According to a recent study by Linkedin, software engineering and engineering are among the top 15 new jobs in the US for 2020. Full cycle engineers showed an annual growth of 35%. On the other hand, software developers also have new positions. However, what is the difference between a software developer and a software engineer?
This article will look at the main differences between developers and engineers in terms of job tasks, job responsibilities, and salaries. By the end of the article, you will also be able to test the skills of a software engineer or developer and place yourself in a certain category.
Although people often confuse the terms, there are a few key differences between a software engineer and a software developer. In short, a software developer is the creator of computer software or code. This means that developers are mainly focused on creating software and for this reason they are called coders. On the other hand, an engineer has a more holistic approach, a complete perspective of a software development project.
Thus, by applying certain engineering principles, engineers play a different role than developers. In fact, this means that the difference between the two positions is related to the job function. More precisely, there are differences in many key points: technologies, roles, responsibilities.
To make this clear, each of these positions needs an individual approach. Let’s dive into what a software developer and software engineer do.
What are the main responsibilities of software developers?
In most cases, software development is a separate task. The software developer is responsible for writing the code/program. At the same time, developers usually work on a more limited scale than engineers. Of course, this does not mean that the developer is not as creative as the engineer. Using tools and developing software, programmers create software systems for the web, desktop or mobile devices from scratch. Therefore, the developer must be creative and come up with viable and innovative solutions.
Similarly, a software developer typically deals with one or more of the following development tasks:
- Software development: it must meet the needs of the owners.
- Analysis and recommendations for software updates.
- Develop strategies showing the code needed to develop an application.
- Application maintenance and testing.
What are the main responsibilities of software engineers?
On the other hand, software development is a team effort. Thus, an experienced software engineer is usually involved in more than one component of building a high-quality application system. For this reason, engineers solve larger programming problems. Thus, the engineer must be more systematic than the developer, since this person must work with other engineers to develop the system. Thus, a software engineer is usually responsible for:
- Creation of software product modifications
- Providing advice and support to the entire development team
- Developing a comprehensive strategy to help clients understand and adjust their needs.
- Communication with customers
- Create a service summary for a customer
- Hire a development team
Key Differences Between Software Developers and Engineers
It becomes obvious that software engineers and software developers have more differences than just their titles. In addition to the type of activity and the workflow itself, there are other differences. For example, in order for software engineers to succeed in their jobs, education in software engineering is required.
On the other hand, not all leading software developers have a degree in relevant studies (eg, software engineering, computer science). Actually this is not a requirement. For example, many professional developers have learned programming languages in programming seminars/training courses, and some of the best are self-taught.
- Software Engineer
- Higher education in software development
- Engineer is part of a complete workflow
- The engineer solves larger development problems and leads the development team.
- Technologies – regardless of programming languages, as an engineer solves fundamental and deep problems
- Software developer
- Software Engineering Education
- Participates only in part of the workflow
- Developer creates an application
- Technologies – usually uses one or more programming languages that he owns
Software Developers and Software Engineers Resume Screening: What to Expect from the Experience
In addition to the differences between developers and engineers that are celebrated in graduate degrees, there is a big difference in the career path in each position. A good software engineer resume should include proof of the following skills:
- Excellent communication with previous clients
- Honesty and Independence
- Knowledge of engineering concepts and approaches
- Project management skills
- Excellent analytical skills
- Excellent problem solving skills
On the other hand, an experienced software developer focuses on the following skills:
- Knowledge of (at least) one programming language
- Familiarity with operating systems such as Windows, iOS, Android, etc.
- Writing quality code
- Code testing knowledge
- Knowledge of algorithms and data structures
This does not mean that these technical skills cannot overlap. In fact, a highly skilled engineer should have a deep understanding of most web development skills. As mentioned earlier, the roles and responsibilities of engineers and software developers also share some fundamental similarities.
How to test the skills of a software developer and engineer?
If you are looking to hire a software developer or engineer, there are a few tips to keep in mind. An important factor that you should always consider is the candidate’s adaptability and willingness to learn. Don’t forget that great engineers and software developers continue to learn and adapt throughout their careers.
In addition, you should always make sure that the candidate is an excellent team player and has the cultural profile you are requesting. It becomes obvious that when it comes to soft skills, both job descriptions have similar requirements.
However, testing the professional skills of a software developer or engineer can be a difficult task. What is really worth paying attention to is their approach to solving the problem, at what level they are trying to find a solution. Let’s look at a few guidelines to help you choose the perfect person for the job.
There are several ways to ensure that a software developer has the skills you need:
Interview: Whether you decide to hire in-house or offshore IT staff, conducting an interview is critical. It would be helpful if you always asked general and more technical questions about the specific languages your software uses. For example, if you want to hire an AngularJS developer, you should prepare an appropriate list of questions related to AngularJS skills.
Use Platforms with Pre-Verified Candidates: When hiring a remote developer, you can use platforms with internal developer rankings that you can use as a starting point in the vetting process. For example, you can use Upwork’s filters to only select candidates with a certain level of experience, achievement, English level, etc.
Use an Online Code Tester: Online platforms like HackerRank and CodeRignal can help you test a candidate’s skill set with live code tests.
How to Test Software Engineer Skills
Accordingly, the same advice applies to programmers. But it is expected that the results and ways of solving the problem in these cases will be more sophisticated. The engineer must demonstrate the best analytical and mathematical abilities. They should also be able to organize the development process of the whole team, and not solve the problem alone.
For many people, “software developer” and “software engineer” are synonymous. This is part of reality, and we must be prepared for the fact that these terms can be used in this way. At the same time, there are significant differences between a software developer and a software engineer. These differences apply to many aspects of each job, such as workflow, core role responsibilities, tools used.
In a nutshell, a software engineer is someone who has some educational experience in software development (which may be a formal college degree or just some courses), is proficient in at least one programming language, and works on development problems on a limited scale. They are expected to be professionals capable of solving a specific problem.
Software engineers are professionals who have a degree in computer engineering, can apply high-level approaches to problem solving and solve complex problems on a large scale.
All this determines a noticeable difference between the average salaries of developers and engineers. Software engineers are involved in the entire development process and collaborate with all team members. For this reason, their average salary is usually higher than that of software developers.
Today, many companies expect good interpersonal skills from their employees, but this is a little more important for software engineers than for software developers.