Web Developer vs Software Developer: Decoding the Difference

Web developer and app developer infront of laptop

Are you confused with web developer vs software developer career choices? Not sure which one would be the best for you?

Then come and spend some time reading through this article. This article thoroughly describes what each profession is and what people in each profession do, along with an overview of their salaries, roles, and work opportunities. 

It’s a long but important one if your career depends on whether to become a web developer or software developer. 

Web Developer vs Software Developer: Basic Overview

Web development and software development are frequently confused. 

Individuals in these occupations frequently have comparable responsibilities, but they may work in different regions and have varying complexity in their daily tasks.

What Is A Web Developer?

Web developer creates interactive websites and applications. Everything from simple or complex text files, data processing involves in web development.

Web developers are innovative individuals who design and develop websites from the ground up. They know programming languages like JavaScript or Java to do so. They should also be aware of its objectives, influencing the website’s design.

What Does A Web Developer Do?

In short, web developers design websites and ensure their proper functioning.

They collaborate with leaders to create innovative and engaging websites for corporations, organizations, government agencies, and anyone trying to improve their online communication. 

Web developers are also responsible for managing the speed of the websites and applications they build, ensuring that users have a consistent and enjoyable browsing experience.

What Is A Software Developer?

Software developers are in charge of designing and building complex apps, computer, and mobile device applications and programs. They take responsibility for creating, conceptualizing, programming, documenting, testing, and upgrading the software they build. 

What Does A Software Developer Do? 

Software developers create, administer, and optimize computer programs on desktop computers, laptops, cellphones, and other mobile devices. 

These computer science specialists produce complicated code that dictates how desktop apps work using various programming languages such as Java, Python, C#, and SQL.

This includes fixing issues in the code, updating user interfaces, and developing new in-app capabilities, among other things.

Web Development vs Software Development: Processes Overview  

The critical distinction between web development and software development is the type of projects assigned.   

Web development includes web-based programs including websites, e-commerce, and mobile apps. 

On the other hand, software development will focus on developing software for the underlying operating system, network, or platform. 

What’s Web Development?

The responsibilities connected with establishing, managing, and maintaining websites and web applications that operate online on a browser are known as website development. 

Although designing the features and functioning of websites and apps is closely tied to web development, the term usually defines the action of constructing websites and applications by coding or programming.

Web design, web programming, and database management are all responsibilities of a web developer.

How Does Web Development Work?

Creating a website for the Internet (World Wide Web) or an intranet is known as web development (a private network). 

Web development can include creating a simple static website with plain text, complicated web apps, electronic companies, and social networking services. 

Web engineering, Web design, content development, client liaison, client-side/server-side scripting, Web server and network security settings, and e-commerce development are more routine jobs associated with Web development.

Is Web Development Hard?

Web development is neither simple nor complex. 

A web developer must comprehend the fundamentals of web development and the fundamentals of programming logic. Several concepts in web development are universal across all platforms.

Web developers create and develop web applications and websites, including their user interfaces, functionality, back-end operations, and data collection and processing. 

Every business that wants to make a name for itself in today’s world requires a credible presence online and what better way to do it than with a well-designed website? 

Besides, web development entails the following tasks, making it difficult to master though it is relatively easy to get started with.

  • Coordinating with clients and business executives to develop new web design projects
  • Using web development tools to design and test the functionality of web apps and webpages.
  • Ability to program in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other web development languages.
  • Providing solutions or simple methods for incorporating information onto the website, such as photographs, audio, and video.
  • Providing different website deployment and technical support.
  • Collaborating with other professionals to deliver top-of-the-line security measures to safeguard business assets and website data.
  • Monitoring website traffic, insights, and performance in a range of ways.

What’s Software Development?

The software development work is concerned with creating computer programs (or software).

 In other words, software development is a set of computer science activities concerned with creating, designing, deploying, and maintaining software. 

Software developers are adept individuals in designing, developing, programming, documenting, testing, and enhancing software, components, and frameworks.

How Does Software Development Work?

