20+ Differences between Web Developer and Software Engineer (Explained)

Two of the most popular positions in the tech industry today are that of web developer and software engineer.

Those who know about the taken industry will definitely be confused between these two positions simply because there is a very thin line creating any distinguishable differences between these two positions. 

While web developers and software engineers need to study programming, databases, systems relationships, etcetera, the major differences lie in how they put their skills into practice. Of course, their career outlooks and salaries also differ significantly.

differences between web developer and software engineer
ParameterWeb DeveloperSoftware Engineer
What they doThey develop only websites or web applicationsThey create and design any kind of software
PlatformApplications that web developers develop are required to be compatible across a multitude of browsers.Applications that software engineers build are required to be compatible across several operating systems and platforms.
Programming languagesPython, C#, Java, C++, etceteraJavaScript, CSS, PHP, HTML, etc
HostingAll apps that are developed need to be hosted either via intranet or the Internet.Any software that is created may or may not be required to be hosted
ArchitectureThe applications that they develop are always client-server basedThe applications that they create can be either only client-based or client-server based
SalaryThe average salary of any web developer is approximately $76,500 annuallyThe average salary of a software engineer is approximately $110,000 annually

differences between Web Developers and Software Engineer

Who exactly is a Web Developer?

Although we have seen web developers building only web pages, they actually do a lot more. They design and develop web pages and web apps and also create and integrate various APIs.

Essentially, they develop almost anything that requires coding for web protocol. However, whatever they do, in the end, it is all about writing code for web browsers.

Who exactly is a Software Engineer?

A software engineer is one who actually works closely with hardware. Software engineers build applications, modules, tools, packages, and software – anything that has to do with optimizing effective codes and also maximizing the efficiency of hardware-software performance.

responsibilities of web developers and software engineers

Contrast Between Web Developers and Software Engineers


  • Web Developer A web developer’s skills lie in the ability to design and build web applications and websites.
  • Software Engineer A software engineer’s skills lies and the ability to design and build any software that the client requires.

Programming Language 

  • Web Developer Web developers generally use scripting languages to develop their websites and web apps that are meant to run only on browsers and work in a client-server environment.
  • Software EngineerSoftware engineers generally use core programming languages that are meant to interact with the hardware and run on different hardware platforms principally across a client-based environment.
programming languages used by web developer and software engineer


  • Web Developer Web developers build various sites and apps that are meant to run only across several browsers.
  • Software Engineer – Software engineers build a multitude of software programs that are meant to run across several operating system platforms.


  • Web Developer Web developers generally design and develop various sites and apps for client-server-based architectures.
  • Software EngineerSoftware engineers focus primarily on providing solutions to their clients, principally for client-based architectures and systems


  • Web Developer The websites and web apps that web developers create essentially need to be hosted across the Internet or intranet.
  • Software EngineerThe software and programs that software engineers create do not necessarily require to be hosted across an intranet or Internet as such.


  • Web Developer The average annual salary of a web developer is around $80,000.
  • Software EngineerOn average, software engineers earn approximately$140,000 annually.


  • Web Developer there are several responsibilities that web developers have, such as designing and developing web apps and websites, the ability to write schools using various scripting languages, testing the functionality of web applications, and providing tech support to help deploy a website seamlessly, and a whole lot more.
  • Software Engineeramong the multitude of job responsibilities that software engineers need to perform, some are collaborating with experts, designing and developing software solutions as per client’s needs, creating complete documentation sets for systems designs and applications as well, and many more such activities.
job responsibilities of web developer and software engineer

Ease of Learning

  • Web Developer Since the technicality is that the tools required to be learned are not too complicated, web development is usually easier to learn.
  • Software EngineerSince software engineering requires an in-depth understanding of the various philosophies, methodologies, and tools that govern the entire software engineering process, it is at least somewhat harder to learn.


  • Web Developer Web developers can be of various types, such as front-end web developers, back-end web developers, and even full-stack web developers.
  • Software EngineerSoftware engineers can be operating system engineers, application development engineers, and even package engineers and developers.


  • Web Developer any web developer needs to have a strong experience with web programming languages, total command of coding, as well as a rich understanding of web application workflows.
  • Software Engineersoftware engineers also need to be thoroughly adept at many of the qualifications that web developers have, and additionally also have a total understanding and experience of software workflows, interface design, programming languages, operating systems, and systems designing.
skills of web developer and software engineer

Career Path

  • Web Developer since web developers are more into web technologies, they usually prefer roles in designing and developing websites and web apps. Their core competencies may also enable them to take up roles as project managers, training or learning managers and coordinators, and even platform-specific developers.
  • Software Engineer since software engineers are more engaged in software design and development, they are preferred for rules in the field of designing and developing applications and packages. Their additional competencies may also enable them to take up rules as project managers, software architects, design engineers, and even software developers.
career opportunities of web developer and software engineer


  • Web Developer Among the variety of roles that a web developer plays are web designer, internal structural analyst, framework engineer, API integrator, several engineers, website maintenance engineer, and many more.
  • Software EngineerAmong the many roles that a software engineer has to play, some are as a software designer, software analyst, operating system developer, project manager, testing engineer, quality analyst, quality engineer, and many more.


  • Web Developer web development can also turn out to be web engineering, where a web developer combines research, theory, and various practical approaches into integrating web development and application development.
  • Software Engineersoftware engineering can also blend into becoming software development where they actually design A complete system based on clients’ requirements On the other hand, they also typically work to create a system that can serve the needs and requirements of several customers and organizations.


  • Web Developer To be a web developer is a far easier and better option as the learning part is quite simple and quick to master.
  • Software EngineerTo be a software engineer requires more time and knowledge of certain basic math and science concepts. Naturally, the learning path is a little more complicated and will take a little more time to master.
when to choose web developer and software engineer

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. How are web development and software engineering similar?

Although these two fields are quite different, they both require a solid technical foundation in databases, programming, and system relationships as well.

Q2. What skills can I learn in software engineering courses?

Several technicalities will be taught in software engineering courses. Apart from general computer engineering, algorithms, maths, and other technical topics, you’ll also need to learn various programming languages such as C and Java.

You may even have to learn artificial intelligence, machine learning, and a lot of IT theory.

Q3. What skills can I learn in web development courses?

Web development courses generally teach programming and markup languages such as CSS and HTML along with various web coding languages and programming languages such as PHP and ASP, and even certain scripting languages such as JavaScript.

You will also need to learn various frameworks and libraries such as angular, react, and confluence. Database design and development can also be a part of your web development course.

Q4. What kind of knowledge is required to enter into these fields?

You need to have a passion for discovery and learning to be able to thrive in these fields.

You should attend a boot camp. However, make sure that you have a passion for technical stuff. Essentially, you’ll need a lot of technical skills and knowledge to get a job-ready.

Q5. Which industries and jobs do these fields of study align with?

Both software engineering and web development are in huge demand across a multitude of industries in today’s world.

It is not deleted that it is no more and necessary that you have to target Silicon Valley to get your dream job.

Depending on what interests you most and if you’re appropriately trained, thousands of positions are available for you to choose from.

The scope and spectrum of industries and jobs that are aligned with these fields of study are immense today. 

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