General Advice - Software Engineer OR Web Developer?

Hi everyone,

I know this question may be a bit vague as it depends on a persons personal qualities and what they want to do but as you guys are most knowledgeable i thought i would still ask.

I am currently working as a Web Developer, mostly PHP, some ASP.NET C#. I have literally just left this position and will be taking up a Software Engineer role starting next week.

My question being, is there more opportunities in terms of progression, demand and salary in Software Engineering as oppose to Web Development?

What sorts of averages would you expect a SE to be on once they have a few years experience under their belt?

Is SE a good career path to take?

The reason i ask is because as i have been working as a Web Developer for nearly 2 years i have gained immense amounts of experience but i have become very agitated and bored by doing the same thing over and over when it comes to CSS then coding etc… I figured with SE i would be working on different types of an application or system etc so the work is more varied?

Anyway, again i would really appreciate some advice?

I just want to know i am heading in the right direction… :confused:

Thanks again,

Any advice would be good, even if my career path seems the wrong way to go…

Just want a professionals advice really :lol:

haha… I think you’re getting excited for nothing.

Software Engineer = Programmer

That’s what it is. People can shmooze during a cocktail party “I am a Software Engineer…blah blah blah”… You’re just a programmer. However, if you earn the title of “Software Architect” then you’re on a different level. Anyways, sorry to tell you like a kid that Santa doesn’t really exist.

:smiley: Thanks!

Well i understand that it’s more or less the same thing, however i know it’s different from what i have just left.

As a web Developer i would build websites etc, but as a Software Engineer it’s more applications and core programming…

Am i right? :rolleyes:

No, I wouldn’t say so. A good analogy would be like saying

“I’m a Doctor”

Next would question would be “Doctor of what?”

So, you’re already a “Software Engineer” who specializes in Web Development. Just be careful of what you want to do… doing desktop coding is not that much fun… to me Web is where the money is at.

Hmm i am quite surprised you say that, i always assumed Application programming was a lot more money as it dealt with more hands on programming…

I think once i start this new job i will see the difference and hopefully will help me work out what is best for me to do in the future… :wink:

Again, more responses are most welcome and appreciated.


I see a web developer as a subset of software engineer.

eg…all web developers are software engineers but not all software engineers are web developers.

Other software enginners could specialise in Java (not javascript) C/C++, Visual Basic, various database languages etc etc.

If someone tells me they are a software engineer and nothing else, that doesn’t tell me much at all apart from the fact they can program in at least one language.

But whether they would be able to build me a web site, video game, accounting application etc etc I would have no idea without further clarification.

When you say “Application Development” do you mean desktop applications? If not the role of Web Application Developer is not really much different than Web Developer. It sounds a little better, but really they are the same thing. The primary difference would be a focus on software meant to be deployed multiple times rather than once. Though, web developer covers that base, it just doesn’t sound nearly as good as Web Application Developer. A position I almost took used the title Software Engineer in the legal docs and it was no different than any other web development position. Normally when talking to people about my career outside of the industry I refer to myself as a programmer or Software Engineer to avoid questions. Most people have no idea what a Web Developer does, but refer to yourself as a Software Engineer or Programmer it seems to click for the average person. Though, Software Engineer sounds more impressive than programmer. Web Application Developer has been my favorite title, as it sounds better than all rest and like your extremely important,lol. At this moment though my “official” title is Web Developer.

I refer to myself on my business card and in conversations as a website developer.

I haven’t met anyone yet that doesn’t know what a website is or what develop and hence developer means.

If I just said web developer I think that might cause some confusion.


Hmmmm great responses thanks guys!

Ok i understand now. Thing is it’s the “Engineer” part that sounds really professional which i was getting chuffed about :lol:

My role will basically be to build applications for Travel/Reservations Systems so you guys are right, it’s basically the same as being a Web Developer.

As i have currently been using PHP it will be good to now start using C# which is what i will be using. Having looked at corporate companies in the UK i have noticed the majority use ASP, ASP.NET and C#/VB.

So hopefully this career path i am taking now will give me what i need to progress and become a lot more successful.


Web Developer can be considered Application programming as well. That’s why I tell people I make “Web Application” and not “Web Site”. There’s a huge difference between the two. Amazon/Ebay/Banking sites are Web Application, Restaurant/Designer Portfolio/etc… are Web Sites. So, the developers who make Web Application get paid a lot higher than Web Sites. Hopefully, this clarify a bit. Also, don’t forget JAVA as a possibility for a carreer choice. Been in Java for 10 years and money is definitely good!

According to my knowledge Software Engineering = Web Development.
I just want to say that SE and WD are almost the same field. In SE, there are different programming languages which helps you for web development. In case of money, both SE and WD have a great scope in future, so keep doing Web Development and search for more latest techniques also to enhance your knowledge.

Both fields are the best fields. And I have heard that in software engineering one also read about web development. Web developers work on projects while software engineers work on contracts of years.

Why someone would say that Software Engineering = Web Development. Maybe I am living in another century?!?

Well, according to me, a Software Engineer is not doing only programming, as someone said before. He has to work with received use cases from users and debug the software, if the software is completed.

On the other hand, if the software is not completed, or maybe if it’s in initial state, the Software Engineer has lots of work before starting coding (working on the specifications of the project, receiving use cases from the future users and trying to figure out how to implement the software in the best way possible).

Once someone, more clever than me, has told me, that a SE is only 25% coding.