Web Developer vs Software Developer: What to Know Before Hiring

Most businesses rely on two very important elements. A website and a software to keep things running smoothly. That is made possible by two core branches, software development and web development. Besides catering to different needs, these two branches differ in their professionals, i.e. software developers and web developers.

Web developers specialize in crafting websites and web applications. You see and use these interactive elements within your web browser. Software developers, on the other hand, have a broader scope. They design and build software programs for all sorts of devices, from desktop applications to mobile apps and even large-scale enterprise systems.

In this blog, we will discuss how web developers differ from software developers. By the end, you will be able to choose the right professional(s) for your business enterprise. Let’s begin.

Who is a Software Developer?

A software developer is a professional who designs, creates, tests and maintains software applications or systems. Their role involves writing code, understanding user requirements, and creating software solutions. They work on different types of development, including OS, web development, mobile apps, and more.

Software developers are often involved in the entire software lifecycle. That is, from designing the program’s structure to writing the code that makes it function. And ever after that, they are involved in testing and debugging to ensure it runs smoothly.

Types of Software Developer

Software development is a wide domain. That includes various types of software developers with roles ranging from data scientists to blockchain developers. Here are the most common types of them:

  • Data Science Developers: Focus on creating and implementing algorithms, statistical models, and data analysis tools. They often work with large datasets to extract insights and support decision-making processes.
  • Game Developers: Specialize in designing and creating video games for various platforms, including consoles, PCs, and mobile devices. They work with game engines, graphics, and user interfaces to build engaging and interactive games.
  • Mobile Developers: Develop applications specifically for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. They often work with operating systems like iOS and Android and use programming languages like Swift, Java, and Kotlin.
  • OS Developers: Focus on creating and maintaining operating systems that manage computer hardware and software resources. They work on system kernels, drivers, and core system utilities.
  • Desktop Developers: Create software applications that run on desktop and laptop computers. They may develop productivity tools or custom applications for businesses using programming languages like C++, C#, and Java.
  • Database Developers: Focus on designing, implementing, and managing databases. They work with database systems like SQL and MongoDB to ensure efficient data storage management.
  • Blockchain Developers: Develop decentralized applications (dApps) and smart contracts using blockchain technology. They work with platforms like Ethereum and languages like Solidity to create secure and transparent digital transactions.
  • Cloud Developers: Design and implement cloud-based applications and services. They work with cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. This enables them to develop scalable and reliable cloud solutions.
  • Security Software Developers: Specialize in creating software that protects systems and networks from cyber threats. They work on encryption, authentication, intrusion detection, and other security measures to safeguard data and applications.
  • Embedded Systems Developers: Develop software for embedded systems, which are specialized computing devices within larger systems. They work on firmware, drivers, and real-time OS for IoT gadgets, medical equipment, and automotive systems.
  • DevOps engineers: Bridge the gap between development and operations by automating software delivery processes. They work with tools like Docker, Kubernetes, and Jenkins to implement continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines.

These are just a few types of software developers. The specific skills and technologies required will vary depending on the specialty. But what are the key skills of a Software developer? Let’s see.

Key Skills of a Software Developer

Software development is a complex process. It demands a range of skills for building an effective software solution. So, here we have listed some common skills a software developer possesses.

  • Programming Languages: Proficiency in multiple programming languages such as Java, Python, C++, JavaScript, Ruby, PHP, and Swift is essential. Different roles may require specialization in specific languages or technologies.
  • Data Structures and Algorithms: They must have a solid understanding of data structures, like arrays, linked lists, trees, and graphs. Plus, the ability to write algorithms like sorting, searching, and more is crucial for efficient coding.
  • Frameworks and Libraries: Knowledge of the best development frameworks, such as Django, React, Angular, and Laravel, is important for building robust applications.
  • Version Control Systems: Developers should know how to use version control systems like Git and platforms such as GitHub and GitLab. It is necessary for managing code and collaborating with others.
  • Development Tools: They need to be familiar with integrated development environments (IDEs) like Visual Studio, IntelliJ and text editors like VS Code. That can help the development process to pace quickly.
  • Database Management: Database developers must have knowledge of SQL for relational databases and NoSQL for handling non-relational data.
  • Web Development: They possess skills in front-end and back-end development, as well as databases, which are crucial for developing a complete web app.
  • Testing and Debugging: They need proficiency in testing frameworks and tools like JUnit, Selenium, pytest, and end-to-end testing. That can ensure software quality and reliability.
  • Software Design and Architecture: Developers have the skills to design patterns and software architecture styles for building scalable and maintainable systems.

These skills are the reason behind a user-friendly and dynamic system or application. Their ability to evolve with upcoming technologies makes them who they are.

Who is a Web Developer?

A web developer is a professional who specializes in creating and maintaining websites and web applications. They are responsible for ensuring the website is visually appealing, functional, and optimized for performance.

Typically, web developers work with various web frameworks, programming languages, and web technologies like HTML, CSS, JavaScript. Plus, they use server-side languages like PHP, Python, or Ruby.

With these tools and technologies, they build the structure, layout, and interactivity of websites. That ensures site responsiveness across different devices and browsers.

