I was just offered my very first job, it's a new small to medium size company. It has a startup culture and very flexible. Graduated from a German Uni with a masters in CS. My offer is from a German company and in the contract it's written that the title is a Softwareentwickler or a software developer. However, I would like to write in my CV that my title is a software engineer.

My questions:

1- Is there any difference between those titles in Germany? Because I heard that it's the same thing.

2- What title would be nicer, fancier or recommended to have on a resume, a software engineer or a software developer? In Germany and the US in particular.

Edit: my question is with respect to Germany and not the US.

Edit 2:

from https://www.vde.com/de/Karriere/Beruf-und-Arbeitsmarkt/Seiten/RegulationoftheEngineeringProfessioninGermany.aspx I quote:

First of all, there is a protection to the professional title 'Ingenieur'='Engineer' by laws of German federal states which can only obtained by successful graduation in an engineering discipline or nat. science.

Well I have a bachelor in CS and M.Sc. in CS.

  • 2
    Depends entirely on the company, and sometimes on exactly which management chain you're in.
    – keshlam
    May 29, 2015 at 21:23
  • 1
    Very related - workplace.stackexchange.com/q/3347/2322
    – enderland
    May 29, 2015 at 21:24
  • If your current company hired you as a "software developer", but you later list that on your CV as "software engineer", then it could be seen as dishonest, even if the job responsibilities are identical. On your CV you put the actual title that you held. If the title is important to you you could try to negotiate with the company before accepting the offer. Small companies may be more flexible in this regard.
    – Brandin
    May 30, 2015 at 7:58
  • If you revived the US component you could probably reopen this as not a duplicate as per my answer.
    – user9158
    May 30, 2015 at 13:04
  • This question should be reopened. I wouldn't say it's the same thing - even if the same tasks are meaned in some positions. IMHO the difference in daily usage in Germany for these terms is as following: A software developer doesn't need to have an engineering degree (he could have one, but as likely he could have done a 3,5 years vocational training), software engineers on the other hand are always expected to have one.
    – s1lv3r
    May 30, 2015 at 16:58

3 Answers 3


In Germany (and the rest of Europe) "Engineer" is a protected title, and unless your degree is that of a "Software Engineer" you could get in legal trouble.

Unless you have conclusive proof otherwise, stick to "Software Developer".

  • I have an engineering bachelor degree! But my masters is a science degree.
    – Jack Twain
    May 30, 2015 at 8:06
  • See my latest edit
    – Jack Twain
    May 30, 2015 at 18:15
  • @JackTwain are you a member of the IEEE or the equivalent in Germany
    – Pepone
    May 31, 2015 at 10:47
  • 1
    @JackTwain you went to a German uni ad you don't know what the german professional body for Engineers is?
    – Pepone
    May 31, 2015 at 17:50
  • 1
    You don't speak German, yet graduated from a German University?
    – user9158
    Jun 1, 2015 at 6:07

For USA, I've read hundreds of engineering resumes:

  1. "Engineer" does sound better than "Developer" and that is the word that I've seen the most on resumes.

  2. For a random company to a random company, your title doesn't mean much to the hiring manager. A "software engineer" at one company doesn't translate much to another company. There is so much information and variability betweeen roles that isn't conveyed in the title. Anyone worth their salt is not going to care about the difference between developer vs engineer. Software engineers are not licensed professionals, so there is no legal standard to uphold.

  • I think it might in Germany they seem to value titles more
    – Pepone
    May 31, 2015 at 10:46

Job titles are often vague. Here in the U.S., there's no hard and fast distinction between a "software developer" and a "software engineer". Personally I think "engineer" sounds more impressive and that's what I call myself when I want to be pretentious. Usually I just say I'm "a computer guy", though.

If the company has official titles, like if they give you business cards or a name plate or have some official form that says "Jack Twain ... software developer", then that's what I'd put on my resume in the future. I'd hate to have a future employer say, "Hey, you told us you were a software engineer with Foobar Company, but we called them and they said you were a mere software DEVELOPER. You lied on your resume!" I doubt most people would see a difference, but I wouldn't push it, just in case. But if it's a company where titles are more casual, you can call yourself pretty much whatever you want, as long as it's remotely plausible.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .