Software engineering vs. software development - these two seemingly simple concepts are relatively difficult to explain. It is because there are many similarities in both cases, and the differences are easiest to see when participating in the software project building process. It does not change the fact that software engineers and software developers are needed in the entire development process. The duties of software engineers and computer programmers are largely the same. However, despite the similarities, there are still many differences regarding demand, knowledge, and responsibilities. There are countries where this problem does not occur because the word "engineer" is related to legal regulations and cannot be used in computer science professions. However, in most countries, a debate has been going on for years over the similarities and differences between software developer vs. software engineer. This article examines the two professionals.
Who is a Software Engineer?
Software engineering is the process of designing, building, testing, and maintaining computer software. Software engineers use scientific knowledge and engineering principles to solve real-world problems on budget and on time. They are responsible for the entire software development life cycle and any existing problems. Instead of a specialized solution for a specific client, they have to develop a standard solution that will work for many people.
Software engineers are in charge of the development process as well. Software engineers must be both knowledgeable and enthusiastic about new technology. They must, however, consider regulatory limitations, safety, and cost.
Software engineers have a wider perspective on the situation than software developers. It implies they must concentrate more on the structure's architecture and debt reduction. A software engineer should be able to do anything a software developer can do with their own design vision in mind.
There are two main types of software engineers: system engineers and application engineers. System engineers design operating systems to suit businesses, while application engineers focus on what users need.
Of course, both types of software engineers, on the other hand, must be able to tackle issues and collaborate as part of a team.
A software engineer's ability to lead colleagues, including other software developers, is critical in any organization. Therefore, a software engineer must be able to build and manage IT architectures and databases. Should have knowledge of software and systems debugging and Automation testing expertise. A competent software engineer must also have a working knowledge of various programming languages and multi-core processors. Excellent analytical skills are essential, but the ability to solve problems quickly. Software engineers work with the entire team, which is why teamwork and resource management skills are crucial.
Who is a Software Developer?
You must have a software developer or even several software developers on your team to develop software successfully.
Software developers are people who create software that can be used on multiple platforms. These can be computer programs, various types of applications, and mobile & web development. They are geniuses at writing code they create from scratch. Additionally, they test the code at every stage of the development process and make the necessary corrections.
When creating software, developers must not only meet the project requirements, but above all, they should focus on the expectations and requirements of users.
Software developers must have several skills, including programming skills and knowledge of software tools and software systems. In this situation, knowledge about the software development cycle is even obvious.
A good software developer should have excellent mathematical and analytical skills so that he would be able to understand issues related to the data structure and carry out various analyzes on an ongoing basis. The attention to detail, good organization of work, and the ability to manage time are also significant.
Some say a good software developer should have a degree in computer science. Still, our experience shows that good programming can only be learned by programming. Of course, university knowledge certainly helps, but practice is vital in this profession.
At first glance, the differences between the two positions are not very clear. But if we look closely, there are some key differences.
- A software engineer designs, develops, maintains, tests, and evaluates computer software using software engineering ideas, whereas a software developer creates and maintains programs that run on many computers.
- The software developer's primary responsibility is to develop various application components that match the product's anticipated needs. They are in charge of the project from start to finish. A software engineer is responsible for the overall performance of a system. He makes sure that all architecture stabilizes and meets consumer standards.
- A software engineer creates custom software development tools for developers to use. In contrast, software development is essentially the work of an individual software developer on a specific piece of code.
- The critical difference is that software engineering is teamwork.
- Software engineers do what software developers do but supervise the project as a whole, and therefore the problems they solve are on a larger scale.
- The two positions also require different levels of education. Becoming a software engineer usually requires at least a bachelor's degree, while becoming a software developer does not require a university degree. All you need is good technical training and a willingness to learn constantly. For this reason, software engineers usually earn more than software developers.
Software Engineer Best Practices
Supervising and ongoing monitoring of an emerging project is challenging and highly responsible work. A good software engineer has to keep his finger on the pulse and monitor each element's formation. At the same time, he must be able to look at the project from a bird's eye view to evaluate the project as a whole. When problems arise (normal in any project), the software engineer must find a broad-spectrum solution that is best for both the project and the customer. He must make strategic decisions quickly because delays can have serious business and financial consequences. However, he must not forget that his duties are based on teamwork, so there is no way an outsider will be able to do the job well. The ability to manage time and people is competence, without which it is impossible to become a good software engineer. Other employees need to feel that the software engineer has the power to help with problem-solving and that the software engineer makes the final decision.
Software Developer Best Practices
A good software developer can create good software. When working on a project, a software developer must know and understand all stages of the software development life cycle. In addition, he must be aware of the business goals of the project and the requirements of both the client and future users of the product he creates.
The best coding practice for this work is achieved. The code should be created following a previously thought-out plan. It must be tested on an ongoing basis to prevent errors in the following stages of development, which would result in additional software developer work and delays in the project. The software developer should pay attention to details and conduct ongoing analyses, which improves the quality of work.
Making an accurate list of tasks for a given day is advantageous. It makes it easier to organize your time and have better control over the resulting code. Research proves that tasks must be started with the most difficult ones because a person has a natural tendency to postpone such tasks to later deadlines, and when this deadline comes, then it turns out that there is not enough time or strength.
The differences between software developers and software engineers are very fluid. A lot depends on the structure of a given company and the specifics of a given project.
It's also worth noting that some companies use the terms "Software Developer" and "Software Engineer" interchangeably. It is because each company has its own set of positions and responsibilities defined for them. Therefore, it may happen that in one company, a role with the same scope of responsibilities is assigned to a software developer and another to a software engineer.
Generally, software developers do everything software engineers do but on a limited scale. Thanks to this, they can be more creative than a software engineer. Software engineers tend to focus on bite-size projects, and software developers tend to focus on bite-size projects. It is worth noting that in the case of an engineer's software, we mean teamwork, while in the case of a developer, we mean individual work.
Both roles are essential to the company's infrastructure, and their work directly influences the performance of software systems, applications, and network systems.
The differences between software engineers and programmers mainly relate to how they approach the tasks and the scope they manage. Hopefully, knowing these differences has helped you understand what skills you should be looking for to hire the right people for your project. If you are still hesitating or have additional questions, arrange a free consultation with us. We have been creating software for over 12 years, so the IT industry has no secrets for us.
About the author
Milo Miszewski - Chief Executive Officer
Milo founded mDevelopers in 2010, bringing his over 10 years of sales management, B2B solutions, and business relations. Milo acts as the general director, as well as a mentor and advisor. In everyday work besides managing the company, he supports the sales department in networking and building relationships.