Software Developer vs Software Engineer – What’s the Difference?

Some terms in the Computer Science field are quite confusing for many people. They regularly use those terms but often don’t know the exact purpose. Software developer and software engineer are two of those terms. Even if you are a technical person, you must’ve faced a time when you couldn’t understand which term is more appropriate for what purpose. Let’s try to figure it out.

Let us define the Software development and software engineering one by one.

Who is a software engineering?

A software engineer is a person who must be able to understand programming languages very well. He or she develops and maintains software applications and systems responsive to users’ needs. They must have the ability to exhibit logical, structured thinking that helps identify even the most minute of glitches immediately. A person who assumes this role requires having an excellent attention to detail, problem-solving and communication skills.

They apply the principles of engineering, computer science and mathematics to the design and development of the software.

The term software engineer did not exist before the middle of the 1960s. They were often called or associated with computer programmers or software developers. Up until now, the definition and job description of a software engineer is never clear. The argument arises from the title itself, software engineer, which is not really a real engineer, just like civil, electrical, electronics, mechanical, and other engineering professions. The argument for the title claims that as the engineers’ task is the building a software from scratch. It seemed logical after all, that is what engineers do – design, and build.

What is Software Development?

The process of conceiving, specifying, designing, programming, documenting, testing, and bug fixing involved in creating and maintaining applications, frameworks, or other software components is called software development. It is the process of writing and maintaining the source code, but in a broader sense, it includes all that is involved between the conception of the desired software through to the final manifestation of the software, sometimes in a planned and structured process. Therefore, software development may include research, new development, prototyping, modification, reuse, re-engineering, maintenance, or any other activities that result in software products.

Software however, can be developed for a variety of purposes. To meet specific needs of a specific client or business for their potential users, or for personal use. Embedded software development is the development of embedded software used for controlling consumer products, requires the development process to be integrated with the controlled physical product. System software underlies applications and the programming process itself and is often developed separately.

There are many approaches to software project management, known as software development life cycle models, methodologies, processes, or models. The waterfall model is a traditional version, contrasted with the more recent innovation of agile software development.

What is the difference between Software Engineer and Software Developer?

The need for a better quality control of the software development process has given rise to the discipline of software engineering, which aims to apply the systematic approach exemplified in the engineering paradigm to the process of software development.

In other words, what the software engineers do is a process under software development. These two are related and will never exist if the other doesn’t. The engineers do the development of software and by continuous development, a more advanced and more complex software can be made.

Moreover, a software developer is a person concerned with facts of a software development process. Their job includes designing, implementing, and testing the software. A software engineer, on the other hand, is a practitioner of software engineering. They apply the principles of engineering to the design, development, maintaining, testing, and evaluation of the software and systems that make computers or anything containing software work.


As a conclusion, Software Engineers specifically use principles of engineering to develop a software and software development is what software developers do. They say that it is the same (software developers and software engineers) but if you will look closely and deeply, you will see their difference in one way or another. All in all, these two are very crucial in the computer science field.