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Bethel Announces Software Engineering Major for Fall 2018

Bethel Announces Software Engineering Major for Fall 2018

Students work on design projects in the newly-remodeled design lab in the Academic Center.

Continuing a season of unprecedented growth in the sciences, healthcare, and technology, Bethel is excited to announce a new Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Software Engineering program for fall 2018.

This major builds on Bethel’s well-established and growing computer science major, by giving students added exposure to communication, business, and engineering concepts. Students will complete a semester-long project alongside students from other specialties, helping them build collaborative skills and an aptitude for bringing together various voices to produce tangible solutions. This multidisciplinary approach will give students more direct skill sets—and a better ability to navigate challenges—that will serve them well in a growing number of software engineering and development roles.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 17% increase in the number of related positions by 2024, so this major will not only set students up for success in existing technology careers, but also give them an added measure of flexibility and acumen for an ever-changing, rapidly growing workforce. Department Chair and Professor of Computer Science Nathan Gossett notes that even within traditionally non-tech-focused fields—ministry, business, education, etc.—life and communication are increasingly online, so new software development positions are multiplying in every sector.

“Software engineering is all about navigating real people, real clients, competing priorities, and strict deadlines,” says Gossett. “That doesn’t exist as much on the computer science side, which is more abstract.”

Associate Professor of Engineering Karen Rogers will be teaching the Engineering Design Seminar and Engineering Design Project courses at the end of Bethel’s engineering programs. She’s particularly excited about the way these culminating experiences will allow students from different specialties—and with diverse interests and personalities—to come together to work on a concrete project for an external industry partner. At the beginning of the semester, local companies will provide project goals and requirements, and students will work together to complete project benchmarks and then share a final product. It’s an exercise that Rogers hopes will provide unparalleled real-world experience, expose local companies to Bethel’s students, and increase Bethel’s reach and reputation in the local tech and engineering communities.

Both the computer science and software engineering majors are designed to start with a broad base of foundational computer science and math courses and then become increasingly more specialized. Students with an interest in technological careers may take up to two years of coursework before deciding which major to pursue, and Gossett anticipates students double majoring or minoring—within the department or across the university—to give themselves even more specialized skill sets.

“The level of expertise and breadth of knowledge needed by programmers is greater than it ever has been,” adds Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Brian Turnquist. “Code camps and YouTube can create interest in programming, but majoring in Software Engineering is a necessary step toward becoming a disciplined professional developer.”

New students may declare this major beginning in fall 2018. Current students who are interested in declaring an additional major—or switching majors entirely—should discuss the option with their academic advisors.

Learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering, or find out more about Bethel’s math and computer science department.

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