Build and Release Engineer Vs. Software Engineer

Build and release engineers and software engineers develop software for individual and company use. There are some distinct differences in how they approach their duties, but commonalities between their degrees and career outlooks.

Comparing Build and Release Engineers to Software Engineers

These engineers may use different techniques for building software, as build and release engineers use a more agile approach, and software engineers tend to use a traditional means for creating and releasing software. Readers will learn about more differences and similarities between these professionals, including their responsibilities, projected job outlooks, earnings, and education.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Build and Release Engineers Bachelor's Degree $90,264 (2017) 24% (Software Developers)
Software Engineers Bachelor's Degree $81,471 (2018) 24% (Software Developers)

Sources: *Payscale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Build and Release Engineers vs. Software Engineers

Build and release engineers and software engineers are charged with creating software solutions for companies or designing software that individuals can use at home. Like other agile developers, build and release engineers focus on making software development easier by creating code that can be used many times for different projects. Software engineers typically take a less agile approach and create products from scratch. Both work with company executives and end-users to learn the specifications and requirements of the software before completing a build.

Build and Release Engineers

Using Linux or Unix operating systems, build and release engineers develop and install operating systems, cloud systems, and even databases, along with other software. To make their job of working on multiple projects easier, they develop a source control system complete with ready code sources and frameworks. The Python scripts they design make automation possible so software can reach clients and customers faster. This includes updates, which build and release engineers also automate by first determining which software bugs are most important. Finally, if a project is failing to make it through development or release, these engineers study the automated system and fix any issues.

Job responsibilities of a build and release engineer include:

  • Developing the software build architecture for their organization, making automation possible
  • Ensuring the source control system is user-friendly for developers
  • Creating pipelines that will continuously deliver software updates to customers
  • Keeping a record of software features that can be used for updates

Software Engineers

Software engineers design computer programs, including applications that may be used to organize data, make word documents, or listen to music. They also create computer systems that include the user interface and operating system, such as Windows 10 or iOS. These engineers work to understand how an employee or customer will use the software and design for their unique processes, including workflow across the system and data usage. They use industry standards for programming and are aware of how all pieces of a product will work together. These engineers also document the details of new software to ensure an architectural standardization for all their company's products.

Job responsibilities of a software engineer include:

  • Developing documents and visuals to show programmers how to code the product
  • Estimating the cost of the project
  • Creating updates for clients and suggesting changes to the workflow that will make it more efficient
  • Working with vendors to deliver the software to users, even on a mass scale

Related Careers

Build and release engineers and computer programmers develop code for systems and software, so those interested in the former could also find fulfillment in the latter. Additionally, software engineers and scrum product owners are familiar with the technical aspects of a software build, so this is another career possibility for those interested in information technology.

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