Developer vs Engineer — Identifying The Differences

Posted on March 5, 2020 by .

Technology roles can be complicated and intricate. That’s why we’re providing resources to help our clients understand what they’re looking for in their candidates. In particular, we’re helping define the differences between two key roles: developer vs engineer. 

We’ll explore key indicators for each technology role in the industry, and dive into what tech tools an individual will be using. A clear understanding of these roles leads to more effective job descriptions and, in turn, a better candidate pool. 

In fact, according to tech recruiter and entrepreneur Alison Daley, job descriptions matter a lot.

“Especially in tech, candidates can go anywhere right now. We need to entice them every step along the recruiting process, and one of the first experiences they have is the job description. We want to, in the first 30 seconds with their eyeballs on our job description, to be excited about the opportunity, be able to assess if they are a good fit, and also start to get a good feel for what kind of company and work environment that they would be applying to. Tech candidates are more discerning and maybe a bit cynical, so it’s important to give a positive first impression. Giving a positive first impression and accurate depiction of the role is a good way to stand out.” 

When you’re searching for the right candidate, you need to know what you need in terms of tech skills sets and type of experience. Defining the differences between developer vs engineer is critical to being able to speak on these positions and interact with developers and engineers. We explore the roles and typical responsibilities to help you find the right person for your company — sooner rather than later.

A Look At Developer vs Engineer: Defining The Roles 

Spotting the Differences

She Can Code, a supportive hub for women in the tech industry, puts it: “An engineer oversees the system as a whole using engineering principles, while a developer focuses on creating functional software.” 

Another thought leader states,  “It’s simple, a software developer develops software applications.

In this explanation, the engineer is the big picture person while the developer is the hands-on builder. Simple enough. 

Here are some other key differences and similarities between developer vs engineer. 

Software Engineer

  • Degree: Bachelor’s Degree
  • Type of Activity: On a Team
  • Typical Process: Involved from Start to Finish 
  • Style: Engineers tend to solve issues on a much larger scale

Software Developer

  • Degree: Typically, software development degrees are treated as specializations for information technology or computer programming
  • Type of Activity: Individual
  • Typical Process: Development is one aspect of the whole project
  • Style: Developers write a complete program 

How They Work Together

While the terms developer and engineer may go together, they are very unique roles. In fact, engineers ensure that software does what it’s intended to. They work to make all components — applications, networks, servers, etc. — work together. Often, engineers will outsource the development tasks to software developers and instead focus on the construction of the system as a whole. 

Given that they work together in a rather seamless process, it’s easy to see why the two roles can quickly get confused or combined. 

Examples Of Job Descriptions: Developer vs Engineer

Job descriptions are critically important to the success of your hiring process. To help you understand the differences between developer and engineer roles, here are examples of effective job descriptions. 

Software Engineer Job Description Example

Software Developer Job Description Example

Every industry, even the most unique in tech, share these similar needs when it comes to finding the right developer vs engineer. When you understand the roles and take steps to properly define the differences, you can expand your knowledge of how the technology world operates.

Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.

If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!


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