Developer VS. Programmer: What’s the Difference?

May 31, 2023

11 min read

Commonly people get confused about IT concepts associated with developing various services, software, applications, programs, websites, and other digital utilities. To avoid mistakes, it is crucial to understand what kind of specialist is needed to solve these tasks. Let’s find out what the nation’s history says about software developers and computer programmers.

Developer VS. Programmer: What’s the Difference?

The first company founded specifically to provide software products and services was the Computer Usage Company in 1955. The software industry expanded greatly with the personal computer (PC) rise in the mid-1970s. In the following years, the PC also helped create a constantly growing market for games, applications, and utility software. 

Why do you need to know about the difference between a Programmer VS. Developer?

Understanding the difference between these two concepts is necessary for any professional looking for a job in IT or someone who is already there: from the CEO to the developer. Do you need to know?  Let us explain:

  • Career Paths and Specialization. This information can assist individuals in mapping out their career paths and choosing their specializations. Recognizing the distinction between the two allows you to explore various areas, such as web development, mobile app development, game development, or data science, enabling you to align their interests and skills with their chosen path.
  • Job Roles and Management. By understanding the differences, tasks can be assigned more appropriately, efficient teams can be formed, and the right individuals can be assigned to specific aspects of a project. This clarity contributes to smoother project execution and improved productivity.
  • Hiring and Recruitment. Employers can create precise job descriptions and identify the required skills and qualifications for a particular role. This aids in streamlining the recruitment process and finding candidates with the necessary skill set, resulting in better fits for the organization’s needs.
  • Communication and Marketing. Team members can have a shared understanding of each other’s expertise, responsibilities, and contributions. This will also help marketers find the right way to promote the company to exciting projects for the team IT talents.

Who is a Developer?

A developer is the key individual behind all software applications. Generally, developers are well versed in at least one programming language and proficient in the art of structuring and developing software code for software or a program. Term definition from Techopedia.

Who is a Developer?


The developer is a generic name. Depending on the job role and the type of software developed, a developer may be classified as a software developer, application developer, mobile developer, Web developer, etc.

Proficient in the following programming languages:

  • Python: A universal language known for its simplicity and readability.
  • JavaScript: The language of the web, used for front-end and back-end development.
  • Java: A widely used language for building enterprise-level applications.
  • C#: Developed by Microsoft, used for building Windows applications and .NET frameworks.
  • C++: A powerful language often used for system programming and game development.
  • Ruby: Known for its elegant syntax and used for web development with the Ruby on Rails framework.
  • Swift: Developed by Apple, used for iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS app development.
  • Go: Designed by Google for efficient and scalable systems programming.
  • PHP: A popular language for web development, especially for server-side scripting.
  • Rust: A systems programming language focused on safety, speed, and concurrency.

Who is a Programmer?

A programmer is an individual who writes/creates computer software or applications by giving the computer specific programming instructions. The programmer tries to perfect the code through a process of trial and error until reaching an acceptable error level and continues this process throughout the life of a program, as software and programs are never truly perfect or finished. Term definition from Techopedia.

Who is a Programmer?


A programmer works according to the specifications provided by a systems analyst or senior programmer. After completing a program design, a programmer converts the design into a series of codes or instructions that the computer can run and execute, making use of a specific programming language and the required platforms.

Proficient in the following programming languages:

  • Structured Query Language (SQL). A language used for managing and manipulating relational databases.
  • Perl. A versatile and powerful scripting language used for various purposes, such as text processing, system administration, web development, and network programming.
  • Extensible Markup Language. XML is a markup language used for structuring and storing data in a human-readable format.
  • PHP. A server-side scripting language designed for web development.
  • HTML. (Hypertext Markup Language) is the standard markup language for creating web pages and applications.
  • C. A general-purpose programming language that is widely used for developing system software, embedded systems, and low-level applications.
  • C++. An extension of the C programming language with additional features, including object-oriented programming (OOP) capabilities.
  • Java. A versatile and widely used programming language known for its platform independence.

Developer VS. Programmer

The terms “developer” and “programmer” are commonly used interchangeably, but they carry distinct connotations and have different scopes of work. While there is some overlap in their meanings, understanding the subtle differences can provide clarity.


  • Scope: Developers have a broader scope of work and are involved in multiple aspects of software development, including designing, coding, testing, and deploying applications.
  • Lifecycle involvement: Developers are responsible for the entire lifecycle of a project, from conception to maintenance and updates.
  • Collaboration: Developers often work closely with cross-functional teams, including designers, project managers, and stakeholders, to ensure the successful completion of a project.
  • Problem-solving: Developers focus on finding comprehensive solutions to complex problems, taking into account various factors such as usability, scalability, and performance.
  • Skill set: Developers possess a diverse skill set that goes beyond programming languages, including knowledge of software architecture, design patterns, databases, and project management.
Developer VS. Programmer


  • Focus: Programmers primarily focus on coding and implementing specific functionalities based on given specifications or requirements.
  • Task-oriented: Programmers often work on specific tasks or modules within a larger project and may have a narrower scope of responsibilities.
  • Language proficiency: Programmers excel in programming languages and have a deep understanding of syntax, algorithms, and data structures.
  • Logic and algorithms: Programmers are skilled at translating algorithms and logical instructions into executable code.
  • Debugging and optimization: Programmers have expertise in identifying and resolving code issues, optimizing performance, and ensuring the functionality of their code.