Typically, software development entails the following steps:

  • A software developer chooses a technique to create a foundation for implementing software development phases. This technique describes the project’s overall work process or roadmap. Works like Agile development, DevOps, Rapid Application Development (RAD), Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Waterfall, and other methodologies are examples of methodologies. (See the glossary for more information.)
  • Gathering requirements to understand better and document what users and other stakeholders require.
  • Choosing or creating architecture as the underlying framework for the software’s operation.
  • Creating a simple yet powerful design based on answers to difficulties posed by requirements frequently involves using process models and storyboards.
  • To do early validation, prototyping, and simulation of the design, utilize a modeling tool that leverages a language like SysML or UML.
  • Managing and measuring the project to ensure quality and delivery throughout the application lifecycle and evaluating the development process using models such as the Capability Maturity Model (CMM).
  • Writing code in a programming language that is best suited for the task. Peer and team reviews are necessary and used to identify problems early and to develop high-quality software efficiently.
  • Testing and experimenting with pre-planned scenarios as part of the software design and development process and performing performance testing to simulate load testing on the application.
  • Understanding all software artifacts (requirements, design, code, test) and building unique software versions by managing configuration and faults. To handle and track defects, establish quality assurance priority and release criteria.
  • Responding to and resolving user complaints and deploying the software for use.
  • Migrate data from existing applications or data sources to the new or updated software.

Is Software Development Hard?

Understanding what software development entails as a process can be pretty daunting and challenging for new learners.

Learning is also considered reasonably complex, and mastering software development takes years. 

A Software Developer should write code that is clean, reusable, testable, and easy to understand. In addition, they should have a thorough understanding of the organization’s business activities to supply the specific type of software that their customers require.

Furthermore, a Software Developer is expected to create scalable solutions while also increasing the company’s revenues.

Unlike web development, software development requires a more extensive set of skills, including DevOps, which unifies software operation and development. 

Both for beginners and professionals, software development compared to web development is considered difficult but not entirely impossible to learn and get good at if passion and determination are combined with learning and skills honing.

Web Developer Vs Software Developer: Education Requirements Outlook

There’s not much to add regarding software developer vs. web developer regarding education requirements. 

Although no specific subject of study is required to become a software developer, most organizations require a college degree for a job in software development. It helps if the degree is in a relevant discipline such as computer science, math, development, or engineering. 

Although a degree – especially one from a prestigious university – can certainly help someone land an interview or even a job in software development, top companies in the real world value real-world experience and completed projects and a demonstrable command of relevant programming languages.

As for web development, you do not need a degree, and there is no specialized college or university degree for a job in web development. Many prospective Web Developers have typically started with a bachelor’s degree in computer science as the most common educational requirement.

However, there is mounting evidence that companies and professionals alike no longer see a four-year college degree as a good investment. 

According to Stack Overflow, just about half of all developers have a computer science or related subject degree. About 70% of all Developers are at least partially self-taught, with 13% of respondents claiming to be entirely self-taught.

How To Be A Web Developer?

It is the basic requirement for a web developer to be familiar with programming languages such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Hence, to work as a web developer, you need to master those languages. 

It’s additionally good to hone your skills upon your CSS and CSS framework usage and knowledge. 

These major web development abilities will provide you with the foundation and reasoning necessary to communicate with computer languages.

You need to follow these five steps to become a web developer:

  • Master the core foundations of web development before providing web app development services, such as HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), and JavaScript.
  • You’ll need to choose a specialization as your skills develop. You can either specialize in front-end, back-end, or full-stack development. They are all explained in the web developers role below. 
  • Learn and master the key programming languages, mainly HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
  • You can work on projects and construct websites and web apps once you know the essentials of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and a foundation of programming skills. For example, you can learn hard skills like SQL or Python programming, how to use the jQuery library of functions for more efficient programming, and how to use version control tools like Git as you start working on more projects.
  • Build a solid portfolio. Your best shot at getting a high-paying job is a Web Developer portfolio that highlights your most vital talents when looking for web development employment.

How To Be A Software Developer?

It is of utmost necessity to have a fundamental understanding of coding and a background in other technical abilities before pursuing a career as a Software developer.

