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  • Writer's pictureMariane Bekker

Decoding Software Engineering Titles

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

I worked in tech for the last decade and witnessed first-hand the evolution of technology and the diverse array of engineering roles that have emerged during this time

In this blog post, we'll dive deep into the meanings behind various software engineering titles, along with the commonly used technologies.

Front-End Engineer

A front-end engineer specializes in creating the visual and interactive components of websites and applications that users directly interact with. They use languages like HTML to structure content, CSS to style it, and JavaScript to add interactivity.

Their main focus is on crafting user-friendly interfaces, responsive designs, and intuitive interactions. They ensure that buttons, forms, images, and text are presented in an appealing and functional manner across different devices and browsers. Front-end engineers work to optimize the user experience, making sure that the application is not only aesthetically pleasing but also intuitive and seamless to navigate.

Popular Technologies: React, Angular, Vue, Javascript, Typescript

Backend Engineer:

Backend engineers are the architects behind the scenes of websites and apps. They work on the server-side of development, managing databases, handling user authentication, and implementing the logic that enables the application to function effectively. They deal with data storage, security, and server performance to ensure smooth operations.

Backend engineers work with programming languages like Python, Java, or Ruby, building APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that allow different parts of the software to communicate. They focus on making sure data is processed accurately, efficiently, and securely, enabling the front-end to deliver a cohesive and responsive user experience.

Popular Technologies: Node, Python, Ruby on Rails, Java, Go

Full-Stack Engineer

A full-stack engineer is a versatile developer who possesses expertise in both front-end and backend technologies. They can handle all aspects of web development, from creating user interfaces and designing the overall look and feel of an application to managing databases and server-side logic.

Full-stack engineers have a comprehensive understanding of the entire development process, allowing them to work seamlessly across the entire stack. They are capable of building end-to-end solutions, implementing features that involve both user-facing interfaces and the intricate technical elements that power the application's functionality. Their versatility makes them valuable assets in developing and maintaining complete and robust digital experiences.

Popular Technologies: Both front-end and back-end technologies

Platform Engineer:

A platform engineer is like the builder of a stable foundation for software applications. They work on creating the tools, frameworks, and platforms that developers use to build and deploy applications efficiently. They focus on streamlining the development process, ensuring that developers can focus more on building features and less on dealing with technical complexities.

Platform engineers design systems that facilitate continuous integration and deployment, making it easier to release updates and new features quickly. They ensure that the development environment is reliable, scalable, and optimized for collaboration, allowing teams to work cohesively and deliver high-quality software.

Popular Technologies: AWS, Docker, Kubernetes, Terraform, Puppet

Infrastructure/DevOps Engineer:

An infrastructure engineer or DevOps is similar to the architect of a well-structured building, ensuring all the systems work harmoniously together. They focus on managing the underlying infrastructure, networks, servers, and cloud resources that support software applications. These engineers aim to enhance the efficiency, reliability, and scalability of applications by employing automation, monitoring, and scaling techniques. They often use tools like Docker and Kubernetes to manage containers, ensuring consistent deployment across different environments.

DevOps engineers also bridge the gap between development and operations, fostering a culture of collaboration and communication to streamline the software development lifecycle. They are instrumental in building robust systems that can handle varying workloads, maintain high availability, and respond effectively to changes in demand.

Popular Technologies: AWS, Azure, GCP, Docker

Mobile Engineer

Mobile engineers specialize in the creation of mobile applications. Whether it's iOS or Android, they develop apps that function seamlessly on smartphones and tablets. Their expertise spans the entire development process, from designing user interfaces to optimizing performance for different devices.

Mobile engineers understand the unique challenges of mobile development, including optimizing performance and memory usage, handling touch interactions, and adapting to various device sizes and orientations.

Popular Technologies: Swift (iOS), Objective-C (iOS), Java (Android), Koitlin (Android), React Native (Both)

Machine Learning Engineer:

A machine learning engineer specialize in developing algorithms and models that enable computers to learn from patterns and make predictions or decisions without explicit programming.

They work on complex tasks such as recommendation systems, natural language processing, image recognition, and more. Machine learning engineers select appropriate algorithms, preprocess and analyze data, and train models using large datasets.

Popular Technologies: Python, TensorFlow, Pytorch, R

Computer Vision Engineer:

A computer vision engineer is a skilled professional who specializes in developing and implementing technologies that enable computers and machines to interpret and understand visual information from the world around them. This field sits at the intersection of computer science, artificial intelligence, and image processing. Computer vision engineers design algorithms, models, and systems that allow computers to process, analyze, and extract meaningful insights from images and videos.

These engineers work on a wide range of applications, from facial recognition and object detection to medical image analysis and autonomous vehicles. They leverage techniques like image segmentation, feature extraction, machine learning, and deep learning to enable machines to recognize patterns, shapes, objects, and even human emotions within visual data.

Popular Technologies: OpenCV, TensorFlow

Data Scientist:

A data scientist is a detective who extracts valuable insights from vast amounts of data, guiding informed decisions. They are skilled in collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data to uncover patterns, trends, and relationships that help organizations understand their business landscape.

Data scientists work with statistical analysis, machine learning techniques, and data visualization tools to extract meaningful information from raw data. They often use programming languages to manipulate data and build predictive models. Data scientists play a crucial role in turning data into actionable insights, enabling businesses to make strategic choices and optimize processes based on evidence and analysis.

Popular technologies: Python, R

From shaping user experiences to creating the underlying infrastructure, and from harnessing data for insights to developing advanced machine learning models, each role brings a distinct perspective to the software development process.

As technology continues to advance, these roles will evolve, and new ones will emerge. It's an exciting journey, and with the rapid rise of generative AI, we can expect the emergence of new roles in the near future.


Follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter for insights, industry trends, and valuable resources about Startups, Tech, and Diversity.


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Mariane Bekker is a passionate advocate for women in tech, an angel investor, and the founder & CEO of Upward, a premier boutique recruitment agency connecting companies with exceptional diverse tech talent. With over a decade of experience building diverse engineering teams at leading startups, she’s navigated the intricacies of the startup landscape and understands the unique needs and aspirations of founders. Follow her LinkedIn and Twitter for insights, industry trends, and valuable resources about Startups, Tech, and Diversity.

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