As the tech industry continues to grow and increase demand for coding classes for kids, job opportunities be
come increasingly abundant. Although this can be seen as a positive consequence of this booming sector, it can also make it harder for professionals to decide which career path is right for them. This is especially true for experienced professionals who are trying to decide between two seemingly similar professions such as software engineer and software developer. Both these positions involve working with software on a daily basis, but the responsibilities of each role are quite different. Let’s take a closer look at what these two jobs entail, their similarities and differences, and which one might be a better fit for you or your resume.
What is a Software Engineer?
A software engineer is a position that requires you to design, build, and test software. You might work in a specific industry, such as mining or banking, or you might work across industries, depending on your specific role.
- As a software engineer, you might create an app that allows businesses to track their inventory, or you might work on a more complex software program that controls an entire factory’s production process.
- Engineers often have a more high-level view of a project, meaning they usually have a good idea of how the entire thing will work, as opposed to just their specific task.
- Engineers often have more input into what technologies are used, how the project is budgeted, and how long it will take to complete.
- Engineers also often have a background in math or computer science and might specialize in a particular area of software engineering such as artificial intelligence or machine learning.
What is a Software Developer?
A software developer is a job title that can be applied to anyone who creates software, regardless of the type of software being created or the specific industry or type of company in which they work. This means that the responsibilities of a software developer will vary greatly based on the type of software being created and the organization for which they work.
For example, a software developer working on a consumer mobile app might be responsible for all aspects of the coding process, from designing to writing code, debugging, and testing. In contrast, a software developer working on a much more complex software program for a huge organization might have a more specialized role, with less of a focus on design and more of a focus on writing code that works with the pre-existing program.
In addition to creating the core software, developers also often have a role in managing the project, communicating with other team members, and ensuring that deadlines are met. Developers often have a computer science or programming degree and might specialize in a particular type of software such as mobile apps or artificial intelligence.
Now that we understand what these titles represent, let’s have a look at some of the most important responsibilities of both.
Some major roles of a Software Engineer
Depending on the company you work for and the specific industry, a software engineer’s responsibilities may vary. But in general,
- The engineer’s job is to create and design software systems by applying their technical knowledge, skills, and expertise.
- The engineer’s role is critical to creating a successful software product, especially in the initial stages of designing and planning.
- Software engineers are often responsible for ensuring that a system is reliable, efficient, and meets user needs. They typically work closely with product managers, project managers, designers, and other engineers to solve complex problems and produce robust systems.
- Engineers are often responsible for testing and debugging code to ensure that it works properly and that it can be easily updated and maintained.
- Engineers may also have to work on the front end of the software, such as creating user interfaces or visual elements that are part of the product.
- Collaboration is key in this job, as engineers typically work in teams with other software engineers and designers.
Some major roles of a Software Developer
As a software developer, you are responsible for both the creation and maintenance of software.
- A developer’s job often begins once an engineer has created a software design and developed a product.
- Developers are responsible for testing code and debugging any issues that may arise. They often work with engineers to make sure that the code is functional and meets the needs of users.
- The developer’s job goes beyond product creation to also involve supporting and maintaining the software in the long term. This means that developers must be able to troubleshoot any issues with the product and create patches and updates to keep the system functional.
- Developers are also responsible for updating documentation, team members, and clients on any product updates or changes.
Best Practices for Software Engineers
- Be a great communicator- Engineers need to be able to clearly and accurately communicate their ideas and solutions with both clients and team members. This means being able to effectively convey your ideas in both written and verbal communication. Great engineers are excellent listeners and can work well with both individuals and large teams. They can ask great questions, digest information, and come up with solutions. Engineers must be able to clearly and effectively communicate their ideas and solutions.
- Be a great team player- On a team with other engineers, designers, and project managers, engineers must be able-minded, flexible, and willing to do what is necessary to meet the project’s goals and deadlines. Engineers must be good team players who are able to take criticism and give feedback constructively. They must be able to collaborate well with other team members and be willing to compromise to meet the needs of the team and the project.
- Know your tech- No matter what specific career path you choose, you must be up to date on the latest software engineering technologies, languages, and trends. You must know what kind of skills and knowledge are in demand in the industry and what you can do to increase your employability. Engineers must know what problems exist within various industries and how they can solve these issues through software. Engineers should also be able-minded and curious enough to keep up with the latest technologies, products, and innovations to be prepared for any new challenges that may arise.
Best Practices for Software Developer
- Be a great communicator- While engineers must also be good communicators, developers must be great at communicating with other team members. They are often responsible for explaining the product to clients and team members, helping them use the software, and troubleshooting their issues. Developers must be able to clearly and accurately communicate with both individuals and large groups.
