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Programming Work Time. Programmer Typing New Lines of HTML Code. Laptop and Hand Closeup. Working Time. Web Design Business Concept.
Programming Work Time. Programmer Typing New Lines of HTML Code. Laptop and Hand Closeup. Working Time. Web Design Business Concept.

Web Developer vs. Programmer: What’s The Difference?

When you clicked onto this web page, how do you think your browser managed to load it? What sort of technology do you think went into developing the tools needed so you can read these words?

The answer is simple: a lot of it. The internet and modern computer technology were built by dedicated professionals who tinkered with lines of code. Web developers and programmers joined together to build the internet as it is today.

Even though they worked together, there are differences between the two. Knowing what a web developer vs. programmer does isn’t just confusing. Fully understanding the difference between the two can take thousands of hours of reading up on how our technology came to be.

However, there are major differences that can be covered quickly. Keep reading below to learn how programmers and web developers are different, and how they work together.

Programmer Is a Broad Term

First off, it’s important to understand that the word ‘programmer’ is a bit of an umbrella term. It can be defined to encompass anyone who works with computer code to create something. Web developers do just that, but so do many other kinds of coders.

Software developers create software that makes it possible for you to use this browser, and almost anything else. Meanwhile, computer hardware engineers also use code to ensure the hardware behind your screen runs. Even scientists can be called programmers since they often need to build the software to run experiments.

Website development programming can be thought of as a subset of programming. That would make web developers, programmers. However, ‘programmer’ isn’t colloquially used so broadly. Instead, ‘programmer’ usually refers to software developers who don’t make websites.

One Makes Websites, the Other Makes Software

The biggest difference between the two kinds of careers are the things they build. Programmers create tools and programmers that may not necessarily rely on the internet to work. They create things like Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop that are best thought of as tools.

To do this, programmers create and organize hundreds and thousands of files. These files are interconnected through the code they write and work together to make computers do stuff. 

Web developers, on the other hand, usually create websites. However, they do more than just ensure it looks good and contains the right content. They build the infrastructure behind the website.

In fact, web developers may not necessarily design websites themselves. Instead, they work to ensure that the files that make up a website can be stored and transmitted safely. While some work to ensure websites look good, their main focus is ensuring you can reach it with your computer.

A Program Isn’t Code, But a Website Is

While web developers and programmers can seem similar, there is one major distinction between them. That’s the kinds of things that they make.

When programmers build a program and ship it, consumers aren’t actually getting the code to the program. Instead, their code is compiled and executed. Programmers essentially package the result of the code being run, rather than the code itself.

This means that users don’t need to compile and run to use a program. It’s already done for them. It also means that hackers and illegitimate users won’t be able to reverse-engineer the code to use it in ways it wasn’t meant to be used.

Programmers don’t actually sell the thing that they may spend months or years slaving over. Instead, the sell the thing that comes from the thing they spent so long working on.

Web developers don’t need to compile and execute their codes to make sure they work. Web pages are written in languages like HTML5 and CSS3, which aren’t compiled the way other languages are. Browsers are capable of reading these kinds of codes instantly, which is why web pages usually load quicker than programs.

This means web developers don’t need to focus on packaging a product of their, as much as they can deliver the code itself. Users compile and execute the code instead since their browsers instantly do it for them.

Web Developers Manage Servers, Programmers Manage Resources

There is a shared goal between web developers and programmers: effectively managing resources. Whenever a computer runs a program or a server delivers a web page, resources are being used. Usually, this comes in the form of memory, storage space, and processing power.

Both professions try to use these resources as little as possible while pulling the most out of them. While they have a similar goal, programmers and web developers approach that goal differently.

Programmers design their programs to consume the least amount of processing power and memory. If a program uses fewer computational resources, then it can be used on more machines. That means more customers for programmers and more copies of their program being sold.

They try to make sure the tools they design eat up as little CPU and RAM as possible. Both of those things are part of a computer’s computational resources. They’re what the computer uses to actually run programs. If it runs out of those resources, programs crash.

Web Developers Ensure Websites Have Enough Storage Room to Grow

This means programmers don’t focus as much on storage space as web developers. Web developers also strive to ensure servers can handle hosting a website. Just like programmers, they go to great lengths to ensure servers manage their computational resources well.

However, web developers also need to manage storage in ways programmers don’t. As websites grow, more users more store information on its servers. Web developers need to predict this kind of growth and ensure there is enough storage room to grow in.

There are two ways to accomplish this. Web developers can simply add more storage through new drives, or by subscribing to a cloud service. However, web developers can also find new ways to compress user data so it takes less room.

It’s Not Web Developer vs. Programmer – They Go Hand In Hand

Knowing the difference between web developer vs. programmer can seem complicated. However, it’s simple if you know one key fact: they work together. Web developers frequently work together to maximize each other’s work.

Programmers write code to better manage web developer’s servers and their web content. On the other hand, web developers manage the websites programmers feature their creations on. They also ensure programmers can reach only assets they may need to continue their project.

And it’s important to realize that this doesn’t even scratch the surface of what either professional does. They are masters of their crafts and consider things most people don’t ever think about.

To get a better feel for what wed developers and programmers do, keep reading here. We constantly update our website with the latest trends about both industries to keep you informed about these incredible fields!



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