According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for software developers was an astounding $103,560 in 2017. In fact, the bureau estimates that the software engineering field will be grow by 24% in the next decade.

I often ask myself if anyone can learn software engineering or if it’s a sort of knowledge you are just born with. More importantly, how did any of us ever become interested in such a technical field to begin with?

Software engineering is a robust field with a lot of options, from mobile app development to a software and systems architect. Other opportunities include, software tester, systems engineer, project leader, and even a UX designer. 

While a bachelor’s degree at one of these top schools may be an expensive investment, the payout will surely be tremendous. What’s more is that there’s actually a huge labor shortage among technical professions in Silicon Valley and across the US. That’s why we’ve created a list of the five best software engineering schools in the country to get you thinking about your future career. 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.)

Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston, M.I.T. has frequently been recognized as one the premiere schools in the country for its engineering program. There are a little over 3,000 students enrolled in the engineering program and acceptance into the program is one of the most difficult in the country.

With a full-time tuition of close to $50,000, you may be thinking that M.I.T. is a little overpriced. It’s not. Students who graduate from M.I.T. are courted by some of the top companies in the world, including Google and Amazon. 57% of students with their B.A. enter the workforce and are expected to make an average salary of over $68,000. On top of all of this, M.I.T. is ranked as the number one school in aeronautics and chemical engineering by U.S. News

California Institute of Technology

Located in beautiful Pasadena California, the California Institute of Technology ranks as second for top software development schools in the country. There are a wide range of software development courses to choose from in mathematics, physics, and systems engineering. It’s credo is to “expand human knowledge and benefit society.” Cal Tech graduates who enter the workforce boast a starting salary of over $68,000 and a mid-career salary of $124,000. 

California Polytechnic University 

California Polytechnic serves as an affordable and comparable alternative to M.I.T.  and Cal Tech. Accredited as one of the best public universities on the west coast, California Polytechnic offers a 60 credit software development course load that incorporates everything from mathematics to computer animation. 

Many people fall in love with Cal Poly’s campus, which is tucked away in beautiful, remote San Luis Obispo. It’s software engineering program is one of the nation’s most prestigious and was rated by US News and World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” report as the best public college on the west coast whose highest degree is a Master’s.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 

You may or may not be surprised to see the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign make our list at the number four spot. With degrees in computer science (engineering), math and computer science, and statistics and computer science, students are offered a strategic course load that will get them familiar with both the humanities and core course components. 

Located in beautiful Champaign, Illinois, this university boasts the fastest supercomputer of any college in the nation. It even houses the National Center of Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and offers students an insight into advanced coursework that’s not available at most public universities. Being a public research facility, students also learn to conduct intensive research at a very early stage, which inevitably helps them grow as software engineers. 

Carnegie Mellon University 

Carnegie Mellon is a historic university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with arguably some of the top software engineering professors in the country. Carnegie Mellon operates the Software Engineering Institute, which is contracted by the Department of Defense to conduct research into software engineering and security.

Carnegie Mellon is frequently recognized as the premiere software engineering school in the country. In fact, a computer engineering degree from Carnegie Mellon was rated as offering the highest salary to graduate students in 2013. 

If you’re looking to become a software developer then these schools offer great resources to advance your career.