Web Developers vs Software Engineers: What’s The Difference?

I expect you are acquainted with the terms web developer and software developer. However, I have come across many people who have the misconception that both terms mean the same thing. This is why I have decided to come up with the following post that focuses on both terms briefly. Who is a web developer or a software developer, what are their roles and responsibilities, and where exactly lies the difference? And most important of all, software developer or web developer – which one to choose in order to make a successful career path? So let’s get started with the basics.

This is a guest post contributed by Charles Richard. For further information on this topic, you can check out this article: Who is a web developer or a software developer?

Who is a Software Developer?

A software developer is one kind of tech-savvy geek who makes the most of his programming and technical knowledge to create a software solution right in accordance with the predetermined needs and requirements of their valued clients. Now to date, the term software was defined in regards to codes, video games, and apps, however, the situation is not the same anymore.

Today a software developer is said to be an expert who excels at every aspect of the software development process, i.e. right from designing to developing, deploying and of course offering an immense amount of maintenance and support. In other words, these geeks are pretty great creative brainstormers who end up developing amazing computer programs. Now not every developer ends up creating the same kind of solutions. Some of them might create giant networks while others might create complementary solutions that sustain the existing softwares or programs seamlessly. It may quite interest you to know that even software developers are bifurcated into two.

  • Application Software Developer – These people are mainly responsible for designing computer and mobile applications. Right after understanding the user needs, developers tend to create relevant solutions, monitor performance and change programs simultaneously.
  • System Software Developer – Whereas a system software developer is highly focused on developing different operating softwares, compilers and network distribution. They are more likely to develop softwares for industries such as medical, industrial, aerospace, businesses, and scientific and computing appliances.

On and all, it is highly believed that software development is quite a lucrative profession. I mean you must educate yourself first, acquire the necessary qualifications, and practical skills and then achieve success. Of course, since we are exposed to information and resources, it becomes quite easy to become one by learning at home. However, if you want to stick to the department for the long haul, you must opt for a bachelor’s degree and try learning as many aspects as you can practice on a different set of tools. By doing so you can become eventually stronger as a candidate. In fact, on this note, I would like you to be enlightened by the fact that bookish knowledge can definitely give you an entrance. However, you have to pave your way by having an immense amount of experience and knowledge.

What makes an ideal Software Developer?

  • Ability to solve any and every problem
  • A key team player
  • Being analytic and strategic
  • Critical Thinker
  • Having an attention to detail
  • Ability to develop and maintain a software
  • Creating complex databases
  • Take care of future upgrades

Certain technical skills that make an ideal software developer include – Java, SQL, Python, Javascript, Oracle, DevOps, Linux, Microsoft, and so forth. As the name implies a software developer is generally assigned to oversee the overall programming and testing phases. Not just overseeing, many times they are supposed to write neat and clean codes which can be further reused. Apart from this, having a firm grasp on operations, and delivering the exact solution to the end customers is what a software developer is supposed to do. Moreover, he or she is also responsible for mapping out future software upgrades and maintenance.

Now let’s focus on what is web development, who is a web developer and what are his roles and responsibilities.

Who is a Web Developer?

As the name implies, web developers are the ones who end up developing amazing websites that are highly scalable, dynamic and robust in nature. Much like a software developer’s job is to create softwares, web developers are mainly responsible for developing websites that are extremely appealing and easy in regards to navigating.

Much like we have different types of software developers, even web developers tend to fall into certain categories such as:

  • Backend web developer – These geeks are responsible for creating the website structure, writing the code, and verifying it. It’s more like these guys work more behind the scenes. In fact, they also tend to manage a website’s content seamlessly.
  • Front-end web developer – Here developers are supposed to work on the visual part of the website. In other words, how to make a website more visually appealing. In fact, they are responsible for the look and feel of the website. Right from designing different layouts to incorporating graphics by using HTML is included in their all-day work.
  • Full-stack developers – Full-stack developers are supposed to do the work of both the front end as well as backend. These geeks are highly experienced and know all the tricks to come up with a complete website. A full-stack developer is mainly hired by those organizations that don’t want to hire an entire team. He is a one-man army.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Web Developer