Although a degree in software engineering is not required, pursuing a career in software development will require technical knowledge, coding or programming acumen, and other soft skills.

Here are the necessary steps for you to be a software developer:

  • Learning software development principles, which for most people interested in this job starts with coding, is the most remarkable first step if you want to become a Developer.
  • Pursue a specialization or certification in software development. It will add to your credibility and experiment with enhanced knowledge on the fundamentals of software development.
  • To execute day-to-day software development duties like version control, code review, programming, and bug tracking, you’ll need to become familiar with several critical technologies.
  • Working Software Developers need tools like ProofHub, GitHub, Adobe Dreamweaver CC, and Codenvy, among others, so learning how to use them to save time on projects will be crucial no matter where you are in your career.
  • Although a library of your open source projects isn’t required to gain a job, it will demonstrate your programming talents to a degree, and it’s crucial to be able to display your work regardless of industry.
  • Data science, database management, UX design, product management, digital marketing, and SEO knowledge helps developers’ general understanding of technology, allowing them to relate and collaborate with colleagues and clients across departments and sectors. As a result, there is no limit to the training and abilities that a Software Developer or Engineer might find helpful in their career.

Web Developer vs Software Developer: Job Specialization & Roles Outlook 

A career as a web developer vs. software engineer demands substantial programming experience, a keen eye for detail, and a talent for problem-solving. Still, their workflows, maintenance requirements, and levels of complexity differ. 

To guarantee that their company’s website is efficient, user-friendly, and aesthetically beautiful, web developers frequently collaborate with business and marketing specialists. 

On the other hand, software developers are more likely to collaborate with other tech-savvy coworkers on large-scale software, operating system, and mobile app projects that don’t require input from other departments. 

Web Developer Roles

Web developers work on how a website or web application appears and works, from the user interface and page layout to the data collection back-end systems.

These roles frequently involve: 

  • Organizing meetings with clients and company leaders to plan out new web design projects
  • Web application and website feature development and testing
  • Writing code in HTML/CSS, XML, and JavaScript, among other computer languages
  • Graphics, written information, videos, and audio are all examples of content that can be integrated into websites.
  • Defining technical requirements to ensure the long-term functionality of websites
  • Creating security features to secure user data and company assets
  • Website traffic and performance monitoring and optimizing.

Back-end developers, front-end developers, and full-stack developers are the three specialized areas of web development that can be divided based on a candidate’s specific skill sets and professional interests. 

Each of these web design roles has its own set of tasks and expectations:

Back-end Developers

Back-end web developers work on the technological components of websites and online apps that provide both basic and complex functionality. 

They mainly concentrate on administrative components such as databases, website architecture, and application logic and develop new APIs and user interfaces based on predetermined standards. 

In general, this type of developer is interested in the fundamentals of how websites and web-based applications work.

Front-end Developers

These design specialists, also known as client-side developers, control how websites and applications seem and perform from the user’s perspective. 

They’re in charge of making all online information simple to find, explore, and interact with, especially for people with minor computer abilities. 

To avoid display and functionality issues, front-end web developers must guarantee that their websites are compatible with operating systems, browsers, and devices.

Full-stack Developers

As the job description says, these web design professionals are capable of both front-end and back-end development work. 

The majority of full-stack web developers have substantial knowledge in application design, user experience, and programming languages such as HTML, XML, JavaScript, MySQL, and other languages. 

As a result, they may fill advisory and technical jobs involving computer science and business knowledge.

Software Developer Roles

Software developers create, administer, and optimize computer programs on desktop computers, laptops, cellphones, and other mobile devices. These computer science specialists produce complicated code that dictates how desktop apps work using various programming languages such as Java, Python, C#, and SQL.

Their primary roles are:

  • Identifying user requirements and developing software-based solutions.
  • Recommend and do the upgrades to existing computer programs and systems.
  • Creating new applications for certain groups of people (consumers, enterprises, etc.)
  • Developing precise models and diagrams that show which software code is required.
  • All parts of the application and system design are documented for future reference.
  • Test the code to ensure consistency and efficiency in new applications.
  • Ascertaining that the program is compatible with existing data management systems

From the early planning to the final implementation of new computer programs, software developers are significantly involved in every application stage design process. 

