Programmer versus Engineer


If you haven’t been in this field long you may be confused about being a programmer or a software engineer.  Which one is for you and what is the difference?  This can be a common misconception or even misunderstanding but they indeed are different with some overlap.

A software engineer knows how to program.  Usually this is a group working together on a project or projects.  Each person taking the area they are the most comfortable or perhaps even mentoring under a more senior engineer.  The group shares roles and responsibilities with flexible movement between departments and roles.  Group members frequently share ideas and tasks.

These engineering projects use staff members in various components.  The group will have schedules and timelines to meet.  Dates will be secured for release of elements and everyone needs to keep their area on time for the success of the project.  The members of the group must interact constantly to keep the project on target and on time.

A person trained as a programmer does not necessarily know how to be a software engineer.  The software engineers design the tools and systems that then are used by programmers.  These programmers will use these mechanisms to figure solutions.

Usually a programmer is thought to know how to write computer code.  This is another difference from a software engineer. The engineer’s efforts are longer and deliberate.  They conduct studies and analysis’s to write a spec sheet for the planning of software system.   An engineer will test everything step by step.  They will document each aspect of the test and what works and what doesn’t work.


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