Web Developer vs Software Engineer. What’s the Difference?

Even if you don’t know what they imply, you’ve probably heard the terms “web developer” and “software developer.” Many people who are just starting out in the world of coding find the distinction between the two rather tricky. 

However, in order to advance professionally, you need to have a firm grasp on what a developer does and how their work differs from that of programmers.

These two words refer to related but distinct areas of study. In this article, we’ll compare and contrast the two terms, discussing salary, required education, and more. Let’s dive into the intricacies of web developer vs software engineer: 

The most basic difference exists in web development and software development: 

What is a Web Developer and Software Engineer?

  1. Web Developer
  2. Software Engineer

Web Developer

A web developer is a professional who designs and develops websites using various programming languages and tools. Their main responsibility is to create websites that are visually appealing, functional, and user-friendly.

Web developers are the people who come up with ideas, build, and take care of websites and web apps. Web developers make designs and layouts that look good, add graphics and content, improve the speed and capacity of websites, and test them to ensure they work well on all computer, mobile, and device screens. 

Software Engineer

Engineers in the field of software use the same rules that are used in the field of engineering, which usually works with physical systems, to design, develop, test, deploy, and manage software systems. It involves using engineering ideas to make, test, and maintain software. Back-end development is where most software engineers may be found.

Software engineers often work on both application and system software. 

As a software engineer, you’ll work with clients and coworkers to design, build, and test software. You will also be in charge of making brand-new parts of the software in response to user feedback and changing needs in the industry. Your code could end up powering anything from a video game to a vital piece of network infrastructure.

Required Education of Developer and a Software Engineer

The difference between a web developer and a software engineer lies in the required education:

Learning to code is a skill shared by web developers and software engineers. Although most software engineers have a bachelor’s degree in the field, many web developers only need an associate degree. Also, many web developers learned the trade by teaching themselves or attending a bootcamp.

1. Job Growth Comparison 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a 22% increase in demand for software engineers, quality assurance analysts, and testers between 2020 and 2030. Average job growth predictions for all jobs nationwide are 8%, so this rate is much higher than that.

According to the BLS, the market for web developers is predicted to grow by 19% in the United States alone by the year 2029. According to the BLS, this is 8% quicker job growth than the average across all industries, primarily because of the rise of online shopping.

2. Salary Comparison 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a web developer is $77,200 per year. Web developers can improve their income potential through education and experience. With the growth of online shopping, there is a growing need for skilled web developers. Coding skills and experience with web publishing platforms are highly sought after by employers.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a software engineer is $110,140 per year, but their actual earnings could vary depending on things like where they live. A Web developer, however, has the flexibility to work for multiple clients at once, increasing their potential earnings.

3. Job Responsibilities

When comparing software engineers and web developers, the main differences exist in their job responsibilities. 

Responsibilities of a Web Developer

  1. Consult with customers about the creation of their ideal website.
  2. Build and evaluate web-based software.
  3. Write the site’s code in HTML, XML, and other appropriate programming languages.
  4. Work with designers, such as graphic designers, to figure out the site’s layout Consult with team members to establish what kind of content the site should have.
  5. Add multimedia features to the website.
  6. Perform cross-browser quality assurance testing and troubleshooting of the website and/or its applications.
  7. Web developers are required to keep up with industry developments and learn new languages, frameworks, and technologies outside of the scope of their regular professional responsibilities.

Responsibilities of a Software Engineer

  1. To complete the entire software development life cycle (SDLC).
  2. Create diagrams, plans, and documents that detail problems and their solutions.
  3. Create clean, tested code.
  4. Create blueprints and evaluate the viability of implementation.
  5. Combining separate software modules into one cohesive system.
  6. Create tests and quality control measures for software.
  7. Maintaining and documenting software features.
  8. Fix bugs and improve older systems.
  9. Get your software out there and see what people think.
  10. Achieve conformity with project specifications and relevant norms.
  11. Make sure you’re using the most recent version of the software.

Programming Languages Used by Web Developers and Software Engineers

Programming Languages Used by Web Developers

Both jobs require knowledge of multiple popular programming languages and the ability to fix bugs in code that already exists. Python, C++, and Java are used by programmers in the software industry, while programmers use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in the web development industry.

