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Full Stack Developer vs Software Developer [Key Differences]

05th Sep, 2023
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    Full Stack Developer vs Software Developer [Key Differences]

    When it comes to the world of tech, there are a lot of terms that get thrown around. One of the most popular ones in the technological world is "full-stack developer vs software developer". The big question is: what's the difference between a full-stack web developer and a software developer? 

    The term "full-stack developer" refers to someone skilled in front-end and back-end development. They are responsible for designing and implementing applications, but they also may be involved in other areas like project management and quality assurance. Front-end development involves the user interface (UI), which includes everything from UX design to actual coding. Back-end development involves managing data storage and retrieval and creating APIs for users to access data stored elsewhere. Our Full-stack Development course teaches you to code in a dozen different languages. 

    A full-stack developer may also handle some or all of the following tasks: database access, server management, system administration, and user interface design. 

    A software developer works on both sides, front end and back end but not necessarily with equal depth of knowledge in each area. The role of a software developer involves developing software products that run on computer systems. It focuses on writing code in one or more programming languages to make computers perform certain functions. 

    Full Stack Developer vs Software Developer [Head-to-Head Comparison]

    The following table gives the illustration of full stack vs software developer:

    CriteriaFull-stack DeveloperSoftware Developer
    Language RequirementsA full-stack Developer can work with any programming language (e.g., Python, Ruby, NodeJS)Software Developer only works with a specific language (e.g., Python, C++).
    RolesA full-stack Developer is often called upon to develop new features and improve existing ones.Software Developer's responsibilities are more limited to fixing bugs or implementing new features requested by other team members.
    Level Of AccessA full-stack Developer often knows how all parts of the system work together and interact.A Software Developer may have access only to their piece of the system and not know how it interacts with other pieces until they're told so by someone else on their team (which could take some time).
    Job Companiesfull-stack developers are often found at startups and small businesses.Software developers are typically employed by larger companies.
    Backend requirementsfull-stack developers need to know about database management systems and server configuration.Software developers don't need to know about database management systems or server configuration (but they do need to know how to write code).
    Skills RequiredA full-stack developer is involved in every part of the development process including architecture design & implementation, data modeling & administration (SQL), user interface design & implementation (HTML/CSS), back-end programming (JavaScript), front-end programming.While some software developers are skilled at using JavaScript and HTML for basic website functionality, they do not know how to use these languages for complex tasks or for applications that require server-side coding (such as NodeJS).
    SalaryThe average starting salary for a full-stack developer is USD 115,306, which is 0.8 times more than software engineer when you compare the software developer vs full-stack developer salary.Software developers earn USD 96,782 annually when they are hired and their salaries increase with each year of experience.

    Difference Between Full Stack Developer vs Software Developer

    The world of computer science is vast and complex. There are many different types of software developers out there, and the lines between them can sometimes be blurred. Here are some key differences between software developers vs full-stack developers: 

    1. Full Stack Developer vs Software Developer: Accessibility

    Full-stack developers are more accessible than software developers. Because full-stack developers are not limited to just one programming language, they can work on various projects and platforms without learning new languages. 

    Full-stack developers also have more opportunities for career advancement than software developers. With the growing popularity of cloud computing, many companies now need front-end and back-end developers. A full-stack developer can fill both roles if they have the necessary skills. 

    2. Full Stack Developer versus Software Developer: Interaction

    Full-stack developers interact with a broader range of people than software developers. Because of their broad knowledge, they can often help other team members by answering questions or solving problems. Conversely, software developers do not typically have such responsibilities as part of their job description. Instead, their primary focus is developing software programs or applications for the company. 

    3. Software Developer vs Full Stack Developer: Domain Access

    Full-stack developers have complete access to the buildup of the product, while software engineers manage a particular step of the application.  

    Full-stack developers are the ones who take on all aspects of product development, from design to coding to testing and deployment. They may be responsible for creating mockups or prototypes and writing code deployed live on servers. This developer could also work on the back-end and front-end development if they wanted to. 

    Software engineers have more limited access they're only responsible for one step in the overall process, like building out functionality or ensuring code works correctly across multiple browsers. They might specialize in just front-end or back-end development or take on senior-level responsibilities such as managing projects or overseeing teams of other developers. 

    4. Software Developer vs Full Stack Developer: Working Structure

    Full-stack developers and software developers are both types of developers. A full-stack developer is proficient in the entire web development process, from the idea stage to coding and testing to deployment and maintenance. A software developer is someone who writes code for computer programs. 

    The difference between full-stack developers and software developers lies in their roles and responsibilities. A full-stack developer is responsible for all aspects of a project, while a software developer may be limited to coding alone. 

    A full-stack engineer has an end-to-end view of what needs to be done to build an application or website, including design and development. This person may also have input into design decisions, but they are not expected to have strong design skills (although this is often considered a plus). 

    A software engineer works on specific parts of an application or website, such as the user interface (UI), back-end code (server logic), database management systems (DBMS), etcetera. They focus on writing code that makes up one part of an application's architecture. 

    5. Skills Needed for Software Developer and Full Stack Developer

    Full-stack developers work in a variety of roles and environments. They often work in teams with other programmers and designers but may also work alone on smaller projects. Their job is to ensure that whatever they're working on is functional, secure, user-friendly, and flexible enough for changes down the line yet still efficient enough for large volumes of data handling at once (such as website traffic).  

    They must be able to troubleshoot any issues that arise during development so they can be resolved before the application's release. They are responsible for ensuring that all components of an application function together flawlessly, linking various components into a single seamless whole. 

