Software Development vs Software Product Engineering

The term software development vs product engineering is sometimes used to distinguish the process of producing a “software product” from the process of producing a “software system”. While both processes are undertaken by two different groups of people, it can sometimes be difficult for a layman to understand the distinction, particularly when discussing things such as risk management and bug tracking. The more you know about software engineering, the better prepared you will be for marketing your product!

The phrase software engineering was first coined in the 1940s and refers to a unified process covering all aspects of developing software. While software development is a process that involves completing features or functionalities or creating a physical product. A software product engineer can have responsibilities and tasks in both disciplines as they bridge the gap between creating a prototype and building a finished product.

Software developers don’t take responsibility for QA, testing, or maintenance. They build the software and then transfer it to the next team. Product engineers take complete accountability for building a high-quality product. They create automated test cases and identify areas where they can improve the quality of the product Software development and software product engineering may seem similar at first, but they are different. Software development means creating code to create a program while software product engineering means creating the complete product.

Software engineering vs software development, what is the difference?

  • Software development and software product engineering are not the same things. Developing software is an art that requires a holistic understanding of human factors, user interface design, and architecture. A software product engineer needs to understand the technical requirements of a new product while also working with the business teams to understand user needs and market research numbers.
  • In software development vs software product engineering, both are multidisciplinary skills needed to create software products. They require a deep understanding of the application domain, but their approaches differ across organizations. In a software product, tech entrepreneurs usually have strong engineering skills and innovative ideas, while those in software development roles require more application domain knowledge and communication skills.
  • Quite simply, the difference occurs when you define the value proposition. A product engineer creates a product with a `stiff` value proposition and creates heavy user interfaces in order to sell their product. This would be contrasted by a software engineer who creates a lightweight value proposition but is also able to create beautiful user interfaces in order to attract certain market segments or can enhance product features using some sort of visualization technology.

Many of the projects that organizations undertake today are not the result of a conscious effort, but rather arise from a need to address an existing problem. An organization may need a software product that provides new functionality and value to customers, or they may require a software product with substantially reduced development costs. This can be accomplished through engineering efforts that focus on innovative solutions rather than traditional methods and technologies.


Software development and product engineering are two different processes that solve the same problems. While development focuses on how to make a software product, product engineering focuses on how to sell an existing one. A programmer develops a technical solution and designates it as software code; he assigns a developer to implement it and test it against his requirements. A product engineer will be responsible for creating the marketing plan around the development plan.