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Software Development

What is software development?

Software development is the sub-specialty within computer science concerned with developing computer programs to solve problems posed by other people.

You begin with the fundamentals of computer programming – formulating a real-world problem as one a computer can solve, implementing the solution as a computer program, and then verifying that your program does indeed satisfy the original need.

But software development is more than “just programming.” Software developers need to know what types of problems can, and can’t, be solved by a computer. They need good communication skills, and an understanding of how people perceive information and how they use that information to make decisions.

Bethel’s Software Development program will be housed in the math department, and will include options for a major, with a suggested track for students who are considering a graduate degree, and a minor.

Upon successful completion of the major, you will:

  • be able to analyze problems, implement solutions and present results using a high-level computer programming language;
  • understand the processes that result in “reliably repeatable” software development;
  • be familiar with programming in open- and closed-source environments;
  • recognize the importance of people (clients; managers; teammates) in the software development process;
  • understand professional and ethical responsibility.

Offering a software development program fits Bethel’s curriculum and liberal arts tradition well. There’s recent evidence that employers prize highly the analysis, critical thinking, written and oral communication and ethical judgment skills that are all part of the focus of liberal arts.

Bethel’s introductory programming courses support coursework in many other disciplines, particularly the physical and social sciences. More and more, a basic understanding of programming concepts is an advantage, even a necessity, for pursuing a variety of career paths.

The “computational sciences” (computational physics, computational biology, computational chemistry, computational linguistics, and so forth) are growing in size and importance. For example, computational molecular chemistry techniques are being used now to efficiently search for effective treatments for COVID-19. Computational science and applied mathematics are being used together across a wide range of disciplines in science, engineering, industry and technology.

Minimum of 41 hours (29–30 hours required computer science/software development courses and 12–20 hours supporting courses), taken within the Bachelor of Science degree.

Graduate Track

The major includes an optional Graduate Track to prepare you for graduate study in computer science or computer engineering. Courses recommended for the Graduate Track are marked below with an asterisk. If you choose the Graduate Track, you are responsible for all required prerequisites for these recommended courses.

Required computer science courses (29–30 hours):

4 hours – Introduction to Computer Programming

4 hours – Intermediate Programming: Data Structures

4 hours – Intermediate Programming: Graphical User Interfaces

3 hours – Advanced Data Structures

3 hours – Human-Computer Interaction

4 hours – Software Design & Development

Choose one:

1 hour – Seminar

2 hours – Internship

At least 2 upper-level courses totaling at least 6 hours:

3 hours – Programming Languages*

3 hours – Operating Systems*

3 hours – Database Management Systems*

3 hours – Web Application Development

Required supporting courses (6 hours):

3 hours – Discrete Mathematics

3 hours – Linear Algebra

Supplemental supporting courses (at least 6 hours):

3 hours – Christian Social Ethics

3 hours – General Psychology

4 hours – Calculus I*

4 hours – Applied Statistics*


Software Development minor requirements:

16 hours of software development courses

“This major will prepare students for a career in a computer-related field that is experiencing phenomenal growth in the region and throughout the nation. The Bethel degree will give students a competitive advantage [of] a liberal arts education. Graduates will [be able] to think critically, and will gain leadership skills to help them succeed and advance in their careers.” – Robert Milliman, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty

Mission Statement

Bethel College prepares students for meaningful lives of work and service through faith formation, the liberal arts, and practical experience in career pathways.