Have you ever wondered about the difference between software developers and software engineers?

You’re not alone if you’ve questioned the distinction between software engineers and developers, or if you’ve been unclear about it. It can be exciting and fulfilling to pursue a career as a software engineer or a developer. Although the professions are similar and the talents needed by developers and engineers usually overlap, the precise skill set and interests that make a person a good fit for the roles differ significantly. Software engineers and developers are not the same things, and since companies still need developers and engineers, it is vital to know the difference.1,2 

So, who is a Software Engineer?

A professional who uses software engineering principles in designing, testing, developing, maintaining, and evaluating computer software is known as a software engineer.3

Software engineers apply scientific knowledge and engineering concepts to provide a high-quality, timely, and on-budget solution to a real-world issue. Since they are responsible for the entire software development lifecycle and any current problems, they adopt a comprehensive perspective on the situation. They must provide a general solution that can be used by many individuals rather than a particular solution for a specific type of consumer.3,1,2,4

A software engineer is a more general phrase that can be used to describe a variety of professionals. A software engineer’s duties as a professional include those of a tester, developer, support engineer, etc. When building systems, software engineers must consider the limitations imposed by feasibility, legality, safety, and budget, in addition to having a comprehensive understanding of math and a drive for innovation.3,1,2,4

Who, then, is a Software Developer?

Professionals who create a software that is compatible with different computers or system set-ups are known as software developers. Coders start from scratch when making an application, which could be a desktop app like Microsoft Word, a mobile app like Snapchat, or a web app like Facebook.3,1,2,4

The art of building things lies on the basis of software development, as developers create software that runs on several platforms. Software developers work together on projects with graphic artists, product managers, senior executives, customer support agents, and other team members to solve any problems that may come up. They make the components of the development process.3,1,2,4

Software developers envision, design, and develop new computer applications. The needs of consumers are first ascertained by software developers, who then build programs, test new software, and make improvements. Additionally, software developers examine their code for errors. They are in high demand because they naturally solve issues, possess strong analytical skills, and have the capacity for creative thought.3,1,2 

Software Developer vs Software Engineer

Important Differences

The key distinctions between software engineers and developers are described below.1,2,3,5

  • Development is usually a solo activity, whereas software engineering is a team activity.
  • Software developers typically have greater flexibility and variety in their career choices than software engineers, which can be the critical distinction between the two. Software engineers may find it more difficult to work remotely or as freelancers than software developers.
  • In contrast to employment in software development, software engineers may also move to roles that manage a team of employees.

While these are some of the most significant differences between the jobs of a software developer and a software engineer, both occupations are crucial and in high demand. When analyzing the job forecast for each industry, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics groups software designers and software engineers together under the same umbrella. The employment of software engineers and developers is anticipated to increase by 22% between 2020 and 2030.8,9,5

To read more informative articles on coding and math, visit BYJU’s Future School Blog.


  1. Software Developer vs. Software Engineer | Elmhurst University. (n.d.). Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.elmhurst.edu/blog/software-developer-vs-software-engineer/ 
  2. Software Engineer vs. Software Developer: Which Is “Better”? (n.d.). Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.itprotoday.com/careers/software-engineer-vs-software-developer-which-better 
  3. What is Software Engineering? – Definition from Techopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.techopedia.com/definition/13296/software-engineering 
  4. (PDF) A Comparative Study of Software Engineers and Graphic Designers in Web/Hypermedia Systems Development. (n.d.). Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/215868243_A_Comparative_Study_of_Software_Engineers_and_Graphic_Designers_in_WebHypermedia_Systems_Development 
  5. Comparison: Software Developer vs Software Engineer. (n.d.). Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://sonatafy.com/what-is-the-difference-between-a-software-developer-vs-software-engineer/ 
  6. Software Engineer Salary | PayScale. (n.d.). Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Software_Engineer/Salary 
  7. Software Developer Salary | PayScale. (n.d.). Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Software_Developer/Salary 
  8. Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers : Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/software-developers.htm 
  9. Computer and Information Technology Occupations : Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved October 19, 2022, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm