The technology industry has boomed over the past two decades. This has created many career opportunities in the engineering field, especially on the software side. This segment has created many opportunities not only as a software engineer, but also as a platform engineer. A career in these fields sounds very lucrative and rewarding, but it comes with its own set of challenges.
A key factor for both the Software Engineer and Platform Engineer profiles are the specific skill and education requirements. They may sound similar, but there are some differences to be aware of. This article describes the profiles of both Platform Engineer and Software Engineer and their differences.
What is a Platform Engineer?
A key element of software is the technical infrastructure on which it is built. This technical base is called a platform, and the person who designs and develops the platform is a platform engineer. A platform engineer creates components like a web platform, creates a database her architecture, and builds a server her infrastructure.
Knowledge of both software and systems engineering is a prerequisite to becoming a platform engineer. Their skill set demands creating robust, scalable, reliable, and secure systems. Additionally, platform engineers must work in sync with software developers. Their job is to ensure that the applications created by these developers can be seamlessly integrated into the platform.
What is a software engineer?
In comparison, the software engineer’s role is fairly limited. Software engineers are responsible for creating software programs: designing, developing, and testing them. These software engineers work in multiple industries, including finance, healthcare, banking, and manufacturing. They typically work closely with other software engineers and developers to build new applications. Although they primarily work on creating new applications, another important area of responsibility for software engineers is enhancing existing software programs.
Software engineers rely on different types of programming languages, which are the foundation of any software program. In addition, we are also working on various activities to test software code written using programming languages. Finally, it is important not only to create applications, but also to maintain them. Software engineers must provide the necessary support to users using the applications created by providing adequate support.
Platform Engineer vs. Software Engineer
Now that we’ve covered Platform Engineer and Software Engineer, let’s look at the differences between the two profiles.
By default, software engineers work within their own office infrastructure. However, software engineers may travel to client locations. Most of their time is spent in front of a computer writing multiple lines of code to design a software program.
Platform engineers work on fairly large setups that require them to work on physical machines. In an emergency, a program engineer will be on standby for her 24 hours a day to provide maintenance and emergency repairs. Platform engineers will also travel to your location to provide support and inspect your hardware.
One thing the two have in common is that both platform engineers and software engineers need a technical skill set to do their jobs. This includes but is not limited to programming languages, coding skills, debugging skills and even troubleshooting.
Platform engineers are responsible for creating and maintaining systems on which software programs run effectively. Examples include operating systems, cloud-based platforms, and virtualization software. A platform engineer should have a good understanding of how these systems work and should be able to configure the platform to meet the requirements of the software application.
Software engineers are primarily focused on developing applications for user use. This includes applications running on web platforms, mobile applications, and even desktop-based applications. An important aspect that software engineers need to consider is understanding the user experience and designing applications that are easy for users to interact with.
A key component of platform engineers and software engineers is that both have technical, analytical, and problem-solving skills. They are used to finding innovative ways to solve problems.
A common duty of platform engineers and software engineers is that they both need to perform tasks such as research, analysis, and planning. After conducting an initial survey, we analyze the data and identify areas that need improvement or enhancement.
The main difference between the two is that software engineers are more focused on creating new systems, while platform engineers are more focused on maintaining existing systems. Another difference in his job duties is that a software engineer has to do purely technical work, while a platform engineer has a technical component as well as an administrative aspect to his job.
Platform engineering and DevOps
Another area where comparisons were observed is between Platform Engineers and DevOps Engineers. Although the two have considerable similarities, the beginnings of DevOps occur in platform engineering. For example, if you have a team planning to host a new website, reach out to your DevOps team to coordinate and get the job done. But if you’re a platform engineer, you create systems that other teams can develop applications on. To further extend this scenario, if you have the correct team with the system in place, technically you don’t need to coordinate with other teams.
As you can see, there are few similarities between the platform engineer and the software engineer, but there are differences that clearly distinguish their respective roles. Additionally, looking at the monetary compensation of platform engineers and software engineers, platform engineers earn on average $25,000 to $30,000 more than software engineers.