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While many people believe these are very similar roles, there are some key differences between them.

The main distinction between DevOps engineers and Software Developers lies in their roles and responsibilities within the software development process.

Udacity emphasizes there is a strong variance:

“The terms Developer and Engineer, contrary to popular belief, are not interchangeable. A Developer knows how to code and may have the technical skills needed to build meaningful products. An engineer follows a systematic process of understanding requirements, working with stakeholders, and developing a solution that fulfills their needs. A Developer tends to work alone. An engineer is part of a larger team”.

We can see the difference not only in the responsibilities of those specialists, but also in the meaning of their definitions. Let’s take a closer look.

What is a Software Developer?

From a technical perspective, the role of a software developer entails coding, conducting software testing, debugging issues, and integrating software components to construct a fully functional application. It is vital for software developers to possess expertise in various programming languages, such as Java, C++, Python, and JavaScript, as well as a strong understanding of computer science principles, algorithms, and data structures.

Their main goal is to develop functional and efficient software solutions that address users’ needs.

What is a DevOps Engineer?

DevOps is a methodology that emphasizes collaboration between development and operations teams. 

According to Atlassian,a DevOps engineer is an IT generalist who should have a wide-ranging knowledge of both development and operations. 

DevOps engineers are, first and foremost, engineers. In standard engineering skills, like math and analytical thinking, they should understand project management, production infrastructure, coding and server administration.

DevOps engineers aim to optimize the software development lifecycle and improve the overall efficiency and reliability of software systems.

DevOps tools include Bash, Docker, Kubernetes, orchestration, Git, CI/CD systems, cloud servers (Azure/AWS), configuration systems, monitoring systems. But this is not the only thing DevOps should be able to work with. A good DevOps engineer must know at least one programming language. It is better that it be a general-purpose language, and one that is convenient to use for automation: Python, Golang, and so on.

To sum up, let’s highlight main differences:

1. Skills. 

2. Roles within a company. Developers are accountable for creating software programs and may produce multiple programs while working with an organization. On the other hand, DevOps professionals take the programs developed by developers and make modifications to automate processes and integrate them into the existing organizational structure.

3. Communication. DevOps engineer takes on more leadership roles, working closely with stakeholders, project managers, and other team members. On the contrary developers may primarily collaborate within their development team and follow the guidance provided by engineers.

In summary, while developers focus on coding and creating software applications, DevOps professionals have a broader scope, emphasizing collaboration, automation, and optimization of the software development process. Both roles are crucial in delivering high-quality software, but they have different areas of expertise and responsibilities.

By using the term “engineer” in “DevOps Engineer,” it highlights the engineering mindset and the broader range of responsibilities that go beyond traditional software development.