Full Stack Developer vs. Software Engineer: Salary & Roles Comparison

Full Stack Developer

Are Full Stack Developers and Software Engineers the Same?

Do you love tech and want to build websites and write code? Do you dream of becoming an applications software developer? Are you unsure of where to start or what career path is right for you? Read our guide to determine if you should become a full-stack developer or a software engineer!

What is a Full Stack Developer?

Developers are masters at both front-end and back-end development. They also know their way around databases and are well-versed in design. Full-stack developers often lead teams and, due to their wide range of knowledge, are great at collaborating and delegating tasks.

What is a Software Engineer?

The goal of a software engineer is to solve problems through the development of computer systems and apps. Software engineers tend to be much more specialized than full-stack developers and focus mainly on app development. Software engineers are in serious demand as every company is building apps these days. Software engineers tend to specialize in specific programming languages and are expected to know a lot about a narrow aspect of computer science. No matter what app you have downloaded from the App Store or Google Play, it was built by a software engineer.

Full-Stack Developer Vs. Software Engineer

Both full-stack development and software engineering are challenging careers that undertake vital roles. Let’s contrast both roles and study the differences:


Full-Stack Developer

Developers are generalists and have a deep understanding of all aspects of the app development phase. These developers are equally comfortable solving client-side development issues as they perform server-side development. A full-stack developer should be able to design websites, write APIs and build databases.

Software Engineer

Software engineers specialize in building applications and games. They are masters at coding, testing, and removing bugs from apps. Software engineers tend to be much more specialized than full-stack developers. Even though many software engineers can create network systems and operating systems, they tend to focus on a particular aspect of the system.


Full-Stack Developer

Full-stack developers are masters at building prototypes and designing products. These developers are focused on the bigger picture and know how to collaborate with other people to solve problems.

Software Engineer

Software engineers are specialists and typically focus on a specific part of a project. For example, they may build a particular aspect of an app. Unlike full-stack developers, software engineers are often in charge of a particular step in the app development phase and need to take full responsibility for it. Software engineers are often siloed and complete their given tasks without having to collaborate.


Full-Stack Developer

Full-stack developers need to know a lot, including building databases, performing server management, and handling client-side development. A skilled full-stack developer will know front-end development languages, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript combined with back-end languages, including Python and PHP.

Software Engineer

Software engineers tend to specialize in a couple of programming languages. They mostly focus on application building languages such as C#, Java, Swift. Some employees also expect engineers to have mastered the basics of Computer Science. The difference in interview questions between the two roles is that full-stack developers are expected to have a wider knowledge. In comparison, software engineers are expected to have a deeper understanding of particular aspects of development.

Role in a Team

Full-Stack Developer

Full-stack developers typically lead teams. They are in charge of coming up with a development plan, delegating tasks, and making sure all steps are completed on time. They will use their varied skills to help specialists with particular problems.

Software Engineer

Software engineers will often work in small teams or by themselves. They are tasked with a specific step in the development phase and are expected to take full control of that aspect, including building, testing, and removing bugs.

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