Why it makes sense to hire software engineers instead of coders – especially when working remotely

Sebastian Texter
Sebastian Texter

GoInsourcing (Kirsch & Kern until July 2023) is a pioneer in remote software development. Even before the Covid 19 pandemic, we were 100% remote, both internally and in the services we provide to our customers.

Fortunately, (almost) all companies now know that remote works :-).

For this kind of collaboration to work well, a few things are more important than for developers who are employed in an office. We often had to learn this the hard way in the early days of our business.

We have already looked at communication skills in another article. The purpose of this article is to help you distinguish between software engineers and coders, and to make the right choice for new employees.

Content overview:

  1. Difference between software engineer and coder: Software engineers have broader expertise in software development, planning, analysis and architecture, while coders specialise in writing code and have deep knowledge of specific technologies.
  2. Advantages of software engineers working remotely: Remote collaboration requires communication skills, quick learning and project progress despite limited face-to-face interaction. These qualities, including experience and mastery of complexity, are more likely to be found in software engineers than in coders.
  3. Applications for Software Engineers: In projects that require rapid productivity, whether to meet short-term customer needs or to develop MVPs, software engineers are preferred because of their skills in managing complexity, team communication and customer consultation. This often leads to faster and more successful results than pure coders.

Difference between software engineer and coder

What is the difference between the two anyway?

The terms “software engineer” and “coder” are often used interchangeably, but there are some important differences between the two roles.

A software engineer is a professional who plans, develops, implements and maintains software. They use their technical and analytical skills to develop software solutions that meet the needs of businesses and users.

A coder, on the other hand, is an expert in writing code. They use their programming skills to create software that automates tasks or helps users.

While both software engineers and coders need programming skills, there are some key differences between the two roles.

Software engineers have a broader expertise in software development, including planning, analysis and architecture. They also have a better understanding of business requirements and the impact of software solutions.

Coders, on the other hand, specialise in writing code and have a deep understanding of a particular programming language or technology.

This also makes it clear that it is not necessarily the difference between the studied and the self-taught. Apart from the depth and breadth of the respective studies, it is more about the interest and nature of the individual developer. 

We at GoInsourcing, for example, allowed a graduate geographer to join the company and he is now a very good software engineer, even without an explicit degree.

Advantages of software engineers working remotely

Why do we prefer software engineers?

There are two types of roles for which we are looking for developers. On the one hand, there are clients – often digital agencies themselves – who are successful in sales and therefore need a certain skill at relatively short notice, which they cannot find on the market for developers interested in a permanent position. Or an employee has left the company and the position cannot be filled quickly enough through traditional means (employment).

Our remote-only developers are almost all senior level, as this is how they provide the most input to the client (no one orders junior developers from us). Our developers have to become productive very quickly (understand the project quickly) and move the project forward despite the lack of personal interaction with the existing team ( at least in the beginning).

This is where experience, mastery of complexity, an overview and strong communication skills are needed. We only find all of this together in software engineers.

The other type of order are projects that we develop completely in-house for our clients. The client is a stakeholder, but not involved in the development process with their own resources. For example, we put together a team to develop an MVP for a start-up, whereby we either rely on a tech-lead who has already worked for us, or one of the senior developers has already proven himself with us. This minimises risks and guarantees success. 

 In this situation, too, everything speaks for software engineers compared to coders: the team must quickly set up the project and become productive. It must be possible to communicate efficiently internally and with the customer and to advise the customer.

Applications for Software Engineers

In short, there are certainly situations where a coder is exactly the right person. However, in our experience, you will always achieve your goals faster and better if you rely on engineers from the start.

Therefore, our advice is: don’t get too excited about the genius of a single coder or its lower price :-). . Otherwise the costs or increased effort will catch up with you later.

Could we help you with this, was this article useful for you? Feel free to write to me: sebastian.texter@goinsourcing.com 

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