Software Developer vs Software Engineer
February 17, 2020

Software Development

Software Developer vs Software Engineer: What is the Difference?

By Pavel Kukhnavets

The IT world contains some jobs that may confuse newcomers and people far from this environment. At first sight, it may seem that there is no agreed-upon distinction between software developers and software engineers. 

They both create, implement, and test smart software solutions, including applications and systems programs. In fact, many colleges and government organizations consider these positions one and the same. 

Sometimes, the differences between computer engineers and developers is just a matter of perception. However, it’s critical today to define the difference, especially in the countries where the “engineer” title is highly regulated.

There are clear and distinct differences and specialties. Let’s figure them out! Technologist on Apple iOS 13.3 Technologist on Twitter Twemoji 12.1.5

Is a Software Developer the Same as a Software Engineer?

The essence of a software engineer

In simple words, a software development engineer is an enabler of software development. 

Software engineers are responsible for various aspects of software development, from system architecting, modeling, designing, testing, deployment, maintenance, support, and many more issues. Working with numerous engineering concepts and methodologies to develop processes and architect systems are also their direct responsibilities.

Typical software engineers generate detailed instructions and hand them down to programmers or software developers to code. Besides, they can work with different software from vendors. The most vivid examples are Microsoft Office, ERP, SAS, ERP, and others.

Actually, creating instructions for programmers is quite a challenging and labor-intensive activity that covers working with diagrams, statistics, complex algorithms, data structures, charts, etc.

The meaning of a software developer’s role

A software developer is a person who is responsible for the coding side of developing software. These professionals create smart software solutions by writing the code that is necessary to run the system. They are high-skilled in coding and testing and proficient in various programming languages. They know how to work with several development platforms and how to structure code.

In fact, the software developer is a team player who gathers requirements and writes the code to build an outstanding software app or system. He/she is often integrated into a software development team. He/she is a generalist who is able to work with different programming languages and platforms.

Software engeneers and developers

What are the required skills for a software engineer?

Successful software engineers must be proficient in analytic and numerical skills, as well as conceptual problem-solving skills

Often these professionals are required to have a master’s degree in an engineering field. Here are some of the most demanded skills and tech knowledge areas software engineers should own:

  • Computer science basics
  • Software design
  • Programming and coding skills
  • System analysis fundamental
  • Design concepts basics
  • Testing and debugging skills
  • Architectural processes fundamentals
  • Awareness in cloud systems
  • Data structures
  • Algorithms
  • Ability to document technical specifications
  • Modeling and simulation
  • Experience with programming languages
  • Familiarity with UI frameworks and toolkits
  • Experience with PHP, Ruby, JS, Python, JS, etc.
  • Knowledge of Java, C, C++, C#, etc.

Of course, a successful software engineer should have a strong set of soft skills such as collaboration, problem-solving, detail-focusing, responsibility, and commitment to see a project through from beginning to end.

What are the required skills for a software developer?

A software developer oversees and creates complex software solutions, from single systems to applications. The following skills and tech characteristics are required for software developers aimed to be successful:

  • Software architecture fundamentals
  • Awareness in programming languages
  • Coding skills
  • Design patterns
  • Familiarity with different development platforms
  • Analyzing database queries
  • Software testing fundamentals
  • Awareness in popular frameworks and libraries
  • Ability to document software processes
  • Understanding business logic
  • Cloud systems basics
  • Programming experience in C, C++, C#, .NET, JS, etc.
  • Ability to work with Git, GitHub, etc.

Soft skills are also critical ideally, software developers should have advanced interpersonal and communication skills, basic project management skills, creativity, attention to details, problem-solving, and many more.

Who are software developers

Common Skillset for Both Roles

Mathematics, computer science, and software engineering are disciplines that must be thoroughly learned by both professionals. Although both roles are focused on different aspects of software solutions, they typically have a common background. 

Mathematics

The mathematical basement is important for both roles. Software engineers and software developers strongly rely on the appliance of mathematical methods. They help them to design and build accurate and precise software. Mathematics helps to work with statistics, algorithms, modeling, analytics, data science, etc.

Computer science

Computer science is about performing data by computer architecture, using algorithms. It focuses on the most effective ways to process, interpret, communicate and secure saved. Software engineers and developers must be profiles in computer science because it deals with discovering and testing new practical ways to get things done.

Software engineering

The systematic approach to developing software is fundamental to both professionals. It’s primarily about software production, development, and maintenance. Software engineering is the base for building efficient projects that are thoroughly designed.

Software Developer vs Software Engineer: What About Salary?

It surely depends on every single case. However, the main idea is rather self-explanatory – a good salary is one of the core motivators of choosing a job over the other. 

Here is how this point fares in the software engineer vs software developer discussion: (by Glassdoor):

salaries rankings

the salary of developers

As you can see, there is a difference! However, if you carefully read the previous paragraphs of the article, you can probably understand why that’s the case.

Bottom line

The fine line between software engineering and software development remains a frequently discussed issue in many circles. However, most modern companies, educational organizations, and professionals make no clear distinction between them. 

Both of these jobs are tough nuts to crack! They include their own characteristics and intricacies, and if you want to reveal them better, you’d take much more than a comparison blog post.

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