Programming Vs Software Engineering- What’s The Difference?

There is a fine difference between software engineering and programming.

In programming, a programmer receives instructions from a software engineer, those instructions are then used by the programmer to write a code that will run a software.

Software Engineers look at the demands of people and companies, they study them and then design software based on those demands. In other words, it can be said that programming is a part of software engineering. 

Related: Best programming languages to become a cyber security expert

Programming Vs Software Engineering- What’s The Difference?

Programming Vs Software Engineering

Below given is a table that will help you find out how programming can be different from software engineering.

Software EngineeringProgramming
In software engineering, a software engineer studies the needs and wants of the users. Keeping them in mind he creates a style for software and gives instructions to a programmer to code his idea.

Once that is done different codes are merged together and a single software is created by the engineer. 
In programming, a programmer is given certain instructions by the software engineer.

The programmer then uses the instructions to write a code and bring the idea presented by the engineer to life. 
To enter the field of software engineering, a person needs an engineering degree and formal training in order to qualify as a software engineer.In order to enter the world of programming, a candidate requires a bachelor’s degree and some programming courses where he learns certain programming languages.

With this, the candidate requires some experience in order to become a professional programmer. 
A software engineer NEEDS to have a background in programming and computers.

Also, they need to be good at advanced Mathematics in order to work in the field.
A programmer needs to learn programming languages and should have a strong grip on two to three programming languages.

Other than this, they should understand algorithms. 
In software engineering, a single person cannot work as a whole team is required to carry on with the work.

This is because software engineers have to take care of everything involved in developing software.
A programmer is supposed to work alone as a number of people cannot work on the same code.

Therefore, no team is required in the field of programming. 
Software engineering just like other fields of engineering requires hefty work.

This means that a team of software engineer have to plan, style, and execute software. Therefore, they are not limited to one job.
Programming is a part of software engineering. Programmers do not have to take care of anything but just have to code software. In short.

They have to follow the instructions given to them to write a code.
According to stats, a software engineer earns approximately $93,280 per year and $7,773 per month.A programmer on average earns $78,260 per annum and $6,521 per month.
In the field of Software Engineering, engineers use scientific methods to study the needs and wants of users and companies.

They can communicate with the people involved and come up with an idea to fulfill the demands.
A programmer has command over the programming languages and will understand the technicalities that are involved in coding.

They would know about the tools, features, and languages they require to write a certain code. 
Like other engineering fields, software engineering involves applications of engineering terms to create, design, and maintain software or application.A programmer, however, will use the knowledge of computers.

They will apply all the applications and theories related to computers in their work.
A software engineer works for a broader thing. He understands the advantages and disadvantages of certain software.

They would know what is in demand and what should be created. They would have received formal education in this area.
However, a programmer will only know how to code.

They will have no hand in designing software or understanding the needs and wants of their consumers.

So read along to find more interesting details.

What is Software Engineering?

Software engineering is one of the fields of engineering. Just like the other fields of engineering, it involves various different functions like Software design, testing, etc. 

Someone working in the field of software engineering is known as a software engineer. The job of a software engineer is to study the wants, needs, and finances of users or companies.

Using these things in mind they are required to design and build software that will fulfill all the demands of the target audience. 

Their work is not limited to building software, they have to make sure that the software is being maintained; this means they are responsible for updating the software based on the new needs and wants of their consumers. 

Some Software engineers are also known as computer engineers as they are able to design the OS to control computers, consoles used for gaming, mobile phones, and other technology. 

Companies like FACEBOOK, AMAZON, GOOGLE, hire candidates with Engineering degrees. Startup companies like PLANEKS hire programmers for projects that involve Python development.

Education required to enter the field of Software Engineering:

In order to enter the field of software engineering and to be qualified to be a software engineer, candidates are required to receive formal education in the specific field of engineering. 

Mostly, candidates require a bachelor’s degree in software engineering. However, for better knowledge and opportunities candidates can opt for a master’s degree. 

In order to gain this education candidates are required to have a strong grip on mathematics. A certain GPA has to be maintained by candidates in order to continue their education and to graduate as a software engineer (depending on the institution you choose).

While getting this degree candidates learn advanced mathematics, problem-solving, how to analyze situations, and etc. 

Job description for Software Engineers:

Software engineers are supposed to look at complicated programs, study them, design and develop them. Software engineers are supposed to give consultations and should contribute all they have learned in a project. 

A software engineer should be able to stay up to date with all the technological advancements so that they can make changes to software according to the advancements. 

An engineer has to make sure that they analyze and study exactly what the consumer requires and develop software. They are required to keep in touch with the other departments are supposed to take care of everything so that the process runs smoothly. 

Skills required in the field of Software Engineering:

There are certain skills that are required for candidates to enter the field of Software Engineering. An engineer should be proficient enough to use open-source tools and programs. 

They should have the knowledge of designing and taking care of different programs and systems involved in software engineering. 

Also, they should be able to work efficiently with a team and alone.

What is Programming?

Programmers are supposed to write down the codes required to run the software. They need to be proficient in different programming languages such as C++, Java, and C #, to name a few. 

Programmers are given instructions by a software engineer. Using these instructions, they are required to write down a code that will develop the final program. 

Programmers usually specialize in a few languages and work with them. These programmers are mostly self-taught. 

Education required to enter the field of programming:

It is not necessary for a developer to get formal education about this certain field. Any person belonging to any field of study can enter the field of programming. 

Programmers need to get a grip on programming languages such as C++, Ruby, C#, Java, and JavaScript to name a few. Most of the programmers learn these languages on their own by looking at video tutorials available online. Some might take short courses to learn these languages as well.  

Job description for Programmers:

Programmers are required to take care of any errors found in a code and should make any updates they are required to make in their work. 

They should make sure to submit their work on time so that the software engineers can do their work with ease. Moreover, they should run their software at its final stage to make sure that it is running smoothly and has no issues. 

Also, they should be prepared to make any revisions that may be required from them. 

Skills required in the field of Programming:

A programmer is required to have excellent communication skills in order to code exactly what the engineer wants. In case of miscommunication, all the work done can go to waste. 

Programmers are supposed to have a good grip on at least five different programming languages to add flexibility to their work. 

All these skills combined together will make a person an excellent programmer!


While many people say that software engineering and programming are the same things, it can be concluded after reading this article that they are not!

In simple words, it can be said that programming is a part of software engineering. However, both fields have different work intensities and requirements. 

We hope this article will help you understand the difference between the two fields. 

About Abdul Raffay

Abdul Raffay is a content creator and a blog writer. He has previously worked for techjuice and writes purely out of passion. He loves to tackle new and intriguing blog posts related to tech, lifestyle and home maintenance.