Software Engineer vs Software Developer: What’s The Difference?

What is Software Engineer?

A software engineer is a professional who applies the principles of software engineering for designing, development, maintenance, testing, and evaluation of computer software.

In this tutorial, you will learn:

What is a Software Developer?

Software developers are professionals who build software which runs across various types of computer. They write code from scratch. The application could be a desktop application like Photoshop, mobile apps like Instagram, web apps like Facebook, and Twitter.


  • Software Engineer is a professional who applies the principles of software engineering for designing, development, maintenance, testing, and evaluation of computer software whereas Software Developer is a professional who builds software which runs across various types of computer.
  • Software Engineer is a team activity while Software Developer is primarily a solitary activity.
  • Software Engineer works with other components of the hardware system whereas Software Developers write a complete program.
  • Software Engineer creates the tools to develop software while Software Developers use readymade tools to build apps.
  • Software Engineer tends to solve issues on a much larger scale whereas Software Developers tend to do everything that engineers do but on a limited scale.

Google Trends Software engineer vs. Software Developer

Software Engineer Vs. Developer

Here are some important differences between a software engineer and software developer:

Parameter Software Engineer Software Developer
Degree Bachelor’s degrees in software engineering are additional benefits than those in software development. Software development degrees are treated as specializations for information technology or computer programing.
Type of activity Software engineering is a team activity. Development is primarily a solitary activity.
Work process A software engineer is involved in the complete process Development is one aspect of the software project building process.
Working style A software engineer works on components with other engineers to build a system. A developer writes a complete program.
Career Path
  • Software engineer
  • Principal software engineer
  • Lead Software Development Engineer
  • Software Architect
  • Developer
Working style Engineers tend to solve issues on a much larger scale. So, there is not much room left for creative solutions, and instead, they need to be more systematic, and they’re thinking. Developers tend to do everything that Engineers do but on a limited scale. This allows them to be more creative than an engineer, coming up with solutions.
Tools The software engineer is who creates the tools to develop software, for example, visual studio and eclipse. They use software tools to develop web, mobile, and desktop apps.
Salaries The average salary for a Software Engineer is $105,861 per year in the United States. The average salary for a Software Developer is $92,380 per year in the United States.

Best Practices for Software Engineers:

Here are some best practices for software engineers:

  • Software engineers should act in such a way that it is beneficial to the client as well as the employer.
  • Ensure software products and related modifications that should meet the highest professional standards.
  • Software engineers should be able to maintain integrity and independence in their professional approach.
  • Able to promote and ethical approach for software development and maintenance.
  • Software engineers shall be supportive of their colleagues.

Best Practices for Software Developers

Here are some important best practices for software developers:

  • Understand how your code helps drive the overall business.
  • Use the code effectively in the project
  • Write your daily coding goals
  • Plan how to approach your immediate coding task
  • Start the project with the Hardest part of your project

Challenges of Software Engineers

Here are some critical challenges faced by software engineers:

  • In safety-critical areas such as space, nuclear power plants, etc. the cost of software failure can be massive because lives are at risk.
  • Increased market demand is quite a challenge for software engineers.
  • Dealing with the increased complexity of software always demand new applications.
  • The diversity of software systems should be communicating with each other.

Challenges of Software Developer

Following are some common challenges faced by Software Developer:

  • Misinterpreted end-user requirements
  • Not able to deal with changing requirements
  • Work on models which doesn’t feet to together
  • Software that’s difficult to maintain or extend
  • Late discovery of some important project flaws
  • Poor quality of the software is another common challenge which is often faced by a software especially in low-cost projects

Role and Responsibilities of Software Engineers and Developers

Software Engineer and Developer Skills

  • Should have excellent analytical skills
  • The person should have experience creating and maintaining IT architectures and databases.
  • Pattern design and experience with cloud-based infrastructure.
  • Hands-on experience on multi-core CPU.
  • Professional Should be able to use various software development methodologies like Agile, Scrum, Kanban

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Work across teams to provide technical guidance and support the entire development process of the product.
  • Develop a well thought out plan which helps clients to produce a program which meets the needs of a client
  • Prepare a training manual that can be used by application users.
  • Attend meetings with clients, computer programmers, and other staff.
  • Improves operations by completing systems analysis work.
  • Obtaining and licensing software after gaining relevant data from vendors.
  • Providing relevant data through the collection, analysis, and summarizing of service and development issues
  • Build tools for improving internal productivity