What is Software Engineering: Software Developer vs. Software Engineer?

In its simplest terms, software engineering can be described as a combination between computer science and math in order to develop innovative computer software. Technically speaking, software engineering can help to develop, test, and maintain software by applying the principles of computer science, math, and engineering. 

Software Engineering: An Overview

When developing an application demands a specific result or output for an organization, software engineering starts. When the developer gets the request from somewhere on the IT team, such as CTO, or CIO, to create some sort of software, the project needs to be broken down into requirements and phases by the software development team. Sometimes, it is indeed necessary to hire independent software outsourcing companies, vendors, contractors, or freelancers for this task. In such a case, software engineering tools can be leveraged to ensure that all of the tasks are done in a congruent way and should follow best practices.

In order to know what to put into the software, developers need to break it down into specific needs after gathering information from several interviews, investigating the existing application portfolio, and discussing it with IT leaders. Next, developers will formulate a roadmap of how to create and develop the software. This part plays a critical role because, in this stage, much of the 'work' will be completed. And since it is more likely a 'final part', any problems can typically occur here as well.

Writing code to create software is the real starting point for developers. Due to the requirement of having the code congruent with current systems and the language that is used in them, writing code for the software is considered the longest part of the process in many cases. Sometimes, these problems are not easy to be noticed until much later on in the project. As a consequence, rework requires to be completed.

It is important to test the code during the process of writing code and once it has been completed – throughout its life cycle. Developers can take advantage of software engineering tools to continuously test and monitor.

What do software engineers do?

As a software engineer, you are expected to perform the following tasks:

  • Coding
  • Product design
  • Systems maintenance
  • Software testing, and QC
  • Accelerating the speed and scalability of software
  • Recommendation on products design and projects development
  • Working together with other colleagues, including software developers

Experts who are working in the industry are skilled in writing code and programming, designing and architecting, and analyzing information. In order to develop applications and software, engineers need to know how to use logical thinking and problem-solving technique.

Manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, and the public sectors are among the industries that software engineers can apply. Software engineers can have a chance to work together with data scientists, managers, and other software team experts.

Software Engineer Skills

Software engineers are required to have a fundamental skillset and strong-built skills in programming languages, architectures, and platforms.

In order to achieve success in work, software engineers will need to possess firm knowledge, as well as hands-on experience, in Computer Programming and Coding, Object-Oriented Design, as well as problem-solving and team working skills, and various tools and platforms for software developments and testing, etc. 

Software engineers should be equipped with some technical knowledge and skills such as operating systems, developing software, data structure, and algorithms, computer programming, writing code, testing software, debugging, etc. Besides, as software engineers, they are supposed to know how to work with others in order to complete team activities, multitask, and pay attention to detail. Moreover, they need to be well-prepared with some skills in problem-solving and effective communication.

Software Engineer Vs. Developer


  • A software engineer is an expert in applying the principles of software engineering to design, develop, maintain, test, and evaluate computer software, whilst a software developer is one who develops software that runs across different kinds of computers.
  • A software engineer mostly collaborates with others to do team activity, whereas a software developer usually works on their own task to complete a solitary activity.
  • A software engineer works with different elements of the hardware system while writing a complete program is the main task of a software developer.
  • Tools to develop software are created by a software engineer, and then these tools will be utilized by a software developer to build apps.
  • The final difference is the scale. Software engineers tend to solve problems on a larger scale. As for software developers, they are supposed to do everything that is kind of similar to what engineers do but on a limited scale.

Types of software developers

Software developers can be classified into two main subtypes which are systems software and application software developers.

Still, both developers are required to use their knowledge of theories and programming when they develop software and manage network control systems.


With an understanding of operating systems-level software, network distribution software, and compilers, systems software developers can develop solutions for business organizations.

It requires developers to be skilled in programming, writing code, and data structures and algorithms. Systems software developers need to update existing software, strengthen interfaces, and enhance performance.


Application software developers mainly work on building web and mobile applications by understanding user needs, creating software, and tracking performance.

These developers are required to provide routine updates and modify programs for consumers. Most industry professionals are experts in coding using a number of different programming languages, source control like Git, and algorithms.

Application software developers also need to work on debugging code, deploying source code for new applications, and evaluating applications.