What’s the difference between a Software Engineer and a Programmer in the gaming industry?

What’s the difference between a Software Engineer and a Programmer in the gaming industry?

 27 Apr 2020

    Game Programmer,
    Game Software Engineer,
    Gaming Industry

In this blog we explore the differences between a Software Engineer and a Programmer.


Firstly what is a Game Software Engineer / Game Software Developer?

A Software Engineer uses science, engineering principles and programming languages to create, design, maintain, develop and test software products and networks.

Furthermore, the role of a Software Engineer and Software Developer can be differentiated further, but that’s for another blog!


Responsibilities of a Software Engineer

  • Develop and direct software systems.
  • Test systems.
  • Analyse data to effectively coordinate the installation of new systems or the modification of existing systems.
  • Managing the software development lifecycle.
  • Monitor systems.
  • Communicate key project data to team members
  • Develop and execute project plans.
  • Apply mathematics and statistics to problem-solving schemes.
  • Test new software and fix bugs.


What is a Game Programmer?

In short it is a game programmers’ job to bring the design of a game to life, using computer software that has been created by the Engineer/ Developer to create codes that allow the game to run.

Different codes allow the game to do different things, such as how it responds to the player.


What are the responsibilities of a Games Programmer?

•Developing and implementing game software.

•Ensuring that the game design is fully implemented and runs smoothly without complications.

•Creating unit tests and validation procedures and documenting technical specifications.

•Working closely with a lead game developer to create task/project deliverables.

•Interface with Quality Assurance, Game Producers, Game Designers, Artists, Mathematicians, and Sound Designers.



To conclude, the main differences between a Software Engineer and a Programmer are that the Software Engineer is focussed on the functionality and performance of the software / network as a whole and as such is more concerned on the use of data and systems.

Whereas the Programmer is focussed more on the mechanics of the game itself, rather than the software it works on and as such gets more immersed with the art and flow of the game, liaising with other departments such as artists, animators and designers.

Moreover, it is not unusual for game programmers to specialise in certain aspects of the game, examples being AI, Audio, Animation and Gameplay programming.



Hope you enjoyed our blog; we would be interested to hear your thoughts on this topic.

So please feel free to leave your comments and like / share our post.


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