Software Engineer vs Web Developer:
How Are They Similar and Different?

software engineer vs web developer | app academy

Many different job titles in tech sound similar and share certain responsibilities but they differ quite a bit at the end of the day.

Two of those roles include software engineering and web development.

So what makes these two roles different, similar, and in some ways interchangeable?

What is a software engineer?

A software engineer is someone who builds software, at its simplest definition. They create software applications for desktop, web, and mobile and programs for a range of networks. Their job tends to be more complex than other similar-sounding job titles. In addition to writing code, software engineers also create, strategize, program, document, test, and optimize software.

The job functions of a software engineer include:

  • Building applications and testing them for client or user needs
  • Overseeing system performance and making adjustments as needed
  • Designing back-end architecture and front-end user interfaces
  • Identifying updates to improve processes and software

What is a web developer?

A web developer, on the other hand, develops programs and applications for websites only. This can include the back end of a website — the code that makes the thing work — as well as the front end that makes the site look and function properly.

The job functions of a web developer include:

  • Creating, optimizing, and testing new web apps and new site features
  • Troubleshooting website issue and bugs
  • Monitoring website traffic and keeping systems afloat
  • Staying up-to-date on releases and new tools

What’s the difference: Software engineer vs web developer

Many consider software engineers and web developers interchangeable job titles, but they differ in some ways.

For one, software engineers work across an array of applications and channels, where web developers focus solely on the web. 

Software engineers tend to work far deeper in the theory, writing, and adapting of code, where developers tend to work with code only as it makes sense for their project.

There tends to be a bit of a difference in pay between the two roles;  according to Indeed, the average software engineer salary in the US is somewhere around $93,950 and closer to $68,000 for web developers. That aforementioned reliance on code is likely the reason for the discrepancy in salary.

Where do they share responsibility: Software engineer vs web developer

The writing, maintenance, and manipulation of code is where much of the overlap in responsibility lies in the debate between software engineers vs web developers. People in both roles need working knowledge of programming languages and principles to complete their jobs. These include languages like HTML & CSS, JavaScript, Python, and Ruby on Rails.

They’re also two of the most in-demand roles in tech, with the job outlook exceeding that of almost any other job title in any industry.

Both roles are huge in tech — and worth switching to

Whether you’re seeking out roles in software engineering or web development, there’s ample training to catapult you into either job title. Both are worth exploring if you’re looking to switch careers into tech — and coding bootcamps are the way to get there.

Learn more about App Academy and our suite of bootcamp programs.

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Written by Dev App Academy

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