Software Developer vs Software Engineer: Look at the differences

February 22, 2023

Tags: IT Staff Augmentation, Technologies

desarrollador de software


When companies undertake the challenge of creating a new software product or improving the software they already have, the question arises: do I hire a software developer or a software engineer? They are two of the terms used in the technology industry and, although they may seem synonymous, specific details differentiate one profile from another.


Let's see if both profiles can do the same kind of tasks in a software development project. They have similar tools and skills, but maybe the role on the job site changes a bit.


For example, a software engineer is expected to work managing teams, be a strategist, and be an analytical person to determine the needs of software with respect to the demands of the users. But in the case of software developers, they are expected to work more focused on the coding, development, and applications part, instead of managing teams.


Software Developer: What do they do?


As the name itself indicates, the job of a software developer is to create different kinds of software, be they websites, web applications, mobile applications, or business, banking, and health management software. The possibilities are endless.


Software developers tend to work more independently and directly with the client, having extensive knowledge of programming languages and systems to be able to transform what the client needs into a real software solution.


desarrollador de software


At an academic level, software developers often have specializations in certain technologies, tools, and programming languages that allow them to perform their work. Many are trained in coding boot camps, where they are trained to work on certain technology.


Another important aspect is that software developers tend to be more flexible when working since they allow working both in person, remotely, or in a hybrid mode.


software developers


A software developer is responsible for:


  • Understand customer or user expectations
  • Develop software according to customer specifications
  • Do software tests to detect errors and make adjustments
  • Provide support and maintenance to the software created


Also, you should know:


  • From programming languages like Java, C#, C++ and Python.
  • Analytical skills to understand software needs.
  • Using GitHub.
  • Work detail-oriented to better manage each stage of the development cycle.
  • Understand the logic of the code.


The constant monitoring of the code is the responsibility of the software developer, since he is the one who is immersed in the development cycle. You must guarantee the quality and consistency of the work that is being done, also be aware of the delivery of project progress and deadlines.


desarrollador de software


Software Engineer: What is he in charge of?


First of all, a software engineer applies engineering principles to the design, development, testing, and maintenance of software. These principles are:


- The testability and maintainability of the program's functions, as explained in a Computer Science article.
- Design, verification and assurance processes that everything is right in the software.
- Clear and specific external integration standards.


As for schooling, software engineers are trained at the university level, in Computer Science or Information Science majors, or in any program that focuses on software and coding. Having a university degree opens many doors for you in companies that do value this type of academic qualification.


Skills expected of a software engineer:


  • Extensive knowledge of programming languages
  • Team leadership skills
  • Ability to debug software and systems
  • Project management skills
  • Ability to create the necessary tools to develop software, they referred to in a Coursera article.
  • In-depth knowledge of user needs
  • object oriented design
  • Ability to collaborate and interpersonal skill


desarrollador de software


A software engineer is characterized by working more in a team, either being part of one or leading it. In addition, the scale of problem solving is very wide in a software engineer, they are very systematic and analytical.

While a developer focuses mostly on making sure that the code is as good as possible, a software engineer must think on a larger scale, validating that the code is of quality but also analyzing business opportunities that benefit the company.


Differences between software developer and software engineer


  • Software engineers can be involved in software development, but developers rarely get involved in engineering, they explain in an article on DevMontain, a platform from Strayer University.
  • Software engineers apply engineering principles to development, while software developers focus on their knowledge of programming languages to create their products.
  • Software developers help find solutions to specific software problems, while engineers must look for solutions that apply to the entire system as a whole, or just a part of it.


desarrollador de software


  • There is a difference in academics, since software engineers are trained at the university, or in a degree program, while developers can be trained independently, applying for certifications, specializations, or graduating from bootcamps that specialize in a certain area. 
  • On a technical level, a software developer may be involved in certain stages of the software development cycle, while the software engineer is charged with ensuring compliance with the software development cycle from the beginning.
  • The responsibilities of a software developer are usually very specific, being a job that he can carry out alone; but software engineers are involved with the work of the rest of the roles in the team, be it other developers, UX designers, test engineers, among others.


Do you need support with the development of your software? At Rootstack, we have +10 years of experience supporting global companies in their digital transformation. Contact us!


We recommend you on video