What is the difference between sourcing a Developer VS. a Programmer on a CV?

The search strategy is based on the search for different skill sets and different experiences. The difference between finding a developer and a programmer for a resume is choosing specific criteria and focusing on different aspects of professional skills. The Programmer may not have such a deep knowledge of architecture or some of the toolkits we discussed above. The Developer creates a project that will be a single entity in the future. That is why hard skills should be at the highest level (knowledge of architecture, the concept of the project being created, etc.). Given the difference between hiring a developer and a programmer based on resumes, here are some specific examples:

Finding a developer:

  • Project management experience. A developer’s resume may indicate project management experience if they have been responsible for leading a software development team and executing projects from start to finish.
  • Indication of required skills. A developer’s resume may include interface design skills or using specific frameworks and technologies to create high-quality user experiences.
  • Important strategic decisions. If a developer has been involved in important strategic decisions regarding software architecture or the introduction of new technologies, this can be reflected in the resume.

Finding a programmer:

  • Programming languages and technologies. A programmer’s resume can focus on specific programming languages or technologies that they are proficient in. For example, indicating their skills in using Python, Java, JavaScript, or Ruby.
  • Project portfolio. A programmer’s resume may include examples of specific tasks or projects he or she has worked on, indicating the algorithms used, data structures, and solutions implemented.
  • Experience in a specific field. In the case of specialization in a particular field, a programmer’s resume may indicate knowledge and experience in this particular area. For example, web development or mobile development, etc.

Recruiting Tip from the StaffingPartner agency

Romana Markiv a Senior Recruitment Consultant from StaffingPartner who has been hiring top talent in America and Europe for over 2 years for global IT companies such as N-iX, Ciklum, GlobalLogic, Ajax, Infopulse, Abrites, DataArt, etc. 

The specialist shared the best advice when hiring developers and programmers:

  1. Utilize search tools. Use the search tool in all available sources, such as LinkedIn, Djinni, and Widenest, and contact through all available messengers.
  1. Target relevant companies. Follow companies where potential candidates with similar experience may work.
  1. Provide clear job benefits and prospects. Be as straightforward as possible about the details of the position, all the benefits, and prospects for growth in the company to attract candidates’ interest.
  1. Find out about the candidate’s projects. Which programming languages and tools he/she has used, as well as his/her experience in design and testing?
  1. Assess technical skills and experience. A technical interview allows you to test the necessary skills and knowledge of the candidate.
  1. Consider years of experience. Pay attention to the number of years of experience the candidate has.
  1. Evaluate critical hard skills. Check for critical hard skills required for the position.
  1. Assess job stability. Consider the companies the candidate has worked for and assess the frequency of job changes.
  1. Share project details and associated tasks openly. Disclose the parameters or a synopsis of the project and the tasks related to the vacancy as much as possible.
  1. Engage in comprehensive conversations. When communicating with the candidate, actively ask about their experience with projects, what technologies and tools they have used, and how they assess their knowledge in this area.

These tips will help you evaluate resumes more effectively and communicate with candidates to find the best fit for your team.

StaffingPartner is a global IT recruitment agency that can give you access to a global tech talent resource to save on your budget costs, scale your development team quickly, and achieve round-the-clock productivity. Together with us, you will find relevant developers and programmers and be able to hire them for your project. This is because our database has 300K+ manually verified middle to senior-level candidates, and it’s consistently growing. Just make your recruitment process less costly and more efficient!


Thanks to the information provided in this article, you now understand the differences between a programmer and a developer. This knowledge enables companies of all sizes, number of employees, and amount of customers to easily interact with your implementations, whether they be services, products, applications, programs, or websites. In software development, programmers play an essential role in creating and implementing code. They specialize in programming and solving specific problems, contributing to the technical side of the project.

Developers, on the other hand, have a broader range of responsibilities. They don’t just write code but also handle system design, project planning, and stakeholder interactions. Whether you are a company owner or a developer, it is up to you to create quality and functional software, balance the team, and delegate responsibilities effectively. Now, with a clear understanding of the differences, you can apply this knowledge to your work, your communication with colleagues and partners, as well as in communication with customers.


What is the difference between a Programmer VS. Developer?

These concepts are very often confused, and all developers are called programmers. However, there are differences in their job activities. Developers are people who can build a website from start to finish. Programmers focus on code and can write custom scripts or applications for the web.

Is a Web Developer a Programmer?

Yes, a web developer is a type of programmer. Web development involves creating websites and web applications by writing code that runs on web browsers. Web development can be divided into front-end (client-side) and back-end (server-side) programming. 

Who earns more Developers VS. Programmers?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics published a survey of developer and programmer salaries. The median annual wage for programmers was $93,000 in May 2021. The median annual wage for developers was $120,730 in May 2021. So we can conclude that developers make more money.

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