Computer programming has developed so rapidly that many terms used to depict various aspects of programming haven't had sufficient opportunity to maintain a consistent meaning. As a result, some of these terms often end up getting used interchangeably, creating confusion.

For instance, consider web development vs. software development.  For a layman, web development or software development can both mean something very similar. To them, the two terms may just be fancy ways of saying “coding” or “development.”

Both the terms are highly confusing, especially for those who are not from a technical background. Most people often tend to interchange the meanings or consider them the same.

However, knowing the difference between the two is crucial, especially when planning to develop an online solution for your business. You need to be clear about whether to look for a professional website development company or a software development company.

If you are also among those who are still unsure how web development and software development are different, this article is for you. From the fundamental concepts of web development or software development to the roles and responsibilities to when to hire either, we shall cover it all.

So, let’s get started!

Software Development

Software development describes the process of developing software programs or applications in a specific programming language. It involves creating a software application by writing maintainable code. Software development implies developing, arranging, reusing, R&D, and making tasks easier.

  • Software development creates a product with the features that have been proposed and needed by the computer software. 
  • While developing software, software engineers should have explicit knowledge of the customer requirements, the required programming language, and end-user usage.
  • Software development is centred around the software development life cycle (SDLC). SDLC consists of many phases or stages that are: 1. Requirement gathering and elicitation 2. Feasibility study 3. Analysis 4. Designing 5. Coding 5. Testing 6. Implementation 7. Deployment and Maintenance.
  • Software Development follows various models: the Waterfall model, Iterative model, Prototype model, Incremental model, Spiral Model, Rapid Application Development, etc.

Roles & Responsibilities

Software developers are accountable for conceptualizing, designing, programming, documenting, testing, upgrading, and maintaining software, software modules, and frameworks. Software developers typically create programs and applications for desktop and mobile platforms. 

The software they develop allows the end-users to interact with computer tools for various activities and tasks. Further, they should clearly understand the best development practices and the concept behind programming.

A software developer needs a broad range of skills to take care of the following responsibilities:

  • Design algorithms and flowcharts
  • Deliver clean and useful code based on specifications
  • Incorporate software components and third-party applications
  • Validate and deploy programs and applications
  • Troubleshoot, debug and update existing software
  • Gather and assess user feedback
  • Propose and execute upgrades
  • Generate technical documentation for referencing and reporting

When to hire a Software developer?

Software developers provide a wide range of custom software development services. They are skilled in designing and developing software compatible with smartphones, desktops, and other electronic devices.

Software developers write codes that make your computer work. Besides, they also debug code errors, upgrade user interfaces, and a lot more. So, suppose you are looking to get software developed. You must reach out to a skilled software development company and hire an experienced software developer who meets all your requirements.

Web Development

Web development describes the process of creating and developing web applications or sites that require hosting on the web. It involves creating something as simple as a single-page application to developing a complex web-based application. Web development is basically done as client-side scripting, server-side scripting, or database scripting.

  • The web development process consists of other work like content management, web designing, security, etc., besides creating professional websites and web application development.
  • The engineers who create and develop web applications are known by different names, such as web developer, full-stack web developer, front-end developer, UI developer, or back-end developer, based on their role in the web development process.
  • Web development follows a web development life cycle similar to SDLC. Different phases of the web development life cycle include: 1. Requirement gathering 2. Planning 3. Designing 4. Content creation & management 5. Coding  6. Testing 7. Deployment, hosting, and maintenance.
  • Rust web development additionally follows various models to fabricate or create applications. These models involve breaking larger tasks into subtasks and checking the continual progress from start to finish to design the intended web application.

Roles & Responsibilities

Just as a software developer creates computer programs and builds online shops using programming languages, a web developer also uses programming languages to create a user-friendly interface in the form of websites. 

Web developers use programming and markup languages to build interactive web pages. These pages can be as basic as online text files or as complex as e-commerce sites. Regardless of the end product, if the users are reading it on their web browser, then there's a decent possibility that it was built by a web developer, at least partially, if not entirely.  

A web developer needs to take care of the following responsibilities:

  • Create well designed, testable, and useful code 
  • Make website layout or user interface using basic HTML/CSS 
  • Combine data from multiple back-end services and databases
  • Collect and improve specifications based on technical requirements
  • Generate and maintain a software documentation
  • Be accountable for maintaining, developing, and scaling the website
  • Stay updated with emerging technologies and industry trends 
  • Work together with web designers to match up the visual design intent

When to hire a Web Developer?

A web developer works on your website and is responsible for the overall functioning and appearance of a website. Right from choosing the apt technology to picking the right set of development tools, they determine everything to develop a website from scratch.

However, not all developers are proficient in all the technologies, and hence, you must find someone who has expertise in the technology you want to use for your website.

For instance, if you want to get your website developed using HubSpot CMS, you must hire a HubSpot developer, and if you are thinking of getting a website developed using Wix, you must approach a Wix developer.

Web Development vs. Software Development

Software development and Web development are both used for developing applications. However, realizing the difference between web development and software engineering may seem confusing at first. Software programs work on the web, and various websites depend on web-based applications. With this perspective, the differences aren't that significant. 

Below are critical differences between web development and software development:

  • The primary difference between web development vs software engineering is that of the respective Interfaces.
  • Software development involves developing windows-based applications, and Web development involves developing web-based applications.
  • The prime focus in custom software development is on the logic and algorithm rather than the UI/UX, while the top-most priority in web development is to make the web application appealing and fascinating.
  • In software applications, screens have static content, while web applications support both static pages and dynamic web content.
  • We can only use software applications on the machine where they have been installed. In contrast, Web applications can be accessed from anywhere since they have been deployed on the server and are easily accessible with the domain's help.
  • Software applications primarily perform better in gaming file-handling. Web applications perform better in data centralization or multi-user.
  • Software development applications have customization limitations, while Web development applications offer a broad range of customization.
  • Software applications do not require much security, while Web applications need protection against viruses, malware, and even hackers.
  • Web developers regularly work closely with business and marketing specialists to guarantee their organization's site is proficient, easy to use, and aesthetically satisfying. Software engineers work with other tech-oriented co-workers on operating systems and mobile application projects that probably won't need contributions from different business units. 

Wrapping Up

Well, there you go! That was all about web development vs. software development.

Hopefully, considering the points discussed above and your requirements, you can now be sure whether you require web or software development services. And once you have figured that out, you can hire the experts to develop a professional solution.

Feel free to reach out to us in case you want to create a professional website or are looking for web application development.

Frequently Asked Questions

The choice between software and web development depends on your interests and career goals. Both fields have their unique challenges and opportunities. Software development typically involves building standalone applications, while web development focuses on designing websites and web applications. When deciding, consider your preferences and the specific industry or job roles you're interested in.

Web development is often considered easier to start with than software development because it typically involves working with web technologies like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, which have a shallower learning curve. However, the complexity of both fields can vary widely depending on the specific project or role, so it's essential to consider your interests and career goals when choosing between them.

The salary in web and software development might vary depending on location, experience, and specialization. Software development tends to have a higher earning potential, particularly for experienced developers working on complex software projects. However, both fields offer competitive salaries, and the specific pay can vary significantly.

Yes, web development can be a good and rewarding career choice, offering opportunities for growth creativity and a relatively low barrier to entry for beginners. However, success in the field depends on your skills, dedication, and staying updated with evolving technologies and trends.