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DevOps vs. Software Engineer

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Swaminathan Iyer
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About The Author!
Swaminathan Iyer
Swaminathan Iyer
Product Manager at Interview Kickstart. The intriguing mind brainstorming ideas day and night for the creation of projects from simple “Hello World” to building strategies and frameworks.

DevOps integrates IT professionals and software developers in a way that results in a more efficient workflow. A software engineer is responsible for solving problems using coding. Together, they form the backbone of tech companies. Both the roles are crucial cogs of the product development cycle wheel. 

If you want to build a career in software or DevOps engineering but wonder how to prepare for the technical interview, you have come to the right place! At Interview Kickstart, we believe that you can crack these interviews and land a DevOps or software engineer job at leading tech companies with the correct preparation strategy. 

Having trained over 6,000 software engineers, software developers, and engineering managers, we know what it takes to crack the toughest tech interviews and coding interviews. Since 2014, Interview Kickstart alums have been landing lucrative offers from FAANG and Tier-1 tech companies, with an average salary hike of 49%. The highest ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $933,000! 

At IK, you get the unique opportunity to learn from expert instructors who are hiring managers and tech leads at Google, Facebook, Apple, and other top Silicon Valley tech companies.

Want to nail your next engineering interview? Sign up for our FREE Webinar.

In this article, we will draw comparisons between various aspects of the DevOps and software engineering roles. Here’s what we’ll cover:

Roles and Responsibilities: DevOps vs. Software Engineer 

The roles and responsibilities of a DevOps engineer differ greatly from those of a software engineer. Let’s take a look:

Roles and Responsibilities of a DevOps Engineer

  • Working with partners, customer technical leads, and client executives to manage and deliver implementations of DevOps solutions.
  • Working with product and engineering teams to package best practices and lessons learned into thought methodologies, leadership, and published assets.
  • Interacting with partners and technical stakeholders to manage project scope, deliverables, priorities, risks/issues, and timelines.
  • Advocating for customers needs to overcome adoption blockers and drive the development of new features based on field experience.
  • Proposing solution architectures and managing deployment of distributed virtualized infrastructure solutions per customer requirements and implementation of best practices.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Software Engineer

  • Designing and implementing state-of-the-art real-time optimization algorithms for autonomous systems.
  • Driving the development and improvement of existing solvers.
  • Ensuring that Apple products are engineered for scalability, security, and reliability
  • Designing and developing runtime performance-critical code.
  • Deep diving into existing software to debug critical issues.
  • Finding performance hotspots.
  • Improving code performance.
  • Developing robust, execution-time critical software with an emphasis on planning for autonomous systems.
  • Participating in an Agile development environment.
  • Working effectively across teams.
  • Working with model-predictive control algorithms.
  • Handling the full software development lifecycle and embedded software development.

Skills Required: DevOps vs. Software Engineer

Here’s the list of the various skills required by a DevOps engineer and a software engineer:


As you can see, some foundational software developing skills are common in both fields. Other skills vary depending upon the specific domain and role.

Recommended Reading:
How to Become a DevOps Engineer
Best Practices to Become the Best Software Engineer

Titles and Levels: DevOps vs. Software Engineer 

In every organization, the levels of DevOps engineers are usually the same as the software engineering levels. For instance, at Google, the software engineer levels are: 

  • L3 - Software Engineer I
  • L4 - Software Engineer II
  • L5 - Senior Engineer
  • L6 - Staff Engineer 
  • L7 - Senior Staff Engineer
  • L8 - Principal Software Engineer

The corresponding DevOps engineer levels are:

  • L3 - DevOps Engineer I
  • L4 - DevOps Engineer II
  • L5 - Senior DevOps Engineer
  • L6 - Staff DevOps Engineer 
  • L7 - Senior Staff DevOps Engineer
  • L8 - Principal DevOps Engineer

Related Reading: Software Engineer Job Levels at Amazon

Jobs: DevOps Engineer vs. Software Engineer 

Software engineers can be categorized into two roles: 

  • Applications Engineers: Engineers responsible for analyzing user needs. They perceive product development projects from the standpoint of technical nuances as well as that of the user.
  • Systems Engineers: Engineers who create and maintain the growth of computer systems and oversee IT operations.

The growth prospects for software engineers include software architect and project manager roles.

DevOps engineers can be categorized based on their specific roles and skills:

  • DevOps Evangelists: They are responsible for the implementation of end-to-end DevOps strategies in product development. 
  • Release Manager: They are responsible for integrating new and updated features in the current architecture. 
  • Automation Expert: They are responsible for assessing processes to be automated and looking for the right approach to integrate one product stack with another. 
  • Software Developer/Tester: This role includes conventional programmers and coding engineers and involves unit testing, deployment, and continuous monitoring.
  • Security Engineer and Quality Assurance Specialist: They test product functionality and ensure that security features are integrated into the product development cycle.

The growth prospects for DevOps engineers include the roles of blockchain engineer, security engineer, embedded engineer, data engineer, and backend engineer.

FAANG companies tend to hire more experienced candidates for DevOps roles, whereas candidates with all experience levels are considered for software engineering roles.

Salary Comparison: DevOps vs. Software Engineer 

Here is a comparison between the compensation packages per year of a DevOps engineer and a software engineer:

Generally, DevOps engineers earn about 25-35% more than software engineers with the same experience.

How to Prepare for DevOps or Software Engineer Tech Interview

Whether you are preparing for a DevOps engineer interview or a software engineer interview, you need a solid prep plan. You can go through the following articles for prep tips and get a better understanding of the interview process:

If you’re looking for a structured interview prep plan, join Interview Kickstart. IK is the gold standard in tech interview prep. Our programs include a comprehensive curriculum, unmatched teaching methods, and career coaching to help you nail your next tech interview.

That’s not all! At IK, you get the unique opportunity to learn from expert instructors who are hiring managers and tech leads at Google, Facebook, Apple, and other top Silicon Valley tech companies. 

Sign up for our FREE webinar to kickstart your career today!

Last updated on: 
September 22, 2023

Swaminathan Iyer

Product @ Interview Kickstart | Ex | Business Management - XLRI Jamshedpur. Loves building things and burning pizzas!

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