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Web Developer vs. Software Developer: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Technology is ever-changing, and those in the field must be able to adapt to new trends and developments. Two common positions in the tech industry are web developers and software developers. Both roles are important in creating and maintaining websites and software applications, but they have different focuses. In this article, we compare and contrast web developers and software developers, highlighting the key differences between the two positions.

What is a Web Developer?

Web Developers design and build websites. They are responsible for the look and feel of the site, as well as the site’s technical aspects. Web Developers typically have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. They must be able to understand a client’s vision for the site and translate it into a working model. Web Developers must be able to code in multiple programming languages, as well as have a strong understanding of web design principles. They must also be able to work with a team of other developers to create a functioning website.

What is a Software Developer?

A software developer is a professional who specializes in the creation and maintenance of computer programs. They use their programming skills to write code that will solve specific problems or achieve specific goals for their clients or employers. Software developers typically work in office environments, but they may also work remotely from home. They may work independently or as part of a team of developers. In some cases, software developers may also be responsible for training users on how to use the software they have created.

Web Developer vs. Software Developer

Here are the main differences between a web developer and a software developer.

Job Duties

Though both software developers and web developers use computers, the tasks they perform differ. Software developers create programs that allow people to accomplish specific goals. They research user needs, design algorithms and write code in order to build a program that functions properly. Web developers focus more specifically on the creation of websites. They use the programming skills of both software developers and computer programmers to build sites that satisfy users’ needs. Web developers may also take on additional responsibilities, such as designing graphics or managing website hosting services.

Job Requirements

Web developers and software developers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or another related field. However, some employers may be willing to hire candidates with an associate degree or even just a high school diploma if they have the right skills and experience. Additionally, many developers pursue certifications to show that they are knowledgeable about specific programming languages or development tools.

Work Environment

Web developers typically work in an office setting, but they may also travel to meet with clients. They often collaborate with other team members and communicate regularly with their colleagues via email or instant messaging. Software developers usually work in an office environment, but they may also travel for work-related purposes. These professionals spend most of their time working on a computer, so it’s important that they have a comfortable place to sit while they’re completing projects.


Both web developers and software developers use computer programming skills to build applications, but the type of applications they build can differ. Web developers typically build applications that run on the World Wide Web, while software developers may build a variety of applications, including those for desktop computers, mobile devices or the web.

Both web developers and software developers need to have strong analytical and problem-solving skills to be able to understand the needs of users and create applications that meet those needs. They also both need to have excellent attention to detail to spot errors in their code and fix them.

Web developers specifically need to have strong web development skills, such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript. They also need to be familiar with server-side scripting languages, like PHP, Ruby on Rails and ASP.NET. Software developers need to have strong software development skills, such as C++ and Java. They also should be familiar with database management systems, like MySQL, Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server.


Web developers earn an average salary of $78,677 per year, while software developers earn an average salary of $89,499 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the type of company you work for, your level of experience and your location.


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