What is the difference between Software Engineer and Data Engineer

CoderDidit (Martin Kuzdovich)
2 min readMar 8, 2020


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Short answer:

Software Engineer is more generic term

Data Engineer is more specific, it indicates that what you do at your work will be within Big Data/Data Analytics domain

Long answer:

Both Software Engineer and Data Engineer are Language agnostic

Software Engineer title can cover a lot of domains, you can be named as Software Engineer regardless if you do Web Apps, Mobile Apps, Embedded Systems or Game Development

Even going deeper within Web Apps/ Mobile Apps this title may apply either if you do Backend or Frontend

Data Engineer is like a subset of Software Engineer domain which indicates that you will be involved in developing systems that do Data Processing like:

  • ETL (Extract Transform Load)
  • Data Management
  • Data Wrangling
  • Cleaning of Unstructured/Raw Data
  • Collecting the Data
  • Making the Raw data consumption ready

Interesting Fact:

When we build large products that are driven by data you can have modules in your system that make use of that data in concrete Business logic and/or display them to users and i would not call that Data Engineering

Modules that are responsible for cleaning, preparing, managing data and presenting them in some reports that use Statistics can be named as Data Engineering

Data Driven systems may use capabilities of Machine Learning but it’s not always the case, a lot of Data Analytics problems may be solved with simple Statistics, but that is another subject…

Post Scriptum:

When i worked at Elsevier i was doing a lot of Data Engineering with Apache Spark but my job title was Senior Software Engineer

What do you think ? Let me know in comments below to help me improve this article

Thanks for reading!



CoderDidit (Martin Kuzdovich)

I am a Software Engineer 👨‍💻 that works remotely, builds his own projects, and shares the journey online