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When looking to hire a custom software development company, you can get quite confused by the multitude of choices and professional jargon. One of the most important questions you’ll need to ask is whether you should hire a software developer or a software engineer. This choice will matter greatly, so you must understand the difference between these experts.

There has been a long debate about the roles and responsibilities of these two professions within a custom web development company. Some say that software developers and engineers are the same because their job descriptions are pretty similar. However, others believe that these professionals’ levels of engagement and skill are quite different despite this overlap.

Let’s put an end to this discussion today and explain who is who in the world of custom software development.

Breaking Down Custom Software Development Duties: Software Developer Vs. Software Engineer

Custom software development: software developer duties and skills.

What does a software developer do? 

Most people think that software developers are nerdy geeks. That may be true in their personal lives. However, these people have to be highly creative at work to bring cutting-edge ideas to life using tech skills. In addition, they are great analysts as they constantly compare and use various technologies, libraries, and approaches to create software.

Moreover, they must possess a high level of creativity to apply a limited number of structured tools in new ways to achieve original results.

The complexity of a developer’s position is that they must both engage in custom software development and negotiate with clients. These experts are responsible for different stages of product development, components design, and troubleshooting. Every dev must consider end-to-end development principles as they help monitor and analyze the software creation process.

Usually,  developers juggle several projects simultaneously. However, if the project is large and scalable, the dev might focus on it exclusively.

Dev’s responsibilities during custom software development

The scope of a software developer’s responsibilities is quite enormous. The list below gives some idea of it: 

  • Working closely with designers to ensure the result fits the client’s requirements.
  • Testing software and fixing all issues that come up.
  • Integrating the solution with third-party tools.
  • Writing clean and high-quality code.
  • Reporting about the completed tasks regularly.
  • Maintaining the systems once they’re up and running.

Must-have skills for a software developer

One of the significant differences between software developers and software engineers is the level of engagement with a project. While engineers manage the entire process, developers are responsible for one aspect of software building. Therefore, to succeed in custom software development, these experts require a specific set of skills: 

  • Solid analytical skills.
    Developers have to translate clients’ needs into functionalities using different programming languages, tools, and frameworks.  It means that analytical ability is crucial for the profession. 
  • Knowledge of several programming languages.
    A software developer doesn’t need to know all programming languages. However, it’s essential for them to know several. This way, they can come up with more creative and efficient solutions and have a better understanding of the products they design. The most popular languages today are Java, JavaScript, C#, C++, and Python. Software developers should understand the logic behind different languages. However, they usually specialize in one.
  • Skill in using open-source platforms and tools.
    Today’s leading developers should understand and have the skills to use open-source tools such as Azure, AngularJS, Atom, CloudForge, CodeCharge Studio, etc. But, again, the dev should specialize in a few. 
  • GitHub.
    Over 50% of all organizations use GitHub, so a software developer today must have an account there. In fact, showing off that account is an essential part of a dev’s CV.
  • Cloud computing.
    Every software developer should have a good understanding and experience working with cloud services. Today everything is moving to the cloud, so being an AWS certified expert or similar is a must.
  • Great self-organization skills.
    A good dev should be detail-oriented to successfully manage different projects and prevent minor bugs that can result in significant challenges. 
  • Strong communication skills.
    Remember that communicating with a customer is an important part of the dev’s work. So, this professional must have communication skills and good mastery of the customer’s language. Even a tiny bug or miscommunication can lead to severe operational and financial losses.

Interestingly, having an actual degree in computer science isn’t mandatory for a top-level developer. Many people start their work in custom software development from basic courses or even by learning independently. The most important things are the expert’s skill and proof of that skill through a portfolio.

Custom software development: software engineer skills and duties.

What does a software engineer do?

Software engineering is more complex than mere development. Therefore, this profession requires a higher level of education and expertise. Devs are solely engaged in building software that should be running seamlessly across different devices. Meanwhile, software engineers perform and manage multiple tasks to make sure that the solution as a whole works smoothly.

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 can operate the entire shop, from goods supply to utility management, and work with customers, a software engineer can run the whole software creation and maintenance process. Taking the comparison further, the engineer is often a network manager instead of a single store. Simply put, the engineer’s work is the next step above developers. But software development is something that an engineer must have knowledge and expertise in.

Engineer’s responsibilities during custom software development

  • Managing all components of the hardware system.
  • Creating tools to support every stage of software development.
  • Building resilient and fault-tolerant systems from scratch.
  • Software testing using various automation tools and QA specialists. 
  • Building and maintaining IT architecture, large-scale data systems, and cloud-based applications.
  • Developing scalable pipelines for deployment to support third-party integrations.
  • Working effectively with multiple teams.
  • Monitoring system analysis, UI/UX design, and development programs.
  • Supervising junior and middle developers.

Essential skills for a software engineer

Due to their critical role in the custom software development process, a software engineer must have all the skills of a dev. However, they must take it further. To succeed in this profession, you’ll need some highly specific skills that have little to do with the actual development process.

  • Computer programming and coding.
    An engineer should have a deep understanding of the most popular languages for their niche. For example, for a custom web development company, this can include C#, C++, HTML, Java, JavaScript, Perl, PHP, and Python.
  • Object-oriented design.
    A software engineer must be able to come up with a design that will be efficient on every level, from production to marketing.
  • Software testing and debugging.
    While not replacing QA specialists, software engineers must understand precisely how to find and fix any product issues.
  • Problem-solving skills.
    An engineer must have the ability to solve immediate issues, minimizing trade-offs to other system’s parts.
  • Efficient teamwork with versatile teams.
    Software engineers need the ability to coordinate every team involved in tor product’s release.
  • Strong communication skills.
    Software engineers often have to clarify specifications with clients. They must be able to communicate effectively and sometimes intervene in the chain of communication between customers and developers.

Unlike software developers, it’s highly recommended for an engineer to have a Bachelor’s or even a Master’s degree in computer science, information systems, or programming.  

Conclusion: Role of Devs and Engineers in Custom Software Development

A custom web development company, as well as any other business that offers end-to-end solutions, must employ both software developers and software engineers. These experts work very closely together. However, they have distinctively different roles in the process of creating top-quality software.

To learn more about these professionals and how they can help bring your ideas and plans to life, contact us directly!