What is the difference between a software developer and a software engineer?

Software Development Technologies Apr 29, 2021 4 minutes
software developer VC software engineer

Who came first: a software developer or a software engineer? There has been a long debate about the roles and responsibilities of these two professions in the scope of custom application development services. Some experts say that a software developer and a software engineer do the same things as job descriptions are pretty similar. Others believe that despite their job descriptions overlap a bit, the level of engagement is quite different. Adding to the confusion? Let’s put an end to this eternal discussion today.

What does a software developer do? 

Most people think that software developers are nerdy geeks. In actuality, these people have to be highly creative to carry out cutting-edge ideas using tech skills. These guys are great analysts as they constantly compare and use various technologies, libraries, and approaches. 
The complexity of a software developer position is the ability to be engaged in custom software development and negotiations with a client. Software developers are responsible for different stages of a custom software development solution, designing the components, and troubleshooting. Every software developer must take into account end-to-end development principles as they help monitor and analyze the software process. If a project is scalable, a developer can dedicate all his/her time only to it; however, as a rule, developers juggle several projects simultaneously. 


The scope of a software developer’s responsibilities is quite enormous. We have summarized typical tasks for these experts here: 
✔️ Working closely with designers to make sure the result will fit the client’s requirements 
✔️ Testing software and fixing issues
✔️ Integrating third-party tools 
✔️ Writing clean and  high-quality codes
✔️ Reporting for the work accomplished 
✔️ Maintaining systems once they’re up and running


One of the significant differences between software developers and software engineers is the level of engagement to a project. While engineers are involved in the complete process, developers are responsible for one aspect of the software building. Let’s scrutinize the skills of a software developer in details: 
💡 Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degrees in computer science, information systems, or programming will be an ideal variant. However, many developers don’t have Master’s degrees but completed some industry-recognized certifications, courses, and training. 
💡 Solid analytical skills as developers have to translate clients’ needs into functionalities using different programming languages, tools, and frameworks. 
💡 As for computer languages, it is vital to be familiar with Java, JavaScript, C#, C++, Python. Software developers don’t have to know every single programming language, but it is significant to understand the logic behind a language. 
💡 Knowledge of using open source tools such as Azure, AngularJS, Atom, CloudForge, CodeCharge Studio, and others. 
💡 Great organizational skills and being detail-oriented to successfully manage different projects and prevent minor bugs that can result in major challenges. 
💡 Strong communication skills.
We haven’t mentioned accidentally that interpersonal and communication skills are crucial for a software developer. Top IT companies like us have implemented Agile and Lean cultures and methodologies. Even a tiny bug or miscommunication can lead to severe operational and financial losses. As a result, companies hire software developers who have an eye for details and communicate with team members and clients when it is necessary. 

What does a software engineer do?

A software engineer is a more complex activity that requires more education and expertise than a software developer. While software developers are solely engaged in building software that should be running seamlessly across different devices, software engineers work in a team and do multiple tasks. Engineers apply software engineering principles in UX/UI design, custom software development, QA testing, and maintenance. 
In the same way, any store manager worth their salt operates in one shop, taking into account every activity from goods supply to electricity and provides clients with great products to satisfy their needs. And for most shops, this is just great. But in more extensive facilities like malls or shopping centers, you have to take care of 50 or more stores. A store manager needs to deliver that same level of quality as a manager running one shop while meeting the needs of 50. This means these managers need to be more meticulous and organized in their work.


✔️ Managing all components of hardware system
✔️ Create tools to support development 
✔️ Build resilient and fault-tolerant systems from scratch 
✔️ Launch testing automation using  Gherkin, Ansible, or other tools 
✔️ Have expertise in creating and maintaining IT architecture, large-scale data systems, and cloud-based applications.
✔️ Develop scalable pipelines for deployment to support third-party integrations
✔️ Ability to work effectively by themselves and with teams
✔️ Seasoned software engineers must keep an eye on system analysis, UI/UX design, and development programs.
✔️ Supervise junior and middle developers 


💡 Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degrees in computer science, information systems, or programming. The position of a software engineer requires more education than for a software development vacancy.  
💡 Computer Programming in different languages C#, C++, HTML, Java, JavaScript, Perl, PHP, and Python
💡 Object-Oriented Design 
💡 Software Testing and Debugging.
💡 Ability to solve immediate issues, minimizing trade-offs to other system’s parts 
💡 Ability to coordinate software development for further deployment and installation 
💡 Strong communication skills to clarify specifications with clients. 


Now you’re like a top recruiter worth their salt, understand the difference between a software developer and a software engineer position. Sometimes, both engineers and developers are given the same tasks at the interview. However, the estimation of the results is different – engineers are always expected to show a global and complex approach. 
At Devtorium, we have 200+ seasoned engineers and developers with expertise in different frameworks, technologies, and industries. Schedule a consultation with our expert to discover who you actually need for embodying your idea into reality.
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