Is there a distinction between software engineering and software development? is one of the most contentious issues in the software industry. Some businesses and techies believe that both are the same, while others think otherwise. Both concepts have become entirely misunderstood during the last few decades. Employers or industries are unable to distinguish between the two names.
Let’s See the Differences with Real-Life Examples
Example 1: Consider the developer like a professional chef. He has to prepare tasty or delicious dishes understanding and targeting the taste of his customers. Now he will use a creative approach to prepare delicious dishes using resources that suit his customer taste. A software developer will take the same approach to deliver high-quality software understanding the expectation of his customer using his software tools or resources.
Example 2: Now consider a hotel where 3 restaurants are running depending on a single kitchen. The head chef of this kitchen is like a software engineer who has the responsibility to deliver the same level of quality food in each restaurant just like a professional chef running a single restaurant. So the head chef of this kitchen will manage all the restaurants without compromising the quality of dishes in any one of the restaurants.
Example 3: In industry, a software engineer can be considered as a musher who hooks up software developers to their sled as code dogs and mush them toward victory to complete a project across the frozen arctic. Now you might have understood two things very clearly…one is software engineers solve the issue on a much larger scale than developers and the other one is…software developers play an important role for software engineers to complete the project.
What is Software Engineering?
In software engineering, engineers apply scientific knowledge, engineering principles or engineering science to build a new system or to solve a practical problem with good quality, in budget and on time. So they look at the big picture and take the responsibility of the entire software development lifecycle or any existing problem. They need to come up with a common solution for a large number of people instead of a specific solution for a specific type of customer.
So scientific knowledge, mathematics, ingenuity is checked for software engineers. Developing solutions for technical, societal, and commercial problems are checked for software engineers. Designing systems considering limitations imposed by practicality, regulation, safety, and the cost is also checked for software engineers. Software engineers are responsible for managing the development task.
Consider an equation 6÷2(1+2)=x. Now instead of giving the solution 1 or 9 or something else, an engineer needs to understand the equation at a high level so this math problem lacks the bracket which is important to decide which function needs to be performed first if the order of operations completely changes the result. So they are expected to come up with a solution that the equation can not be solved due to ambiguity and in engineering, there cannot be ambiguity.
What is Software Development?
You can consider a software engineer as an architect and software developer as a carpenter. In software development, the main focus is on the art of making things. Software developers use their creativity, patterns, and practices to build things and focus on the development project as a part of the whole software development life cycle. They do not have to rely on any engineering principles or fundamentals of scientific methods like software engineers. Software developers work closely with graphic designers, product managers, senior managers, customer representatives, and other team members to build a specific project. Software developers are responsible to build the things taking the development task.
After some experience in the industry, a software developer starts managing multiple parts of the system. So a software developer can become a software engineer by gaining experience and expanding their scope of responsibilities.