Want to Earn $250,000? Software Engineering is One Path

by Barry Waldman

A Citadel cadet in 2007, John Ravan graduated in 2011 with a degree in computer science and information technology and headed straight to graduate school to study software engineering at the joint Citadel-College of Charleston program. Held then at the state-of-the-art Lowcountry Graduate Center’s complex, the site is now part of the Boeing campus. He enjoyed the remote classes on giant screens, the modern facilities and the days when food was offered to hungry grad students. 

Degree in hand, Ravan works remotely from Charleston as a senior software engineer for Spotify.  Armed also with a University of South Carolina PhD, he serves as an adjunct professor at the very master’s program from which he graduated. In a field where jobs are being advertised with salaries topping a quarter-of-a-million dollars, Ravan is a shining example of how the program prepares students for a rewarding and lucrative career.

Certificate in Software Engineering for Those Not Ready for a Full Grad Program

For those not fully prepared to jump into the 33-credit master’s program, The Citadel and College of Charleston offer a software engineering certificate – a four course, 12-credit program that can be completed one course-at-a-time during the evenings in 18 months. Because all the in-person classes are recorded and posted online, it’s tailor-made for professionals already in the field.

Dr. Shankar Banik, Professor and Head of Department of Cyber and Computer Sciences at The Citadel, says the program is for students who want to work as software developers. In the certificate program, they learn the full cycle of software engineering: software design, software implementation and software testing. 

Opportunities Aplenty for Those Who Earn the Certificate 

The certificate program prepares graduates to work as entry level software engineers, but many use it as a springboard to the full master’s degree. Graduates who remain local find jobs quickly with companies like the Naval Information Warfare Center (formerly SpaWar), Boeing, Scientific Research Corp., SAIC and Booz Hamilton. “These companies develop software for themselves or for vendors and need employees who know how to design, implement and test, and work as a part of a team in the full life-cycle of software engineering,” Dr. Banik said.

A typical cohort is 20-30 students, but Dr. Banik could find jobs for 100 every year.

The certificate and master’s in software engineering is aimed at computer science and information technology students, not liberal arts graduates, who would have to complete a series of prerequisites to join the program. 

Applications are accepted throughout the year for the certificate program and students can start at the beginning of any semester. Visit the department website for details.

John Ravan says the master’s program was grueling, but he appreciated how accommodating it is to working professionals and how Dr. Banik met with each student to gauge their needs. He was already working in the field when he earned his master’s degree, but says the graduate degrees accelerated his career. “They got me my promotions, which would have required 20-30 years of experience if didn’t have the master’s,” he said.