  • Works in tandem with graphic designers, and UX and UI experts, for enhancing the overall look and feel of the website.
  • Uses languages such as HTML, C++, Java, Python, Ruby, and SQL
  • Must possess a creative thinking and problem-solving attitude.
  • Streamlines the process of transferring data
  • Right from the framework to server-side functions, API integration, and business logic, everything is taken care of here.
  • Translates wireframes into codes
  • Ensures that the site goes live successfully
  • In case any issue occurs, he troubleshoots, fixes bugs and some potential glitches
  • Also, web developers are supposed to have regular meet-ups with content creators, graphic designers, client service managers, UI specialists and more.

Further below I would like to mention some of the common traits of an ideal web developer.

  • Crave for Knowledge
  • Key team player
  • Problem-solving attitude
  • Ability to plan ahead
  • Debugging
  • Curious and Inquisitive
  • Flexible
  • Empathy
  • Providing the best possible solution
  • Excellent communication skills

To become an entry-level web developer, a formal education background is necessary. Having a bachelor’s degree in website design and computer science is of much help. In addition, you can pursue further by maintaining a strong portfolio in front of your current and potential employers. Some skills which can be achieved while doing the journey are – coding, responsive website design, technical SEO, visual design, etc. Just make sure you are career-oriented.

So where exactly the difference lies? How is a web developer any different from a software developer?

Web Developer vs Software Developer – Where the Difference Lies?

Both professions, web development and software development are very promising and offer a bright future. If you compare both the departments from the salary perspective then, an average salary of a software developer is kind of higher than that of a web developer. Not to mention, web developers get to work remotely pretty easily since their work is flexible and there are no geological limitations.

Parameters Web Developers Software Developers
Define Develop Websites Develop Software Solutions
Easy to Learn Web Development is more easy to get started with Software development could be insanely tricky as you need to understand all the tools, approaches, and methodologies in detail
Programming HTML, CSS, Javascript C++, Java, Python
Salary $76,298 per year $107,909 per year
Hosting Web apps must be hosted via internet Softwares do not require to be hosted
Development Platform Here the ultimate objective is to work on developing flawless apps that can be used across different browsers All the products or software solutions developed here must be compatible with different OS platforms.

Here down below I would like to shed some light on some common yet crucial factors to consider when comparing web developers and software developers.

Education Education is a very important aspect here. You see if you want to make a career in the software development realm then you require to educate yourself more than that of a web developer. At least, you must have a bachelor’s degree in computer science and must be well-acquainted with all the fundamentals of computing hardware. Moreover, here once you get started with the job you are expected to know regarding all the potential tools, methodologies, approaches, and procedures used in the software development process.

If we see web development on the other hand is not that tricky. Here professionals are supposed to consider the same programs to create a wide range of web pages for their end clients. So this doesn’t require schooling or educational background in computer science. Web developer’s journey is more like self-taught or self-discovery.

Flexibility Another factor which has now become extremely crucial since the post COVID pandemic is job flexibility. People have started looking for software development companies or web development companies that offer high-end job flexibility. This means they can work from home on a regular basis. Apart from this, web developers can work for a plethora of industries whereas this cannot be said for software developers. In fact, these guys have pretty less job flexibility.

In a typical scenario what happens is that a software developer is supposed to join a large company, mainly an MNC where he ends up working with other departments creating different programs for different industries. A web developer can also freelance whereas software developers cannot.

Final Words

So which one is better – Software developer or web developer? Well, the final answer depends more or less on your needs and requirements. Both the industries have a promising future. So if you are looking for a career that offers remote work, easy to get started with, and enables you to work on a variety of projects then look no further than web development. However, if you are looking for a career path that secures jobs in large firms, and offers a 22% or more hike a few years down the line then look no further than becoming a software developer.

So I hope now you exactly know what needs to be done? In case, if you still have any doubts or queries, feel free to mention that in the comment section below.

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