• 3,000 firms
  • Independent
  • Trusted
Save up to 70% on staff

Home » Articles » Product engineer vs. Software engineer: Key differences

Product engineer vs. Software engineer: Key differences

Product and software engineers are two professionals who contribute to the success of firms in today’s technological environment. But some people often confuse these two job roles because of their almost identical responsibilities.

To assist you in deciding which is best for your firm, we’ll compare and contrast product engineer vs. software engineer.

What is product engineering?

Product engineering includes developing, constructing, and testing a physical product until it’s ready for release. 

This process includes various operations such as:

  • Manufacturing
  • Prototyping
  • Testing
  • Research and development

Product engineers also ensure the manufactured product adheres to all necessary requirements and standards for legality purposes.

Product engineer

A product engineer is a mechanical engineer responsible for planning and carrying out the manufactured items.

Get 3 free quotes 2,300+ BPO SUPPLIERS

Product engineers are essential to the process of creating and manufacturing new products. These professionals manage the whole product development process, from conception — through production.

Moreover, product engineers guarantee that the items can be manufactured effectively and economically.

Although product engineers are often connected with the manufacturing industry, they are not limited to working in just one particular industrial sector.

What is product engineering?

Product engineers also work in the following fields:

  • Automobile
  • Aerospace
  • Consumer goods
  • Medical device manufacturing industries

A product engineer may also provide his knowledge to government agencies or consulting organizations.


As mentioned, the product engineer’s main role is to supervise the development of the proposed product and the planning stage of the product design.

Product engineers then collaborate their idea with their team to ensure that the product satisfies the demands and needs of the company and its consumers.

Get the complete toolkit, free

Skills and qualifications

An exceptional product engineer, for instance, must be knowledgeable about engineering concepts, production procedures, and quality control.

Product engineers must have effective communication skills, perform well in the work setting, have imaginative minds, and have strong problem-solving abilities.

What is software engineering?

Designing, developing, and testing software application programs is the process involved in software engineering.

Software engineering requires various operations, such as: 

  • Collection of requirements
  • Design of the software
  • Coding and testing 
  • Software and app maintenance

Software engineers develop effective, high-quality software that meets the growing needs and demands of end-users.

What is software engineering
What is software engineering?

Software engineer

A software engineer can provide these two services to end-users and clients: 

  • Application or software design consultation 
  • Coordinate software installation

This means software engineers not only create software but also assist in how the software and applications should be designed and implemented.

A software engineer is skilled with mathematical models and scientific analysis. This ensures that business software systems are effective and follow accurate algorithms.


A software engineer should be able to handle different types of software. These specialists produce error-free codes, test and maintain software, and ensure that the software programs are compatible with different platforms.

Additionally, a software engineer’s role involves predicting outcomes and analyzing user requirements to create software systems that meet the needs of their users.

Skills and qualification

Similar to product engineers, software engineers must possess various skill sets to be successful in their field. Software engineers must also possess exceptional problem-solving skills and excellent interpersonal communication skills.

Software engineers must be knowledgeable about programming language tools and software development techniques

An excellent software engineer must also be familiar with the following systems and frameworks:

  • Database systems
  • Algorithmic frameworks
  • Data structures

Product engineer vs. Software engineer: How are they different?

Here is a more comprehensive comparison of the key differences between a product engineer vs. software engineer:

Product engineer vs. Software engineer: Key differences


Designing and developing physical products such as machinery, equipment, and consumer goods Designing and developing computer programs and operating systems
Conducts physical tests and experiments on product prototypes.Conducts software testing and debugging to ensure system functionality before launching the software to general users.
Product engineers are involved in the entire product development process — from idea building to productionInvolved in the entire software development process, from requirements gathering — to software and application deployment
FocusCreating products that are cost-effective to manufactureCreating software systems that are economical and meet user requirements
BackgroundMechanical, electrical, or industrial engineeringComputer science or software engineering


Works with cross-functional teams, including:


  • Designers
  • Marketers
  • Production staff
Works with the programmer and analyst teams.

Product engineer vs. Software engineer: Which is suitable for your firm?

Consider your company’s requirements before choosing between a product engineer vs. software engineer.

By knowing which of the two job roles fits your company’s requirements, you can make an educated choice that will benefit your company in the long term. 

You can ensure that you offer clients high-quality service and efficient software applications if you are familiar with the differences between a product engineer and a software engineer.

Get Inside Outsourcing

An insider's view on why remote and offshore staffing is radically changing the future of work.

Order now

Start your
journey today

  • Independent
  • Secure
  • Transparent

About OA

Outsource Accelerator is the trusted source of independent information, advisory and expert implementation of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).

The #1 outsourcing authority

Outsource Accelerator offers the world’s leading aggregator marketplace for outsourcing. It specifically provides the conduit between world-leading outsourcing suppliers and the businesses – clients – across the globe.

The Outsource Accelerator website has over 5,000 articles, 450+ podcast episodes, and a comprehensive directory with 3,900+ BPO companies… all designed to make it easier for clients to learn about – and engage with – outsourcing.

About Derek Gallimore

Derek Gallimore has been in business for 20 years, outsourcing for over eight years, and has been living in Manila (the heart of global outsourcing) since 2014. Derek is the founder and CEO of Outsource Accelerator, and is regarded as a leading expert on all things outsourcing.

“Excellent service for outsourcing advice and expertise for my business.”

Learn more
Banner Image
Get 3 Free Quotes Verified Outsourcing Suppliers
3,000 firms.Just 2 minutes to complete.
Learn more

Connect with over 3,000 outsourcing services providers.

Banner Image

Transform your business with skilled offshore talent.

  • 3,000 firms
  • Simple
  • Transparent
Banner Image