Talento | Employers

Software Engineer vs Developer: Assessing Who To Hire

by Carlos A. Vázquez    |    November 28, 2022    |      8 min read


As the IT industry becomes more complicated and nuanced, each tech position takes on a critical role. How do you build an engineering team? Begin with the central role: software engineer vs. developer? We know that these positions are at the center of product development, innovation, and in the safeguarding of the software and programs we all know and use. 

So how do these roles differ and work together to achieve high-performing teams and develop the world’s leading products and technologies? There is clear overlap in the positions, but understanding what these two tech roles are and how they function within a larger team can help you assess your company’s hiring needs in the short and long term. 

Let’s take a look at the specific roles of software engineers vs developers. 

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The Work of Developing New Products and Technologies 

Things move fast in the tech world, and companies are always looking for the best way to improve their productivity. As McKinsey reports, increasing performance is—many times— a result of empowering software developers and engineers to do their jobs and creating the right environment for them to innovate and work together. It is what they call developer velocity and it’s a concept that might apply to companies that are seeking to hire new developers or developer teams without sacrificing momentum or stumbling on the onboarding or initial hiring stages. 

Software Developers – Main Roles and Responsibilities 

Software developers are working on writing, designing, and debugging software. Their daily tasks are likely to be involved in the day-to-day code architecture that is going to make a software application or web application functional, practical and user-friendly to the customer.

 A software developer will be involved in a product’s development from start to finish, including its research, testing, and launch.  A software developer is a key figure in a tech team and some teams will require more than one software developer to architect their applications and work together. 

Software developers are divided into front end developers, full stack developers, and back end developers. This refers to whether they specialize on the front end aspect of applications (customer-facing interfaces) or work the back end (functional behind-the-scenes stuff.)  

Software Developer Skills 

A software developer needs to have a keen ability for mathematics and problem-solving. Typically, they are fluent in one or two coding languages including JavaScript, Python, CSS, HTML, C#, Ruby on Rails, and GoLang. 

Other skills of a software developer: 

  • Naturally curious 
  • A problem solver
  • Creative thinker
  • Approaches issues logically 
  • Ability to write and test code
  • Familiar with cross-browser compatibility
  • Can work a front end or back end of an application 

Software Engineers – Main Roles and Responsibilities 

Software engineers are higher up on the tech team ladder because their duties extend further than those of a software developer. The role title changes to ‘engineer’ because the job requires the application of engineering principles and approaches to the area of computer science and the development of software and web applications. As IBM defines it, software engineers apply engineering principles to build software and to solve problems within that software. 

Software engineers need more than a solid grasp of coding languages, algorithms, scalability, and more. They work with the same languages and technologies that software developers work with, but they do so in a more integrated capacity as they often have to engage in scaling and communicating their work to other departments or other parts of the organization. 

A software engineer’s responsibility is a lot more heavily collaborative, as they are often in charge of a team of developers and manage entire teams or the development of an entire product. At the same time, software engineer roles are often used as a head of a tech team, as they are in charge of researching and testing. 

Software Engineer Skills 

The skillset of a software engineer is very similar to those of a software developer. Engineers need to have a natural knack for mathematics and possess an inherent curiosity  coupled with a love of problem solving and a solution-oriented mentality. Engineers in any discipline must possess those qualities, as it is their duty to identify the problem and figure out realistic, practical, and scalable solutions to that problem. 

Other skills of a software engineer: 


  • Naturally curious 
  • A problem solver
  • Creative thinker
  • Approaches issues logically 
  • Ability to write and test code
  • Familiar with cross-browser compatibility
  • Can work a front end or back end of an application
  • Proficient in debugging software and systems
  • Project management skills and big-picture thinking 

How to Assess Your Company Needs for the Position 

Depending on your company’s needs, size, stage of development, and short and long-term goals, you may be looking for a software developer or a software engineer. It’s possible that you start off needing only one software engineer and then have to expand to a whole tech team of developers that act as support for a growing operation. 

And while some job descriptions or ads use the terms software developer and software engineer interchangeably, it’s not always accurate. It may be that your company would benefit from having one or the other. There are also financial implications, as software engineers—given their wider skill sets— have higher salaries and are far more competitive in today’s market. 

The main factor is where your company is in the development or testing stage. Depending on where you are in your product development, you may need a software developer or an engineer. These roles are brought in in different stages of a product’s development. 

If you are in the opening stages of researching and testing your product, you likely need a software engineer (and maybe even a team of developers led by an engineer) that can test and develop every aspect of the product before it is scaled and lead the way in terms of development trajectory. 

Mexico Software Developers and Software Engineers Salary Expectations 

Mexico’s tech ecosystem has made a name for itself in the last couple of years. The nation houses several tech hubs that not only attract a high number of tech talent but are the home of highly-regarded institutions that graduate hundreds of STEM students every year. Mexico graduates about 130,000 software developers and tech specialties every year. 

The centrally-located city of Guadalajara, dubbed Mexico’s Silicon Valley, is a central location for many young and engaged tech talent. This means the country has a high number of software developers and software engineers to fill your most crucial positions. 

What are the Salary Expectations of Software Developers in Mexico? 

The Mexico tech ecosystem is very diverse and trains a wide array of tech specialties. Based on our research of the Mexico IT industry, the most common found tech roles in Mexico include:

  1. Full stack developers
  2. Back end developers
  3. Front end developers
  4. Web developers
  5. Mobile developers

Salaries of a full stack developer in Mexico begin around $2,900 for seven to eight years of experience. The amount goes up to $3,400 for a developer with 9-10 years of experience. In the United States, an intermediate full stack developer will earn about $10,417. 

What are the Salary Expectations of Software Engineers in Mexico? 

There are highly experienced tech engineers in Mexico. Any engineering position will earn higher than a software developer by general status. A QA Test Automation Engineer in Mexico, for example, starts off at $3,320 for an engineer of 7-8 years and $4,198 for an engineer with 9-10 years of experience. In the U.S. a QA Test Automation Engineer will earn about $9,165 per month. 

Software Engineer vs. Developer: Build an Engineering Team with Mexican Tech Talent 

Filling in your head engineer or head developer role is a crucial decision in your company’s development and growth. CodersLink has a 25,000+ network of highly trained and experienced developers, engineers, and IT roles. Hiring remote software developers and engineers means connecting to LATAM’s highest level of tech talent and is a cost-effective option. 

Leave the finding of talent up to us. Our expert-level matchmaking means we take your role and find perfect candidates. Whether you are hiring a software developer or software engineer, we can help you link up with the perfect candidates. Connect with us to learn more. 


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Tech Salaries Report 2024: The top IT salary guide for Mexico and Latin America

The battle for tech talent is in full swing. This comprehensive report serves as a multi-dimensional look into the unique and growing tech hiring market in Mexico and Latin America. The Mexico Tech Salaries Report 2023 serves as a useful salary guide and benchmarking tool for companies looking to stay competitive and snatch up the region’s best developers, engineers, and tech talent.