Professionals in this industry, like web developers, are generally divided into two categories based on their specializations: software applications developers and software systems developers. 

Software Application Developers

These individuals specialize in building unique desktop and mobile applications, tools, and games for consumer audiences. 

They are in charge of ensuring that their software is compelling, engaging, and efficient, and they frequently work on the same project for several years.

Software Systems Developers

This role’s developers are mostly concerned with building systems-level software for enterprise customers rather than the general public.

 They apply their considerable programming skills to develop computing applications for various industries, including manufacturing, aerospace, and beyond. 

They create software for business networking apps, database management systems, and other essential infrastructure.

Web Developer Vs Software Developer: Salary & Compensation Outlook

Web developers are often compensated according to their level of education, technical skills, and work experience when it comes to income. For example, the median annual income for web developers was $69,430 in May 2018, with the top 10% making more than $124,480. 

Starting salaries for entry-level roles are typically around $37,930, while some organizations provide more competitive rates than others.

You can find an in-depth analysis of web developer salary in our article “Web Developer Salary 2022“.

Software developers enjoy higher incomes (on average) than experts in other IT-related industries and potential job growth. 

In May 2018, the Bureau of labor statistics reported that the median annual wage for general software engineers was $103,620. The bottom ten percent earned less than $61,660 a year, while the top ten percent earned more than $161,290. 

Software publishers, manufacturing enterprises, and financial institutions are the industries with the highest median pay.

Difference In Average Salary Of Web Developer And Software Developers 

In terms of salary, software engineer vs web developer, software engineer or software developer make more incredible money than web developers. For example, according to Salary.com, the average compensation for a Software Developer starts at about $70,390, while the average pay for a Web Developer starts at around $64,180, according to Salary.com.

A Software Developer’s average salary is higher, but Web Developers tend to earn more per hour due to market demand. Web developers can also work remotely or as freelancers, giving them more flexibility and allowing them to work from anywhere.

On the other hand, software developers are more likely to get work in large corporations or government agencies. Their employment entails working closely with a group of computer programmers. Long hours spent on-site with their development team, and company management may also be part of their job plan.

Compensation possibilities for web development are more varied. Web developers may work in web design and user interface design. However, web developers can advance to more advanced positions such as Senior Web Developer as their experience grows.

Web Developer vs Software Developer: Key Skills & Expertise Overview

Key Skills For A Web Developer

Web developers are responsible for creating wireframe mockups for new web apps to managing existing websites. It’s critical to understand how online platforms are hosted, how users interact with various navigation frameworks, and how engaging content can improve user experience.

There are other key skills a web developer require: 

  1. Command Over Html/CSS

The foundation of any Web Developer’s knowledge is Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). CSS allows you to program the look of a web page with things like colors and fonts. 

HTML is the most common markup language used to generate web pages, while CSS allows you to program the appearance of a web page with things like colors and fonts. Good command over fundamental HTML and CSS language is a primarily necessary skill.

  1. Familiarity With Programming Languages

There is a myriad of programming languages, but web developers should have familiarity with some of the most used programming languages. 

JavaScript, sometimes known as JS, is a strong computer language that allows websites to work on both the front and back end.

The Structured Query Language (SQL) is a programming language used for managing, querying, and manipulating data in databases.

Python is a popular object-oriented programming language widely used in data science, particularly machine learning.

jQuery A JavaScript library that provides a library of everyday activities in a compressed, single-line format to aid in the efficiency of JavaScript programming.

  1. Understanding Of Web Application Workflows

A skilled web developer is required to understand and optimize the workflows of web applications. They should also be familiar with other frameworks they require to work with.

For example, Popular JavaScript frameworks include AngularJS, Express.js, and Bootstrap. Web developers understand frameworks they use to save time and avoid reinventing the wheel. Instead, they’ve put together a collection of standard functions that’s simple to use.

