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Cloud Engineer Vs. Software Engineer

Cloud and software engineers work with computer programs, both downloaded and on servers, but readers will learn the differences between their educational requirements, median salaries, job growths, and duties.

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Comparing Cloud Engineers to Software Engineers

Cloud engineers create a place to save and even share information and documents over the Internet. Software engineers develop programs that browse the Internet, allow for the creation of text documents, or even manipulate images.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Cloud Engineers Bachelor's Degree $93,408 6% (Computer Network Architects)
Software Engineers Bachelor's Degree $81,693 24% (Software Developers)

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

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Responsibilities of Cloud Engineers vs. Software Engineers

The end-product for cloud engineers is something that can be independent from the rest of a user's computer system, perhaps even accessed through the Internet. Software engineers, however, build programs that are typically downloaded directly onto a computer. Both cloud and software engineers first try to understand a user's needs and how they will use the program or cloud to reach their individuals or business goals. From there, they both design and possibly even write the computer programming code that will bring the technology to life.

Cloud Engineers

The PaaS (Platform as a Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) cloud systems designed by these engineers allow for data communication both internally between a company's departments and externally with its partners. During this process, data and virtual workspaces are moved to the cloud system by these engineers. Importantly, they may also develop public cloud platforms and applications that can be accessed through Internet browsers and used by individuals for personal use. These consumer clouds include email applications and Google Apps. Based on the traffic to the cloud, these engineers may build an analytics tool into the architecture, which allows them to track and modify the design as the cloud grows.

Job responsibilities of a cloud engineer include:

  • Determining the cost of the design project
  • Considering security permissions for different employees or users
  • Documenting simple instructions for end-users
  • Implementing a data recovery plan in case the system crashes

Software Engineers

Software engineers utilize computer languages, such as Java, to build computer programs and applications. The applications they create, such as word processors, can be produced for a private company or for sale as a mass consumer good. Additionally, the programs they develop may work behind the scenes to make a computer run, such as operating systems like Windows 10. Sometimes, software engineers are charged with creating visuals of the underlying code to aid programmers who complete the development process. They also document specifications of the software to reference later during routine maintenance. This also helps the engineers review a company's current software infrastructure and recommend important updates to the latest software.

Job responsibilities of a software engineer include:

  • Meeting project deadlines with help from a team of developers
  • Customizing program design to better fit a user's needs, especially for business clients
  • Periodically testing elements of the application during development
  • Modifying existing applications to debug them

Related Careers

Cloud engineers and data security analysts find ways to keep information safe, so you could research both options if a career as a cloud engineer seems interesting. Software engineers and computer information systems managers build information technology solutions for companies, and these could both be worth exploring, too.

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