Software engineer vs developer: Main differences

Software engineer vs developer: Main differences

Software developers and engineers are highly skilled professionals who build software from scratch.

However, it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between the two because employers are not always precise about these two roles. The job descriptions overlap a bit. Software engineers are sometimes involved in software development, but most software developers are not software engineers.

Don’t worry. In this article, you will find some research on the differences between the two fields to clarify them.

There are some differences between software developers and engineers:

  • software developers are usually more limited in scope than that of an engineer, allowing developers to be more creative while working;
  • software engineers work on a larger scale. They think more systematically.

Software developers are responsible for creating programs, designing, testing, and tuning them. Software developers usually specialize in computer science or study software development in computer games and entertainment technology.

Engineers may be the ones who concentrate on writing the code without the management part of the work.


We are confident that we have what it takes to help you get your platform from the idea throughout design and development phases, all the way to successful deployment in a production environment!

Contact us

What do software developers do

It may be evident from the name, but software developers are responsible for the development process and designing the application components. Software developers control their projects from start to end and manipulate concurrent projects at various stages of development.

They cooperate with clients, determine their needs, and make decisions, so people skills are needed in addition to computer knowledge. They work closely with the programmers who write the code to anticipate, diagnose, and fix problems, follow the project updates and troubleshoot. They achieve quality and consistency through experimental software runs, direct repairs, and improvements.

Software developers usually have strong analytical skills to match customer needs with software capabilities. They must also be familiar with computer language.

What do software engineers do

Wikipedia describes a “software engineer” as someone applying software engineering principles to computer software design, development, maintenance, testing, and evaluation.

Software engineers take a broader approach, often considering the trade-offs that must be made for other parts of the system and its architecture, such as when building data pipelines or scalable domain-specific languages. Their primary focus is on structural design.

These professionals require technical knowledge and experience with open source tools. They also need skills in pattern design, automated testing, and fault-tolerant systems. They cooperate with information technology, operations, and development personnel to create and maintain software, architecture, large-scale data warehouses, and cloud systems.

Software engineer vs developer: Main differences

Differences between software engineer vs developer

Software developers do everything that software engineers do to a limited degree. This allows the developer to be more creative than the engineer, finding solutions to problems as they arise. A software developer starts the application development process by talking to customers and finding out their software needs.

A software engineer does everything that a software developer can do, but with another design philosophy. Software engineers see the bigger picture than software developers, which means they are more focused on the overall structure of a software system, its design, and eliminating technical debt.

Software engineers are interested in solving pressing problems with minimal compromises with other parts of the system and its architecture.

Software developer best skills

Well-qualified software developers should coordinate the project workflow and consider different issues. That means having proper skills.

A software developer should learn through life and improve his expertise. Knowledge of several programming languages ​​is good, but progress is not always guaranteed, and up-to-date skills may soon become obsolete. To stay in demand, developers must dedicate time every day to develop their skill set, critically analyze their code, and always find new opportunities.

Data structure and algorithms

Data structure and algorithms are among the essential skills for modern software developers. Most employers are looking for people familiar with basic data structures such as an array, linked list, map, and set. These are the basics that help developers to build applications.

Git and Github

Git and GitHub knowledge is critical because more than 50% of companies use this source code management.

Cloud computing

Software developers should be skilled in cloud computing as most companies choose cloud computing to save money and improve their scalability.

IDE (such as Visual Studio Code)

In addition to knowledge of programming languages ​​and databases, software developers must be familiar with source code editors such as Visual Studio Code to be able to debug, refactor code, and highlight syntax.

Software engineer best skills

Many software engineers have extensive experience with at least one or two programming languages (Java, JavaScript, Python, Scala). However, these days they must be proficient in most modern languages ​​to attract employers.

Skills in highest demand are:

  • Computer programming;
  • Coding;
  • Software engineering;
  • Object-oriented design;
  • Self-Awareness;
  • Communication;
  • Patience;
  • Open-Mindedness;
  • Time Management;
  • Collaboration;
  • Problem-solving skills.

The average software engineer will be judged by position, level of experience, and familiarity with specific programming languages ​​and databases. A developer must possess a range of social skills and competencies to be considered a valuable expert in the job market.

Software engineer vs developer income

The difference in responsibilities of a developer and engineer is reflected in the income and career opportunities associated with each role. The salary difference is significant:

  • Junior software engineer earns $75,000 per year;
  • Middle specialist earns $88,000 per year;
  • Senior engineer earns $125,000 per year;
  • Junior developers’ average salary is around $63,500 per year.
  • Senior developers’ average salary is approximately $82,500 per year.
  • The technical team leader’s average salary is about $101,400 per year.

Indeed, one of the main bonuses of working as a software specialist is the salary that puts you in the top 1% of people globally in terms of financial security.

Total Articles: 212

I am here to help you!

Explore the possibility to hire a dedicated R&D team that helps your company to scale product development.

Please submit the form below and we will get back to you within 24 - 48 hours.

Global Cloud Team Form Global Cloud Team Form