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Vicente Antonio G. Reyes
Vicente Antonio G. Reyes

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The difference between a software engineer and a software developer

When I started to learn how to code, I only wanted to build web apps and other cool stuff with what I'd learn. When I checked job posts in different job sites, I often saw two different roles which made me think what are the differences in terms of responsibilities of those two roles. Researching a little bit more, I learned that when hiring managers and job seekers are confused on what a software developer and a software engineer is with its responsibilities.

I try to explain in this article what those two different roles are. I've been a lead backend engineer at a HIPAA compliant startup, a freelance django/shopify/webflow developer in the past 5 years.

Software Developer Responsibilities

  • advanced insight
  • create, test, refine apps, update, debug
  • targets consumer markets
  • collaborates w/ testers and QA
  • works with computer design companies
  • understands user needs

Software Engineer Responsibilities

  • logic-based and process-based concepts
  • product and system development
  • apply engineering principles to create apps
  • testability and maintainability of functions
  • design, verify and assure processes


Didn't include all that I experienced and read in some websites like salary, education, skills and programming languages.

Top comments (2)

philliprichdale profile image
Phillip Richdale

Sounds just like two different skill-levels to me.

"Engineer" is quite a generic term in the US. In Germany, you're not allowed to call yourself an Engineer ("Ingenieur") unless you have a specific education that qualifies you for that title.

My levels would be "Developer", "Senior Developer", "Architect" and I would assume that each level includes all the skills required for the preceding levels.

I would only reserve "Engineer" for people who are skilled and reputably/officially certified to follow specific requirements, like someone who programs spacecraft, nuclear powerplants or highly mission-critical real-time embedded systems such as safety electronics in vehicles.

The title "Engineer" is used to liberally in the US IMHO. Inflation of titles is the result.

smsp profile image
Sobhan Mowlaei

Greate Bro