Skip to Content
App Development
5 minutes read

Software Development Vs. Software Engineering

By Jose Gomez
software development vs software engineering
By Jose Gomez
App Development
5 minutes read

Software development and software engineering are terms that are closely related and often used interchangeably, even among computer programming and information technology experts. 

However, software development and software engineering, while overlapping in many tasks and technical skills, like writing code, are different. 

Understanding the difference between software developers and software engineers is important if your organization wants to hire the right people for the software development process. 

This post will examine the differences between software development and software engineering, including how software engineers differ from software developers. Both roles are crucial to the success of the development process. 

Understand the computer science terms in use and ensure your organization is maximizing its efforts to develop software

Software Engineering and Software Development: Defining the Terms 

Software engineering is the application and use of engineering principles to create software systems and solutions. A software engineer will fully participate in the software development life cycle by connecting client needs with the appropriate technologies. 

Software engineering focuses on developing processes to provide specific functions and services. A software engineer must have in-depth knowledge and understanding of engineering concepts to succeed. 

Software development is the process of conceiving, designing, programming, and testing used in the creation of computer applications, mobile apps, and web apps. Software developers manage the entire software development cycle.

Software development is a subset of software engineering. It is not as broad of a discipline despite sharing many of the same qualities. As a result, many people confuse the terms and use them interchangeably. 

Software Developer Vs. Software Engineer: Which Role Is More Valuable? 

Does your project require a software developer or a software engineer? Now that you know there is a difference between these roles, you might wonder which role is more important to the success of your development project. 

Software developers and software engineers work together and they are both vital to the success of a dynamic development project. Let’s take a closer look at each role’s responsibilities, so your organization can gain a better understanding of how they differ from one another.

The Responsibilities of a Software Developer 

Software developers create, build, modify, and maintain software applications for end-users. A software developer does more than just write code or program functions and features. 

A software developer is involved in the entire development life cycle. They must understand how to write software using programming languages, debug software, and deploy and launch a completed product. 

Software developers also take part in the research that occurs before development, so they must understand business requirements and how technologies can meet those needs. In addition, a software developer will also be involved with testing and securing an application. 

Depending on the size of your organization and development project, you might have specific testing, development, deployment, and maintenance teams. 

However, every team should include software developers, and any software developer you hire should have knowledge of every facet of this development and deployment process. 

The Responsibilities of a Software Engineer

Software engineers utilize engineering principles to build software. You might think that this sounds a lot like what a software developer does, and you wouldn’t be wrong. However, the role of a software engineer involves an additional layer of abstraction. 

Typically, a software engineer will design the software system. As a result, software engineers should be able to create high and low-level software design documentation. A software engineer should understand algorithms and data structures and how they are used to build software.

Software engineers not only design software, but they also handle data management. As a result, a software engineer needs to have in-depth knowledge of data access patterns, schema, and data makeup. 

Software engineers have more big picture responsibilities than software developers. For example, they will concern themselves with the scalability and analytics of the software being developed. 

On top of all of the technical skills software engineers must possess, the people in this role must also possess non-technical interpersonal skills. Generally, software engineers will communicate with a wider range of people than a software developer, from key stakeholders and business people to end-users and developers. 

A software engineer is more likely to have a computer science degree than a software developer. However, both software engineers and software developers tend to distinguish themselves in the industry based on skill and less on degrees or certifications. 

What Your Organization Needs to Consider 

Software developers and software engineers are very similar. Both roles participate in the development of software and write code. You could hire a software engineer to fill the role of a software developer. However, you can’t necessarily hire a software developer to fill the role of a software engineer.

As a result, your organization’s HR team needs to understand what the company’s needs are and which role best fits those needs. Unfortunately, since software engineers and software developers are so similar there is a lot of confusion distinguishing between them, especially for non-technical people. 

If your hiring team is not sure which role to hire, bring technically knowledgeable team members into the hiring process to ensure that your organization fills the right role. In addition, you could reach out to a skilled app development partner to help your organization find the talent it needs to complete its project. 

Final Thoughts 

Software developers and software engineers are not the same. However, they are very similar to one another. Before you hire a software developer or software engineer, make sure that you understand what their skills are and what your needs are.

Developers and engineers are both necessary when building dynamic software. If you want to learn more about software developers and software engineers, reach out to a skilled development partner like Koombea.

Girl With Glasses

Want to Build an App?

Request a free app consultation with one of our experts

Contact Us