    A software developer is a person who writes code to make a specific computer program work. They often need to know how to program in multiple languages, such as C++ and Java, but they do not need to be able to create the entire computer program from scratch.  

    6. Software Developer vs Full Stack Developer: Salary

    When you're looking for a job as a software developer, there are many different types of companies to choose from. If you're interested in working for a company that wants to hire a full-stack developer, you can expect to earn an average salary of between USD 97,500 to USD 149,615. 

    If you're interested in working for a company that wants to hire a software engineer, you can expect to earn an average salary of between USD 77,710 – USD 128,960 as a beginner. Hence when comparing the full-stack developer vs. software developer salary, full-stack developers earn more on average. 

    7. Software Developer vs Full Stack Developer: Drawbacks

    The main drawback between software developers vs. full-stack is that it is difficult to keep up with the new technologies of all domains. As more developers learn about new technologies, it becomes harder for an individual to keep up with all the different languages and frameworks used in different industries. If you are interested in becoming a full-stack software developer vs. a full-stack web developer, you may have trouble keeping up with everything that comes with this line of work. 

    Another drawback to becoming a software engineer is that they may face problems related to distinct types. For example, suppose someone wants to become an iOS developer but doesn't know how to code well with JavaScript or HTML/CSS. In that case, they might struggle when trying to create apps for mobile devices because they aren't as familiar with the language or coding style.

    Full Stack Developer vs Software Developer

    How are They Similar?

    • A full-stack developer and a software engineer are often used interchangeably, but they have different roles.  
    • Full-stack developers may also be called "full-stack engineers," but they should not be confused with software engineers. The two are similar in that they both work with code, but the difference between software developers and full-stack developers lies in what types of tasks they focus on. 
    • A full-stack developer has experience in all parts of the development process, from design to implementation to testing and maintenance. Depending on their project needs, they typically take on multiple roles during each phase of development, such as designer, programmer, or tester. A full-stack developer may also have managerial duties, such as leading teams or managing project budgets. 
    • Software engineers typically specialize in one area of computer science, such as software architecture or database design. However, some companies hire them for general IT support positions instead of hiring specialists for each job function within IT operations management teams (ITOM). 

    Want to know more about full-stack development? Get the most out of your time by immediately taking the most sought-after Java Full-stack Developer skills course.

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    What Should You Choose Between Full-stack Developer and Software Developer?

    When looking for a job, two main titles come up: full-stack developer vs. software developer, which is better. Both roles require similar skill sets and knowledge, but the main difference is in their focus. If you're trying to decide between becoming a full-stack developer or a software developer, there are some things you should consider. 

    Software development is a highly desirable occupation, but there's some confusion about what exactly it entails. Some people think software developer is just another term for full-stack Developer, while others think it's synonymous with Software Engineer. But they're not the same thing! 

    In comparing experience between software development vs. full-stack developers, full-stack developers typically have more experience and skill than software developers. They are often better at creating new applications from scratch. Full-stack developers are known for their eagerness to learn new technologies and turn their ideas into reality. This trait makes them ideal for starting their own business or working as independent contractors. If you want to become a full-stack developer and also have the advantage of paying after placement, you can consider enrolling in a pay after placement Full-stack Developer training program, which can be a smart choice.

    Software developers typically build upon existing code, meaning they have less freedom regarding what they can accomplish with their work. Software developers are also more likely to be interested in working within a company structure instead of starting their businesses or being self-employed. 

    The average given to a full-stack developer is much more than a software developer. However, this may not always be the case in real-case scenarios. Get the complete Web Development course, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, back-end language (PHP or Node.js), databases, and more.


    For a good reason, the web development industry is growing by leaps and bounds. The internet has become an integral part of both business and personal life, and the ability to build web applications that can be used from anywhere in the world is a critical skill for developers. 

    The KnowledgeHut web development course will teach you the skills to become a professional web developer, whether you're just starting out or already have some experience. You'll learn to use the latest technologies, such as CSS3 and HTML5, and popular frameworks like Bootstrap and jQuery. You'll also understand how these languages work together under the hood, so you can use them in any project you want. So if you've been thinking about becoming a web developer but weren't sure where to start or if you've been doing it for years but want to take it to the next level, then KnowledgeHut is for you!

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1Is full-stack development hard?

    Full-stack development is not hard. It's a lot of work, but it can be done by anyone with the right skills, especially when you have a team of developers that work together to tackle the project. The main challenge is having enough time and resources to do it all. 

    2Who earns full-stack developer or software developer?

    Full-stack and software developers get paid fairly well, but there's a slight difference in pay. A full-stack developer typically earns more than a software developer, but this is because they are generally more experienced in the field. 

    3Is full-stack developer a good career?

    Yes. Full-stack developers are in high demand, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to find a job. You'll also be able to work in any industry from healthcare to finance and everything in between. The skills you learn as a full-stack developer will also help you grow your career further. 

    4Which is a better career path?

    Both careers are incredible. A full-stack developer is a jack-of-all-trades: they know how to work with databases, web design, and development. Full-stack developers are more versatile and can adapt to different roles, while software developers are great at one specific thing. 

    5Who is a full-stack Developer?

    Full-stack developers understand the entire process of creating a product, from initial design to development and maintenance. They can leverage their knowledge in multiple languages and environments, making them more valuable because they can work on any project.


    Sachin Bhatnagar

    Program Director, FSD

    With 20+ yrs of industry experience in media, entertainment and web tech, Sachin brings expertise in hands-on training and developing forward-thinking, industry-centric curricula. 30k+ students have enrolled in his tech courses.

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