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Contrasting Roles of a Software Developer vs Engineer
2021-07-22 /

Software Developer vs Engineer: What is the difference

When you talk about software teams, you might not have any idea what it is made up of. Sometimes, a software developer might be mistaken for an engineer. But did you know that they have very different roles? Let’s explore the differences between a software developer vs engineer here.

Working on your software product will require you to work with a software team. Just like building a home or an office, your team must consist of people with the necessary skills to complete the project. The expertise of each team member will allow you to build a functional product. 

Building your software product will require you to work with a software developer or engineer. Understanding the differences between their roles will help you determine which tasks to delegate. So, it’s essential to know the roles that make up a great software team.

Software Developer vs. Engineer: Distinct Differences in Roles

It might be difficult to distinguish the roles between a software developer vs engineer. Most of the time, employers are not so sure about the differences. Additionally, even members of software teams have a hard time defining their roles.

Essentially, many software engineers overlap roles with developing software. But, not every software developer knows the role of a software engineer. Of course, both must know how to code. So, how are they different?

The Software Developer

Generally, software developers focus on client needs. This means that there are limits to their scope of work compared to software engineers. Creativity is also an important trait of software developers since they work closely with their clients.

Here are the elements that make up a software developer:

Knows How to Code

Software developers develop the code that includes designing the components of an app. They work with other programmers to write the code but should have a higher level of expertise. Some basic skills needed are:

  • Working knowledge of basic web development frameworks such as JavaScript, jQuery, ReactJS, and AngularJS.
  • Able to write clean and easy-to-maintain code
  • Knowledge of building the application’s front-end using available tools and workflows.
  • Highly collaborative and adaptable to agile development practices.

The technical skills needed to become a software developer are necessary to make analytical decisions. Most times, software developers are responsible for developing a section of the project. 

With their expertise, software developers are more efficient in performing their roles. Usually, they do not build an entire system.

Responsible for Quality

Software developers help monitor the progress of the projects from start to finish. This means that they help design, test, debug, and optimize software products. Mainly, they put the quality top of mind. They maintain software quality and consistency through runs, repairs, and revisions.

Great Communicators

Software developers collaborate with other professionals involved in the project. From designers, programmers, senior managers, and clients, software developers do need to have this soft skill.

To develop the software product, different teams have different requirements. Software developers need high analytical skills to gauge the clients’ requirements and software capabilities. This is why a software developer needs to communicate and be collaborative.

The Software Engineer

If a software developer’s focus is on a small scale, a software engineer considers the bigger picture. Their main focus is on structural design. A software engineer makes solutions that take so much consideration. 

Generally, software engineers apply engineering principles all throughout their projects. They monitor and work on design, development, maintenance, testing, and evaluation. Software engineers are leaders who must have significant skills in mathematics and science. Compared to software developers, they tend to get more creative.

A software engineer’s work usually monitors all components of a project. Here are some of the qualifications of a software engineer:

  • Proficient in advanced mathematics
  • Involvement in creating and keeping up with data sets and IT designs
  • High-level problem-solving skills
  • Working knowledge of programming languages, e.g. C++
  • Experience working on debugging software systems
  • Background experience in pattern design
  • Working experience in cloud-based infrastructure
  • Proficient in automated testing and developing scalable domain-specific languages and pipelines
  • Independent and able to collaborate with teams
  • Resource management

In other words, a software engineer is a highly skilled software developer. Their only difference is that a software engineer’s focus is on managing a complex system while a software developer is all about finishing one important element of a whole.

Defining Roles: Software Developer vs. Engineer

Now that we know that software developers vs engineers what makes the two different, here is a list to compare and contrast each role:

  • Software Engineers solve issues on a larger scale. Software Developers tend to accomplish what engineers can, but only at a limited scale.
  • A Software Engineer designs the tools that help develop software products. Sometimes, Software Developers use these tools to build applications.
  • Since software engineers solve problems at a higher level, they tend to be more systematic. However, software developers come up with creative solutions on the project they are assigned with.
  • A software engineer is highly involved in the development and completion. Software developers are usually assigned one aspect of the whole project.
  • Software engineers help develop the system, while software developers write the complete program.

There will be a lot of overlaps between software developers vs engineers. However, one must consider the key distinctions between each of their roles in building software products. This is important when you are working with a software development team. 

Here at Full Scale, we work with both developers and engineers with our clients. We help businesses create software products to provide better service to their clients. We help choose the right software experts for you. 

Our talented pool of software developers and engineers is ready to help you. Get started today and let us know how we can help you achieve great results for your company!  

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