeVry University-Virginia, 2450 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202-3843. DeVry University-Virginia is a small university located in Arlington, Virginia. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 739 students and an admission rate of 93%. DeVry University-Virginia has a bachelor's degree program in Computer Software Engineering which graduated one student in 2008.

University of Maryland-University College - Adelphi, MD

University of Maryland-University College, 3501 University Blvd East, Adelphi, MD 20783-8010. University of Maryland-University College is a large university located in Adelphi, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 34,130 students. University of Maryland-University College has a postbaccalaureate certificate program in Computer Software Engineering which graduated eight students in 2008.

George Mason University - Fairfax, VA

George Mason University, 4400 University Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444. George Mason University is a large university located in Fairfax, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 30,800 students and an admission rate of 63%. George Mason University has 2 areas of study related to Software Engineer. They are:

  • Computer Engineering, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated fifteen and fifteen students respectively in 2008.
  • Computer Software Engineering, postbaccalaureate certificate which graduated 7 students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified GIS/LIS Technologist: This is certification is for technicians who integrate a variety of spatial data sets into a GIS format designed for graphic output or analysis.

For more information, see the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing - Imaging & Geospatial Information Society website.

Certified Confidentiality Officer: Professional certification validates your training and experience in your present career.

For more information, see the Business Espionage Controls and Countermeasures Association website.

CIW Associate: Certified CIW Associates possess the basic hands-on skills and knowledge that Internet professionals are expected to understand and use.

For more information, see the Certified Internet Web Professionals website.

CIW Security Analyst: Security Analysts protect an organization's assets and operations.

For more information, see the Certified Internet Web Professionals website.

Internet and Computing Core Certification: IC is the ideal starting point for anyone interested in learning computer and Internet basics.

For more information, see the Certiport, Inc website.

CompTIA PDI Certification: Servicing and supporting devices and technologies associated with the printing and document imaging industry requires extensive training to ensure qualified, able technicians.

For more information, see the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) website.

Storage Technologist: You will learn to capture and analyze business requirements, design solutions, and implement plans in a process-oriented workshop using real-world case studies.

For more information, see the EMC Corporation website.

Biomedical Electronics Technician: Biomedical electronics technicians are expected to obtain knowledge of the principles of modern biomedical techniques, the proper procedure in the care, handling and maintenance of biomedical equipment and to display an attitude/behavior expected of an electronics technician who works in a hospital or healthcare environment.

For more information, see the ETA International website.

Certified Satellite Installer: Earning a Certified Satellite Installer (CSI) certification means you possess the knowledge and skills essential to a successful satellite technician as defined by experts in the field.

For more information, see the ETA International website.

Certified Network Computer Technician: Certified Network Computer Technicians are expected to obtain knowledge of computer electronics basic concepts, Internet and networking technology applicable to various areas of the computer industry.

For more information, see the ETA International website.

Telecommunications: The following is a listing of the major areas required for courses, training or study in Telecommunications Electronics: 1.

For more information, see the ETA International website.

Wireless Communications: Technicians seeking the ETA Certified Electronics Technician specialty are required to have a basic education in fundamental electronics.

For more information, see the ETA International website.

Student Electronics Technician (High School Level): Training electronics workers as entry level, apprenticed, installer personnel should include the following 19 Categories: Electrical Theory, Electronic Components, Soldering-Desoldering and Tools, Block Diagrams, Schematics-Wiring Diagrams, Cabling, Power Supplies, Test Equipment & Measurements, Safety Precautions, Mathematics and Formulas, Electronic Circuits: Series and Parallel, Amplifiers, Interfacing of Electronics Products, Digital Concepts and Circuitry, Computer Electronics, Computer Applications, Audio & Video Systems, Optical Electronics, Telecommunications Basics, and Technician Work Procedures.

For more information, see the ETA International website.

Stay Sharp Program - Defeating Rogue Access Points: Security professionals who are concerned about the weaknesses of wireless networks.

For more information, see the Global Information Assurance Certification website.

Ethics in IT: All IT professionals including: Systems administrators, auditors, information security officers, programmers, systems analysts, database administrators, Information service providers, contractors, consultants.

For more information, see the Global Information Assurance Certification website.

IBM Certified Solution Expert - Cognos 8 BI: The BI Solution Expert (Professional) is responsible to analyze, plan, design, deploy, and operate Cognos 8 applications using an appropriate methodology and development approach.

For more information, see the IBM Corporation website.

IBM Certified SOA Associate: This entry level certification is intended for individuals who work on SOA projects, such as architects, technical sales people, sales people, administrators, application developers, business analysts, project managers, system integrators, business integrators, managers, project sponsors and others.

For more information, see the IBM Corporation website.

Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator: Computer hacking forensic investigation is the process of detecting hacking attacks and properly extracting evidence to report the crime and conduct audits to prevent future attacks.

For more information, see the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants website.

Certified Ethical Hacker: The CEH Program certifies individuals in the specific network security discipline of Ethical Hacking from a vendor-neutral perspective.

For more information, see the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants website.

Licensed Penetration Tester: The licensed penetration tester is a program which trains security professionals to analyze the security posture of a network exhaustively and recommend corrective measures authoritatively.

For more information, see the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants website.

EC-Council Certified Security Analyst: EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA) complements the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certification by exploring the analytical phase of ethical hacking.

For more information, see the International Council of E-Commerce Consultants website.

Certified Web Professional - E-Commerce Specialist: A CWP E-Commerce Specialist is an expert in standards, technologies and practices in electronic commerce.

For more information, see the International Webmasters Association website.

Certified Web Professional - Internetworking Specialist: A CWP Internetworking Specialist defines network architecture, identifies infrastructure components, monitors and analyzes network performance.

For more information, see the International Webmasters Association website.

Certified Web Professional - Site Designer: A CWP Site Designer implements and maintains Web sites using authoring and scripting languages, content creation and management tools, and digital media.

For more information, see the International Webmasters Association website.

Web Technologies Certificate: Provides the Web developer with a solid foundation in the basic technologies used to create Web sites.

For more information, see the International Webmasters Association website.

Microsoft Certified Professional Developer: For individuals who wish to distinguish themselves as an expert in Windows development, Web application development, or enterprise applications development.

For more information, see the Microsoft Corporation website.

Level I: Network Performance Technologies : Gain network performance expertise through in-depth analysis of networking protocols and their role in delivering application performance.

For more information, see the NetQoS website.

Certified Web Administrator Associate: Web Administrator Associates are responsible for the hardware and software infrastructure supporting Internet communications.

For more information, see the World Organization of Webmasters website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.