software engineer (2022 Guide)

What Is the Difference Between Software Engineers and Software Developers?

BrainStation’s Software Engineer career guide is intended to help you take the first steps toward a career in software engineering. Read on to explore the difference between Software Engineers and Software Developers.

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The difference between Software Engineers and Software Developers is that while both positions require that you learn how to code and have other developer skills, Software Engineers are expected to guide and navigate the entire software development life cycle, working first to understand the client’s needs and then to oversee the development process to ensure those needs are met.

Software Engineers combine engineering and computer science principles to create software and guide the software development process. They usually oversee a team or work within a team, but Software Engineers rarely work independently and usually work with a diverse cross-section of stakeholders.

They must manage resources, understand data, coordinate development tasks and supervise entire projects.

By contrast, Software Developers are the driving force behind actually ensuring that software concepts are carried out as envisioned. They also need to thoroughly understand a client’s needs to ensure their code aligns with a design idea, but they might not have as much or any direct contact with clients. Software Developers will also work in tandem with Web Developers and Computer Programmers to test and solve technical problems along the development process.

Software Developers can work as part of a team or alone, but it’s more rare that they would lead a team.

And What is the Difference Between Software Engineers and Web Developers?


Although there’s significant overlap between these roles and specific job responsibilities can vary greatly, Web Developers generally build apps and websites while Software Engineers are responsible for overseeing the creation of more complex applications and programs for computers, mobile devices, and other electronic hardware.

While Software Engineers often lead a team to conceptualize, create, code, test, and upgrade software and systems, Web Developers typically using computer code to create user-facing applications, websites and other web products.

Web Developers, like Software Developers, can work as part of a team or alone, and are far more likely to work in a freelance capacity than a Software Engineer.

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