These Non-Ivy League Schools Produce The Best Software Engineers In The US

Last Updated: February 6, 2020
Best schools for software engineering
The global population of software engineers is growing, but not fast enough to keep up with the demand.

The global population of software engineers will reach 27.7 million by the end of 2023, increasing by over a million each year.

However, the job market for software developers is expected to grow by 21% by 2028, continuing to outpace the growth of the talent pool and perpetuating the gap between the demand and the supply of IT professionals.

To get ahead in this highly competitive market, some companies are building strategic relationships with educational institutions to gain faster access to highly qualified talent.

In this article, we list the best schools for software engineering to recruit from, focusing on the Non-Ivy League institutions, and we explore the benefits of hiring engineers with academic degrees.

Find the top software development companies in the US here »

10 US Software Developer Schools That Produce The Best Talent In The Country

The list of universities with the most creative and trailblazing software engineering curriculums is right below. These schools produce the best IT talent software companies can recruit.


university of california, irvine - best schools for software engineering
[Source: University Of California, Irvine]

University Of California, Irvine

Vist Website →  |  The software engineering program at UC Irvine is a research-oriented program during which students build a strong background in software engineering. Their graduates develop a deep understanding of the processes, tools and techniques involved in the creation of dependable, large-scale software systems.

Their students can enroll in core courses that cover the software engineering basics and follow that with a broad range of courses to focus their abilities and knowledge.

UC Irvine’s software engineering degree program consists of:

  • Programming
  • Software engineering principles
  • Professional development with topics related to career choice
  • Practical applications


university - Stevens Institute Of Technology - best schools for software engineering
[Source: Stevens Institute Of Technology]

Stevens Institute Of Technology

Visit Website →  |  This school’s software engineering course educates its students in designing and building components for complex systems, understanding aspects of software life-cycle and maintaining the final product.

They also gain an understanding of the overall systems context of engineering projects. The strong software and systems basis students attain as Stevens Institute of Technology makes it possible for them to pursue careers of:

  • Software and Systems Architects
  • Software Programmers, Developers and Testers
  • Software and System Engineers
  • Requirements Engineers
  • Senior Computers Applications Engineers
  • Project Leaders


university - California Polytechnic State University - best schools for software engineering
[Source: California Polytechnic State University]

California Polytechnic State University

Visit Website →  |  This school’s Software Engineering Department teaches students to apply their education to solve practical problems as well as boost their professional development.

Their flexible curriculum makes it possible for students to switch between software engineering, computer engineering and computer science, resulting in a more holistic understanding of the IT landscape.

Students get both theoretical and practical knowledge through laboratory experiences and team projects. Some of the courses the school of famous for are:

  • Introduction to Software Engineering I and II
  • Computational Art
  • Teaching Computing
  • Design and Analysis of Algorithms
  • Systems Programming
  • Database Modeling, Design and Implementation
  • And more


university - Iowa State University
[Source: Iowa State University]

Iowa State University

Visit Website →  |  At ISU’s bachelor software engineering course, undergraduate students have the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of this field, study applications of software technologies and prepare for the practice of software engineering.

ISU’s interdisciplinary software engineering curriculum offers many elective choices in software engineering, of which we’ll name a few:

  • Problem Solving in Software Engineering
  • Software Engineering Orientation
  • Introduction to Data Structures
  • Object-oriented Programming
  • Advanced Programming Techniques
  • Operating Systems: Principles and Practice
  • Software Project Management
  • And more


university - Michigan Technological University
[Source: Michigan Technological University]

Michigan Technological University

Visit Website →  |  Software development undergraduates at MTU learn to design and develop business applications, operating systems and network control systems.

They attain their practical knowledge by working in teams in labs, classes and enterprise programs, developing real projects for real clients.

The curriculum provides computer science foundation during the first two years of education and specialized training for software engineers that focus on cost-effectiveness, usability, design, reliability and other facets of software:

Graduate students at this university can find jobs as:

  • Programmer/analyst
  • Scientific programmer
  • Software engineer
  • Software quality engineer
  • Program manager
  • Project leader
  • Quality assurance coordinator
  • Senior computer applications engineer
  • Senior software engineer
  • Senior systems analyst


Milwaukee School of Engineering
[Source: Milwaukee School of Engineering]

Milwaukee School of Engineering

Visit Website →  |  This institution boasts the 100% success rate of their 2018-19 software engineering graduates at finding employment. Their program develops professionals that are fluent in software development theory, practice and processes.

