Software Development vs Software Engineering: Is there a difference?

Ever wondered, what’s the fine line between software development and software engineering?

Let’s begin by typing the word “Software” in Google. If your search looks anything like ours, chances are your top two results will also be Software Developers and Software Engineers. Which one would you click on? What is the difference between them?

Software Development vs Software Engineering- Are they the same?

It turns out there is a distinction, even though these titles are often used interchangeably. Our goal is to shed light on how Software Development differs from Software Engineering and how these differences can impact your software creation processes.

Understanding the Difference


While both roles revolve around software and require a similar skill set, they have different day-to-day responsibilities and yield varying end results.

According to a survey conducted by Hays in the Australian software community, 67% of respondents agree that “Software engineers can undertake a software developer’s role, but a Software Engineer’s core responsibility is for ‘larger scale’ solutions.”

Difference in roles!


Software Developers are technology experts who use their programming skills and knowledge of specific languages or frameworks to write efficient code, debug, deploy, and maintain software based on users’ specific needs. Most software developers are proficient in modern programming languages such as JavaScript, Java, C#, and Python. Their skills are used to cover specific problems and not focus on the “large scope”.

On the other hand, Software Engineers, while responsible for all the technical aspects of development, tackle more complex challenges and are involved in a larger scope. They don’t stop at high-quality code; they architect software systems through investing hours in research, learning and implementing industry trends, reviewing, planning, designing new features, and building complex software systems aligned with the client’s business goals. They can identify potential problems early on and prevent them well in advance without costing unnecessary resources and wasted time for the client.

Software engineers have strong understanding of modern programming languages and frameworks and more-in depth understanding on which business challenge requires the use of which specific technological stack. This can include but not be limited to Java, JavaScript. GO, C++, C, Kotlin SQL, Python, C#. For a detailed look at the technological stack for building unique solutions, refer to SCD Company’s Technological Stack.

Difference in Scope


Software Engineers go beyond ensuring code implementation; they have a higher involvement in overall project execution and maintain high-value communication with clients during and after the project implementation.

Practical Example


Consider yourself the CEO of a rapidly growing e-commerce business. You previously had web developers create a well-functioning website, and you’ve enjoyed a loyal customer base with high satisfaction. However, as your business continues to grow, website traffic skyrockets from 1,000 to 10,000 requests per second during peak hours.

Suddenly, your website’s performance declines. It loads slowly, takes longer to respond, and clients struggle to access pages, impacting conversion rates and sales. The root of the problem: your website was never designed to handle high loads.

Who would you consult and what’s the solution?

This challenge necessitates a system architecture for high-load solutions that goes beyond traditional application server and database architecture. While documentation and overall functional systems can be handled by Software Developers, you need Software Engineers with a high-level of technical expertise and problem-solving skills to research, design the system’s base, measure its characteristics, ensure scalability, and adapt to changing loads. In essence, Software Engineers are vital for “larger scale” solutions, from initial analysis to continuous monitoring.

High Load Systems for Ecomerce: SCD Company. png

The value software engineers bring!


  1. Analyzing Business Goals and Constraints
  2. Identifying Risky and Complex Project Components
  3. Conducting Necessary Research and Prototyping
  4. Ensuring Feasibility
  5. Addressing Minor and Major Concerns
  6. Evaluating Future Characteristics
  7. Excelling in Complex System Design and Architecture
  8. Balancing Quality for Each System Component
  9. Ensuring Long-term Project Success

Defining Role Responsibilities: Whether you’re considering a career in the software industry, hiring talents, or looking for short-term or long-term partners as a decision-maker of a fast-growing company, distinguishing between software development and engineering provides “Clarity in Job Responsibilities.” Clearly defined expectations help leverage the strengths of each role. While there may be some overlap, it’s important to recognize that highly complex solutions beyond coding success require the involvement of Software Engineers.

Outsourcing Benefits to Eastern European Software Engineering Teams:

Outsourcing to software engineering teams in Eastern Europe can bring several advantages:

  1. Affordable pricing: According to Relevant Software, you can work with talents of similar expertise 40–50% cheaper than in the USA or Western Europe.
  2. Strong Data Security Measures: Though every company policy is unique, as a general rule, there’s a commitment to regulatory compliance with NDAs and GDPR laws. Consult your contractor for specific requirements.
  3. Quality Assurance Systems: Developing software can be expensive; to avoid costly mistakes and having a reliable team that supports you even after the project is completed is essential.
  4. Multilingual Teams: Language barriers are no longer an issue. Most Eastern European countries such as Armenian development teams are proficient in at least three major languages and possess a high level of technical knowledge in English (B2-C1), ensuring seamless communication.

Conclusion


Distinguishing between Software Developers and Software Engineers is vital, especially when dealing with complex, large-scale software solutions. Understanding the differences in responsibilities, capabilities, and the value they bring can make your software projects more successful. When considering outsourcing, Eastern Europe offers cost-effective, skilled teams to meet your software development and engineering needs.

Oct 28, 2023