  1. Attention To Detail

Every new feature seen on a website or web application undergoes many rounds of testing to reduce errors and improve the user experience. As a result, web developers must be able to recognize and remedy issues with online resources’ code, layout, operation, and general design.

  1. Creativity

Web developers seek to come up with innovative solutions to design problems. Professionals in this industry must combine utility and aesthetics while faithfully maintaining a company’s fundamental brand identity to exceed their clients’ expectations.

 This involves matching colors, typefaces, and visuals to current marketing collateral and company guidelines.

  1. Content Management

The content that people actively engage with determines the value of websites and web-based apps. 

Web developers should be familiar with content management systems like WordPress, Drupal, and HubSpot to rank competitively in search engines by publishing blog entries, videos, and other online assets.

  1. Graphic Design (In Case Of Front-End Developers)

As a web developer, you’ll be responsible for bringing storyboards and early design concepts to life. You can opt to work independently once you have mastered graphic design principles.

Spending time learning how to use some of the most common graphic design tools should be a top priority, as being able to create visually appealing graphics will only benefit you. For example, Figma, Photoshop, InVision, and Sketch are just a few of the more popular tools utilized by experienced web developers.

  1. Database Management (In Case Of Back End Developers)

A database is required by most web applications that provide a valuable function. For example, web developers must understand how to create effective databases and use SQL to connect with them (Structured Query Language). 

A database will require you to learn how to read, write, update, and remove data. MySQL, Oracle, MS Access, and PostgreSQL are popular database systems.

Key Skills For A Software Developer

Many of the qualities and talents required of web developers are also required of software developers, particularly those related to coding, programming languages, and user interface design. Other skills required for software developers are: 

  1. Proficient In A Specific Programming Language

Employers frequently expect candidates to have competence in at least one coding language; software developers must specialize in one type of coding language.

  1. Familiarity With Software Development Processes & Platforms

Software developers make sure that their goods and programs can run on various operating systems. For example, Working Software developers need to be familiar with processes and platforms related to software development. 

They need tools like ProofHub, GitHub, Adobe Dreamweaver CC, and Codenvy. So learning how to use them to save time on projects will be crucial no matter where you are in your career.

  1. Analytical Skills

User tastes and behaviors continually change, making it challenging to design long-lasting desktop and mobile applications. 

Software developers must be able to identify user trends and provide recommendations that support their users’ changing design, content, and administration requirements.

  1. Critical Thinking

Every piece of software should address a specific problem or requirement, forcing developers to consider the advantages and disadvantages of various options. 

Finding the best solution to an issue is at the heart of the software development industry. It necessitates a keen eye for detail and a willingness to make unconventional suggestions.

  1. Interpersonal Competencies

While software developers work with fewer stakeholders than web developers, they rely on their interpersonal and communication skills while working on significant projects. 

Working in this field will demand you to collaborate closely with other software engineers, computer scientists, and IT professionals. They may have quite different perspectives on the products you’re developing.

Web Developer Vs Software Developer: Working Environment

The typical work environment for website developers is an office or space (typically a cubicle) in an office building because they spend most of their time on computers. However, a growing proportion of web developers are self-employed and work from home.

Most software engineers go to work in an office setting, but because they execute most of their tasks on a computer, many can work remotely. Most of them put in at least 40 hours per week during regular business hours, with some nights and weekends thrown in to meet deadlines or resolve unexpected technical issues.

Web Developer Vs. Software Developer: What Does The Future Hold?

The future for both professions as web developer and software developer looks promising as the demand for both has been increasing every year. 

According to the BLS, the employment of generic software developers is predicted to grow by 21% between 2018 and 2028. However, the high need for software application developers is driving this occupational growth; the BLS predicts that employment for this specialized sector will expand by 26%, compared to only 10% for systems developers.

As more companies try to have their in-house IT teams that can manage website operations from start to finish, the demand for talented web developers continues to grow. According to the BLS, web developer employment is expected to expand by 13% between 2018 and 2028, remarkably faster than the average for all occupations.

One explanation for this increase in employment is that e-commerce is becoming more widespread, bringing up new revenue streams for enterprises. According to Shopify, a Canadian e-commerce platform, online transactions produced $3.5 trillion in sales in 2019, predicted to rise to $4.9 trillion by 2021.

