Is Software Engineering Hard? (11 Things To Consider)

Software engineering is one of the most challenging majors, requiring high-level math, logic, and programming skills. Although it requires a lot of hard work and dedication, software engineers can build their careers in an exciting environment that allows them to work with software and cutting-edge technologies.

Before deciding if this is the right major for you, there are things you need to know about software engineering.

Is Software Engineering Hard? 

Software engineering is more than just a technical field of study. This field may take a lot of work to grasp at first. One must be proficient in coding, problem-solving, and system design to achieve these objectives. To be successful in this industry, you need formal education, IT certifications, and training programs. Be ready to dive in because the program is challenging and highly competitive.

Here’s how you can get an idea of whether software engineering is proper for you!

1. Study of Software Design

Software engineering is the study of the processes involved in creating, deploying, and keeping software systems running smoothly.

It’s a problem-solving approach incorporating mathematics, science, and technology elements.

As a student of software engineering, you should have a solid computer science and programming foundation. 

For this reason, students enroll in computer science classes such as:

  • Object-Oriented Design
  • Database Design
  • Algorithms Analysis
  • Data Structures

According to BLS, the need for software developers will grow by approximately 25% each year.

Therefore, it should be no surprise that this course offers students several promising prospects after graduation.

2. Challenging Course to Pursue

When it comes to degrees in technology, software engineering is among the most difficult to undertake.

But one of the most challenging things about studying software engineering is learning how to code.

Additionally, several students need help in intensive math courses like Calculus and Linear Algebra. Unfortunately, some of them need help understanding the course material.

To set yourself apart, you must be very competitive with technology advancements, network, and develop an innovative perspective during your coursework.

On the bright side, graduates will find opportunities in various subfields within the software industry. 

Benefits include working from home, freelancing opportunities, and networking connections within the IT community.

3. Academic Degrees

As mentioned earlier, software engineers are in high demand. 

Most companies will only consider candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree (4 years) in a related field, such as computer science or IT. 

Pursuing a master’s degree (2 years) in software engineering may be favorable for professionals seeking managerial roles.

Additionally, Ph.D. programs (4-5 years) in software engineering provide a challenging curriculum for those interested in academic or research careers. Ph.D.

On the other hand, there are also shorter and cheaper ways to study software engineering. For example, you may consider pursuing the following:

  • Certificates
  • Associate Degree Programs
  • Self-Study
  • Boot Camps

4. Highly Competitive

Software engineering has a demanding and competitive admissions process.

Moreover, some companies are more selective when hiring software engineering employees. 

To apply, you should be able to submit the following documents to the colleges of your choice:

  • High school transcripts or GED transcript
  • Test Results
  • Recommendations

If you’re a transferee, you should take note to submit the following requirements:

  • credits of calculus with analytic geometry
  • credits of calculus-based physics
  • credits of college chemistry, including a laboratory

5. Certifications and Bootcamps

Professionals in this industry strongly suggest you consider obtaining certification. 

Here is a selection of the certifications that could help a software engineering student.

  • AWS Certified Developer 
  • Java Certification 
  • Professional Scrum Developer

At this time, students are encouraged to start studying a programming language like JavaScript, CSS, or Ruby Python to shorten the learning curve even further.

Keep in mind

Certifications can provide you an edge over other candidates.

Regarding non-degree programs, students enroll in boot camps that typically last between 12 and 20 weeks. They cover topics such as:

  • Computer Language Proficiency
  • Front-End and Back-End Frameworks
  • Troubleshooting and Debugging
  • End-to-End Testing

6. Complex Coursework

Complex Coursework

Coursework in software engineering is quite challenging.

In this curriculum, students may expect to encounter several languages for creating software.

Students acquire hands-on experience in design, development, and testing software. 

Some of the classes that aspiring software engineers may take are the following:

  • DevOps
  • Cybersecurity
  • UI/UX Development
  • Data Science
  • Database Administration

Students should construct and assess their programs early in their software development education.

As you can see, students become future software engineers through intense learning and research.

7. Independent IT Projects

Software engineering curriculum molds and motivates the students to complete projects and learn from teachers and peers.

A typical software engineering undergraduate will spend 50-60 hours a week studying, working on projects, meeting with peers, and attending classes.

Students strengthen their abilities in writing, presenting, and critiquing technical content through these activities and more. 

In addition to classroom instruction, students can access open-source projects and internships. 

Success Tip

When you’re just starting, you don’t have to take on projects that will change the world and affect millions of people. Instead, it’s wise to channel your energy into something you’re genuinely enthusiastic about and enjoy.

8. Programming Lectures

When starting, software engineering classes might take a lot of work to grasp.

This is especially true for individuals who don’t know how to code or have any experience with computers.

Year 1: Introduction to Programming in Java, Calculus II and III, Physics, and other General Education courses

Year 2: Computer Architecture (MIPS), Object-oriented Programming (Java/Swing), C/Unix, Discrete Structures, and Analysis of Discrete structures.

As mentioned earlier, programming languages are introduced throughout your coursework. These include PHP and MySQL, data analytics with Python, Python fundamentals, and discrete mathematics.

Discrete structure classes have proven to be particularly challenging for some students.

9. Balanced Time

A typical day for a software engineering student includes setting and keeping track of several goals.

After finishing their errands, some students sit at their computers and code for minutes nonstop; some even go for longer stretches.

At the same time, other students have to fiddle around a bit before they find their pacing. 

As you can see, ownership and communication are two elements that students find a balance between software engineering courses and their personal lives.

10. Internships

As part of the student internships in software engineering, you can expect to do projects involving various aspects of the software.

During the internship, everyone is accountable for end-to-end product delivery and solving problems independently. Experience at all stages of the development life cycle, from design to maintenance, provides a complete picture of the work.

Because of the internship, students have been prepared and exposed to standard technology sectors norms like agile, scrum, and deployment testing.

11. Academic Fees

A financial investment is required to earn a software engineering degree or a certification.

Here are some of your options:

Bachelor’s Degree

The annual cost of a typical four-year college education is approximately $40,000. Fees tend to go up at popular schools.

The top universities you may consider:

  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • University of California
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Stanford University

Self-Study and Online Classes

You can sign up for a year of access to Coursera’s courses for $400-$5600. In addition, Udemy and Skillshare provide subscription-based specialty courses for $15 to $60 per month.

Online Bootcamps

Bootcamps typically last from 4-36 weeks. The average cost of tuition for this is around $11,000. 

To learn more, you can also see our posts on Cyber Security, Mathematics, Computer Science and Python.


Every course requires one to try their best to understand the concepts and earn a good grade. 

It would be best to realize that it is not an easy course but potentially ensures a bright future. The success of software engineers is evident from their job outlook, which is pretty good in this century.

Ultimately, it is a worthy major to pursue!