Types of Web Developers

There are basically three main types of web developers: Front-end developers, back-end developers, and full-stack developers. To understand what area of development each type, here is their description:

  • Front-end developers: They focus on the visual aspects and user experience of a website. Front-end developers are the artists and builders who use code to bring the designer’s vision to life. They use languages like HTML, CSS, and frameworks like Bootstrap and Angular for efficient and optimized development.
  • Back-end developers: These developers work behind the scenes to make the website functional. They are the engineers who perform server-side rendering and manage databases. Their focus is to build the core logic, write APIs, manage data and security. Some commonly used languages for back-end development include Python, Java, and PHP.
  • Full-Stack Developers: The full-stack developers possess expertise in both front-end and back-end development. They can handle the complete web development process, from crafting the UI to building the server-side logic.

If you want to leverage all of them into your project, consult with a dedicated web development company. Now, let’s dive into what diverse skills they possess.

Key Skills of a Web Developer

The specific skills of various types of developers may vary. However, most developers possess the basics of most web technological skills. Here are key skills that are crucial for them: 

  • Web Technologies: Web developers have the skill to work with top web technologies, frameworks, and libraries to build efficient websites.
  • Problem-solving and Critical Thinking: Building a website needs critical thinking. It uses complex systems, so things can go wrong. To deal with those problems, developers have strong problem-solving and debugging skills to identify and fix errors.
  • Programming Languages: They know various popular programming languages like HTML, JavaScript, and PHP. It is also possible that they have specialization in specific languages depending on their role. The common languages include.
  • Database Management: Developers possess the skill to manage databases using query languages like SQL and NoSQL. It is specifically needed if you are building dynamic sites that store information on databases.
  • Content Management Systems (CMS): Familiarity with popular CMS platforms like WordPress or Drupal can be a valuable asset for web developers. They work on websites with content management needs.
  • APIs and Integrations: Developers need to work with API integrations. It helps them enhance the functionality of websites more efficiently and effectively.
  • DevOps: They can use DevOps in web development to automate the processes for efficiency. That can improve the collaboration between developers and operational teams.
  • Version Control Systems: Developers need to work on a project at the same time that requires an understanding of version control systems like Git. It can facilitate collaboration, reverting to previous versions, and much more.

Web developers with a variety of skills in their hands are the source of all web creation. To leverage the development process, you can hire web development experts. They can provide you with beautiful and functional sites.

Want the best web development services?

Software Developer vs Web Developer

The core difference between software developers and web developers lies in their areas of focus.

Software developers have a broader scope, creating software applications for various purposes, not just the web. They leverage building software ranging from security to blockchain.

On the other hand, web developers are the subset of software developers. They specifically focus on website development. Web developers use various frameworks and libraries to enhance the efficiency of the development process.

To understand more about their difference, here is a detailed comparison:

AspectSoftware DeveloperWeb Developer
FocusDevelops software applications for various platformsDevelops websites and web applications for web browsers
LanguagesJava, JavaScript, C++, C#, Python, etc.HTML, CSS, JavaScript, C++, C#, Python, PHP, etc.
PlatformsDesktop, Mobile, Embedded SystemsWeb Browsers (Desktop & Mobile)
DevelopmentFull lifecycle (design, testing, maintenance)Front-end, Back-end, or Full-stack development
SkillsAlgorithms, Data Structures, Software ArchitectureWeb Technologies, Responsive Design, Browser Compatibility
ExamplesOperating Systems, Applications, GamesWebsites, Web Applications, Online Stores
Tools/FrameworksIDEs, Libraries (specific to software development)Text Editors, Browser Developer Tools, Front-end/Back-end Frameworks
DeploymentDeploys applications on various platforms (ensuring compatibility and performance)Deploys websites/web applications on web servers (ensuring accessibility and performance)
TestingUnit testing, Integration testing, System testingWebsite functionality, performance, browser/device compatibility
CollaborationSoftware engineers, Designers, StakeholdersDesigners, Other Developers, Clients

The key difference is that software developers focus on creating software applications for various platforms with an understanding of algorithms and data structures. And the web developers specialize in developing websites using web technologies.

FAQs About Software Developer vs Web Developer

What kind of projects do software developers and web developers work on?
While software development is a wider domain, web development is a part of it. The projects for each include the following:
  • Software Developers: Operating systems, desktop applications, mobile apps, games, and specialized software.
  • Web Developers: Websites, web applications, e-commerce stores, online portals, and content management systems (CMS).
Can a web developer also be a software developer?
Yes, a web developer can also have skills and experience in software development. They may know programming languages and be able to develop both web and software applications.
What are the common skills shared by software developers and web developers?
Both software developers and web developers require strong problem-solving skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work well in a team environment.


When choosing a developer for your project, the key consideration boils down to its purpose and functionality. Software developers excel at crafting programs for various devices and platforms, while web developers specialize in the web realm. Think about whether you need a mobile app, a desktop application, or a website/web application.

No matter which path you choose, a software developer or a web developer, they should possess a strong blend of technical expertise and soft skills. That will ensure a successful and rewarding development process.

If you want to hire web development experts for your project, we might be of help.

Need help with your web-based project?

Jigar Shah is the Founder of WPWeb Infotech - a leading Web Development Company in India, USA. Being the founder of the company, he takes care of business development activities and handles the execution of the projects. He is Enthusiastic about producing quality content on challenging technical subjects.

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