7 Major Programming Languages Used by Web Developers

These are the 15 programming languages typically used by web developers:

  1. HTML: HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is the foundation of web development, allowing you to create and structure web pages. If you are looking to learn HTML and build your web development skills, we recommend the Best courses for HTML Beginners.
  2. CSS: CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a crucial language in web development that controls the visual presentation of a web page. If you want to enhance your web design skills and learn CSS, we recommend the “Top Notch CSS Courses.”
  3. JavaScript: JavaScript is a powerful programming language that adds interactivity and dynamic functionality to websites. It is the backbone of modern web development, allowing developers to create interactive web applications and enhance user experiences. If you are new to JavaScript and want to learn the basics of JavaScript, we highly recommend JavaScript for Beginners. It will provide you with a solid foundation and help you unlock the full potential of this universal language.
  4. Python: Python is a popular and versatile programming language known for its simplicity and readability. It is widely used in various domains, such as web development, data analysis, and artificial intelligence. Suppose you are interested in learning Python from scratch or expanding your knowledge. In that case, we recommend the comprehensive Python Programming course, which covers the fundamentals and provides hands-on practice to build your coding skills.
  5. Java: Java is a widely-used programming language known for its versatility and platform independence. Suppose you want to expand your programming skills and delve into Java. In that case, we recommend the top Java courses, where you will learn the fundamentals and gain hands-on experience in Java development. Compare Java and Python, and discover the unique features and applications that make each language valuable in different contexts.
  6. Typescript: TypeScript is a strongly-typed superset of JavaScript that provides additional features and tools for building robust and scalable applications. If you’re interested in mastering TypeScript and leveraging its benefits in your development projects, we recommend the “TypeScript Fundamentals” course, where you’ll learn the language from scratch and gain practical experience through hands-on exercises and projects.

Programming Languages Used by Software Engineers

These are the 10 programming languages that software engineers are usually adept at:

  1. Python
  2. Java
  3. JavaScript
  5. C++
  6. SQL
  7. Ruby
  8. PHP
  9. Swift
  10. Go

Skills Requirement of Web Developer and Software Engineer

The biggest difference between a software engineer and a web developer lies in the potential nature of the work you’d be doing. A web developer makes websites and other online programs, like e-commerce platforms and mobile apps, that run online. But a programmer focuses on the system, network, or platform behind the surface.

Software engineers often work in technical departments that do things like R&D, data science, and machine learning. Software engineers know how to use the latest programming languages and paradigms, and they often work with more than one at the same time.

Let’s look at software engineer vs. web developer skill requirements:

7 Skills Required as a Web Developer

  1. The ability to use computers.
  2. Knowledgeable with numbers.
  3. Capacity for original thought.
  4. Careful focus on specifics.
  5. Capable of expressing oneself clearly
  6. Competence in finding solutions to difficult problems.
  7. Methods of working that make sense.

7 Skills Required as a Software Engineer 

  1. Coding and Programming in Computers
  2. The Art of Programming
  3. OOD: Object-Oriented Programming (OOD)
  4. Checking and fixing software bugs.
  5. The ability to think logically and solve problems.
  6. Verbal and Written Expression
  7. Teamwork.

Web Developer vs Software Engineer – FAQs

Is Software Engineering Better or Web Development?

Both careers are good, depending on your field of interest and expertise and based on the nature of the work you are looking for. Employment opportunities in both fields are continuously increasing too. In 2021, the BLS projected that there would be 197,000 web developer jobs in the USA. 

Does a Software Engineer Have Higher Pay or a Web Developer?

While software developers earn an average annual salary of $93,965, web developers earn $67,488 annually across the country. Despite the higher average wage for software developers, web developers can make a respectable living as well.

Is Web Development Easier than Software Engineering?

The path to web development is less complex than the one to software development. While it’s true that many web developers and software engineers choose to earn degrees in the field, becoming a web developer or software engineer is possible even without one.

Final Words

Even though there is a lot of overlap between what software engineers do and what web developers do, these are still two different fields. Web developers only work on web applications, while software engineers build separate customized frameworks and databases to fulfill the requirement.

Web developers and software engineers are two of the most commonly misunderstood IT professionals. They’re essentially synonyms from a layperson’s perspective. In reality, the skills, outputs, and working conditions of the two jobs are very different from one another.

This article is a complete guide on figuring out the difference between a web developer and vs software engineer. Read to find out!