Are Web Developers In Demand?

“Web Developer” was the most in-demand job title in tech, as well as one of the highest-paying jobs, according to Mondo’s annual Tech and Digital Marketing Salary Guide. 

According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, the job market for Web Developers is predicted to rise 15% by 2026.

According to Stack Overflow, 83 percent of professional Web Developers in the United States work full-time, with the other 10% doing freelance or part-time work. 

In its 2018 edition, U.S. News and World Report classified Software and Web Developers as one of the eight top overall tech careers, with 73 percent of respondents reporting positive job satisfaction.

Are Software Engineers In Demand?

There has been increasing demand for software developers worldwide in recent years. 

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in software development is expected to grow by 22% between 2020 and 2030. Each year, there will be roughly 189,200 opportunities for software engineers throughout the next decade.

However, in one of the Forbes reports, it is said that despite having high demands of software developers and engineers, talent is scarce. 

Web Developer vs Software Developer: How To Choose The Right Path?

Web development is a rapidly growing profession that is expected to be worth hundreds of billions of dollars by 2020 in market capacity and online presence.

Software development is critical to any company on various levels, and it is an important career path. It’s here to stay, and the computer community adores seeing innovative software solutions to global challenges.

Looking at the demand for both professions and also salaries, it can be said that anyone interested in computer technology and programming can have a decent career as both a web developer and software developer. Software developers earn more than web developers; however, web developers enjoy the freedom of working flexibly and on multiple projects. 

Since both professions require you to learn and master at least one programming language, you must learn to code. Hence, you can learn and figure out which occupation suits your lifestyle and work aspirations.

How To Get Started As A Web Developer Or Software Developer?

Although many web developers have an associate or bachelor’s degree, they may only need a high school diploma. For example, a bachelor’s degree in computer science or software engineering is joint among software developers and engineers. 

However, both would require a solid portfolio to get started. Bootcamps and internships are great places to start as a web developer or software developer. 


Coding boot camps educate aspiring web developers and software engineers while also assisting them in developing portfolios that will help them land jobs.

Programming and markup languages, frameworks, and libraries, such as React and Angular, are frequently taught in boot camps. Students can use Sketch, Figma, and Adobe Creative Suite to improve their graphic design talents.

You’ll also get involved with databases. For example, a web developer’s job can include creating a data storage area for most web and mobile applications. In addition, it will assist you in gaining a better understanding of database architecture, data storage, and data retrieval.

Boot camps help software developers improve their technical skills. You’ll study computer engineering in general and arithmetic, algorithms, and other technical subjects. In addition, machine learning and artificial intelligence may be introduced in some classes. 

You should also anticipate spending a significant amount of time delving into theory.


It is tough to compete in the employment market because recruiters seek experience without college internships and training.

An internship in software development or web development benefits you by preparing you for the job market. It effectively prepares you for your job in a less stressful yet structured work environment.

If you’re serious about honing your skills, learning new techniques, and gaining experience, look for an internship that involves actual work rather than just a part-time job that helps you with your resume.


Both web development and software development are challenging industries to enter, but you will be able to learn and grow in both. 

The computer and technology industry is flourishing, and it offers a career path with limitless advancement and opportunity. The ongoing shift in how the internet operates and software development keeps your thinking fresh and your job exciting. 

Every day will present a new challenge, and tackling it will feel like solving a puzzle. One thing you can do is trust yourself and overcome your fear of failing. So trust your abilities, be confident, work with others, improve your efforts, and thrive in web or software development.


What Is Better, A Web Developer vs. A Software Engineer?

There aren’t many significant differences between a web development career over that of a software engineer as both have high demands in the labor market and make good money. However, software engineers tend to earn more salary, and web developers tend to have more variety of work projects and options and room for change and growth. 

Is Web Development Easier Than Software Engineering?

Though web development is easier to start, it is challenging to master. Software engineering other hands require mastering programming languages and other fundamentals of software systems and databases, which makes it challenging both in starting and mastering. 

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