Milwaukee’s School of Engineering prepares its graduates to

  • Contribute as a software engineering professional
  • Apply knowledge of software engineering practice and process
  • Exercise technical and professional leadership
  • Innovate and improve technologies and processes
  • Seek and adapt to change
  • Leverage and apply advancements in the profession
  • Collaborate effectively as a team
  • Participate in professional networks


university - The University of Texas at Dallas
[Source: The University of Texas at Dallas]

The University of Texas at Dallas

Visit Website →  |  UTD’s software engineering program has more than 2,800 students and a 150,000-square-foot building with modern classrooms and cutting-edge laboratories.

Among their offered degrees that their students take – at Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy levels – are:

  • Computer engineering
  • Software engineering
  • Systems engineering and management

Their undergrad students are soon to be researching

  • Medical imaging
  • Speech recognition
  • Materials characterization
  • Cybersecurity
  • Organic electronics
  • Wireless networking

The software engineering program includes courses in engineering, software validation and testing, and software architecture.

There is also a rich choice of application areas, including digital systems design, computer networks, embedded systems, computer imaging, artificial intelligence, machine learning and human-computer interaction.


university - Drexel University - best schools for software engineering
[Source: Drexel University]

Drexel University

Visit Website →  |  Drexel University’s software engineering program can be completed full-time, part-time, on campus and even online.

The curriculum encompasses technical and managerial aspects of software engineering. Students have the option to pursue seven required and elective courses. This included a hands-on experience in which they work on extensive team projects. The goal of the project is to apply what they know ti a real-life project.

There is also a dual degree program that combines software engineering with any other graduate degree program.

Drexel’s plan of software engineering study encompasses:

  • Software Architecture
  • Software Design
  • Software Reliability and Testing
  • Software Engineering Process
  • And more


university - Auburn University
[Source: Auburn University]

Auburn University

Visit Website →  |  Auburn’s software engineering degree course can be completed online as well, with traditional instructional methods merged with modern tech.

Their online course is SACS accredited, contains 20 required courses that emphasize theoretical computer science and hands-on application of learned skills.

Their curriculum includes:

  • Fundamentals of Computing
  • Engineering Orientation
  • Software Construction
  • Discrete Structures
  • Principles of Programming Languages
  • Software Modeling and Design
  • Computer Architecture
  • And more


university - Miami University
[Source: Miami University]

Miami University

Visit Website →  |  Miami University’s software developer school provides graduates with practical skills to create complex computer systems.

It focuses on methods, techniques and tools that are used to develop complex software solutions for multidisciplinary purposes. Topics of interest include software design, software maintenance and software development.

Software engineering core curriculum consists of:

  • Computing, Engineering & Society
  • Fundamentals of Programming and Problem Solving
  • Introduction to Software Engineering
  • Software Construction
  • Data Abstraction and Data Structures
  • Software Architecture and Drsign
  • And more

Find the top software development companies ranked by industry expertise HERE »

Does Software Developer Degree Still Matter In 2020?

Before we get to the list of US schools that produce the top software development graduates, let us consider some more compelling facts regarding degree holders in this field.

  • 52% of US software development jobs require or prefer degree holders, compared to 61% of employers in all other regions. (Source: Stack Overflow)
  • Well-established tech companies weed out applicants without the degree. (Source: Tech Republic)
  • For the highest-paying positions, such as Lead Java Developer, employers often require a degree. (Source: Indeed)

52% of developer jobs in the US require or prefer a degree-01

So to answer the question: Yes, degrees still very much matter to IT employers in 2020.

When it comes to the “why” behind this trend, the answers vary.

Some employers find that developers with formal education yield results faster, while others find that university programs train IT professionals to be better team players.

The exact reasons are difficult to pinpoint and boil down to the employers’ individual preferences.

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