LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Bellarmine University is now offering an accelerated, online-only software and data engineering program specifically designed for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree in another field.
The Bachelor of Science in Software and Data Engineering can be earned in three semesters, each divided into two sessions of approximately eight weeks. Students will learn to write software applications with various programming languages; elicit, analyze and specify software requirements; develop internal or external software products using traditional or Agile approaches; and use modern software engineering tools.
The program also includes a philosophy course that studies the social and ethical implications technology may have. While most software and data engineering programs teach students how to do new things, they don’t consider whether companies should do them, said David Scott, assistant professor of philosophy, who designed the class.
“Part of the course will be bringing the new technological abilities we have in line with our existing moral understandings, which may be predicated on older technological possibilities, more limited ones,” Scott said.
Topics to be covered include privacy and intellectual property issues; the potential for nefarious uses of technology, such as deep-fake videos; the implications of automation; and diversity concerns, such as facial-recognition software that was based largely on white faces and doesn’t work as well to identify people of color.
Technology moves quickly, but studying the moral and ethical issues of existing software can help engineers think ahead, Scott said. “Once the genie is out of the bottle, we can see, ‘Oh yeah, this is fraught with all sorts of moral problems,’” he said. “But having already speculated about and analyzed something before might help you be more proactive in keeping the genie in the bottle, so to speak, in how you design something.”
Once students complete the program, they will be ready for an entry-level job in the field. Regionally, the median salary for software developers is $87,610; nationally, it’s $107,515.