- Know your tech- As with engineers, developers must know the latest and most innovative technologies in the industry. They must stay up to date on new products, software, and programming languages to be prepared for any new challenges or projects that arise. Developers must also be able to effectively communicate their ideas and solutions to both engineers and clients.
- Be a great team player- As with engineers, developers must also be good team players. They must be able to work with engineers, designers, project managers, and product managers to create and maintain the software. Developers must be flexible in their approach to problem-solving and willing to do what is necessary to meet the project’s goals and deadlines. They must also be able to collaborate well with other team members and be willing to compromise to meet the needs of the team and the project.
Let’s discuss what is common between Software Engineers and Developers
- Both Software Engineers and Developers are computer scientists by profession and build software or systems.
- Both Engineers and Developers create and maintain software systems according to the business requirements and user needs.
- Both Professionals are expected to understand the user needs as well as the technical aspects of product development.
- Both Professionals are expected to design code and test the product to make sure it works as intended.
- Both Professionals are expected to make sure that the product is scalable, secure, and efficient enough to run smoothly.
How Are Software Engineers and Developers Different ?
- Engineers and developers both create software, which is pretty much where the similarities end.
- Engineers have a more high-level view of the project, while developers are more focused on the coding aspect of the project.
- Engineers often have a background in math or computer science, while developers might have any kind of degree or even no degree at all.
- Engineers are often more involved with the overall budget of the project, while developers are more focused on meeting specific deadlines.
- When it comes to the role of engineers and developers in the workplace, engineers often report to higher-level management and make more money than developers.
- Engineers usually have more years of experience and might sometimes have supervisory roles in which they oversee the work being done by other developers.
Which Is Better for Your Resume: Engineer or Developer?
This is an interesting question because it really depends on the type of work you want to do.
- Overall, engineers tend to have more job opportunities due to the high demand for this position, which is why it’s often recommended for people who are just starting out in the industry.
- Engineers have usually worked for many different types of companies and have experience working on a variety of different projects, which makes them valuable assets to any team.
- Engineers also usually have more years of experience than entry-level developers and make more money, which makes this option a great choice for people looking for a career with upward mobility opportunities.
- Software developers, on the other end, often have a more specialized role and are usually hired by specific companies who will likely keep them on for years or even decades due to the high demand for this type of work.
The level of your relevant work experience is a major factor in determining the position you could be offered. Individuals with greater job experience are more likely to get hired for higher-level, higher-paying positions. Thus, there is a difference in the salaries of entry-level and seasoned software engineers in the United States.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in software engineering or development, you can consider pursuing a professional certification. Some certifications are more specialized than others, but most are designed to evaluate a candidate’s proficiency with a certain skill set.
The list of possible programming certifications includes, but is not limited to the following:
- A+ Certification: The A+ certification is a computer hardware certification that tests knowledge of computer components.
- Certified Software Tester (CSST): The Certified Software Tester certification is a programming language-agnostic certification that tests knowledge of testing and debugging software. This certification is also available as an Associate certification.
Computer Science Certifications
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- CompTIA Security+
- Interoperability Engineers (I-ISE) Certification
- Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
- CompTIA Network+
- Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
- Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
- CompTIA Developer Associate
- Cisco Certified Design Associate (CCDA)
Some professional certificates for both Software Engineer and Developers
There are many professional certification programs available for engineers and developers, such as
- Software Analyst Certified by IEEE
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer – Microsoft Corp.
- American Society for Quality Certified Software Quality Engineer
- Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC Software Cyber Security)
- The Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers gives a Master Certification in Software Engineering (IEEE)
- Certified Software Development Professional from IEEE Certified Software Tester from International Software Certification Board Application Developer from Dell Corporation
- Oracle Corporation Java SE6 Developer Oracle Certified Master
No matter what career path you choose, it’s important to be familiar with the fundamentals of computer programming. Your future success may depend on the skills you learn through school, university or online coding classes.
Software engineers and developers have many responsibilities. They create functional computer software, write computer code, and test the product to make sure it works. Keep in mind that engineers and developers can have different job titles, such as software engineer and programmer/analyst. Before you decide what role is right for you, make sure you understand the difference between software engineers and developers, and the responsibilities that come with each position. When you are ready to apply for a software engineering or development job, make sure you highlight any applicable experience and skills.
It’s crucial to get your feet wet in the proper area and in the correct direction no matter which title you choose. Here at SkoolOfCode, we teach our students to solve problems in a logical and creative manner by giving them project-based learning modules that have them writing real code. Instead of waiting, why not schedule a no-risk trial lesson right away?
By – Ms. Manpreet Virk, Head of E-learning and an educator at SkoolofCode with degree in M.Phil. and Master in Computer Science. She is passionate about learning and teaching young minds.