Cloud Engineer Vs Software Engineer: Differences And Similarities

Updated 2 June 2023

Both cloud and software engineers are integral members of the information technology (IT), and software development department. One role requires expertise in cloud-based applications and the other skills in a range of software applications and systems. If these roles are of interest to you, learning about their duties and required qualifications, and skills may allow you to decide which one is the most suitable for you. In this article, we explain the difference between a cloud engineer vs software engineer, discuss their tasks, responsibilities, certifications and skills, and review some of the roles' similarities.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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Definition Of A Cloud Engineer Vs Software Engineer

Learning about the roles of a cloud engineer vs software engineer may help you better understand the requirements of each position. Below is a description of both jobs:

What is a cloud engineer?

A cloud engineer is an IT specialist who plans, designs, develops, implements, manages and maintains cloud-based software and processes. After studying client requirements, they design cloud-based systems to support them. They develop cloud infrastructures for business and consumer use, which include games, online database systems and mobile applications. Part of their job involves building and testing technical requirements within these cloud systems. They also work with security teams to ensure all systems meet the required protection standards and are safe from cybercriminals.

Related: What Is Cloud Engineering? (With Skills And Careers)

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What is a software engineer?

Software engineers are IT specialists who use computer science, engineering and mathematics principles to build software applications and systems. Their skills may, for example, allow them to develop operating systems or complex business applications. Typically, they work with developers, programmers and other software development specialists to ensure the applications meet their client's requirements. In addition to building complex software systems, they may test and maintain software that other engineers or developers built.

Related: How To Become A Software Engineer: A Complete Guide

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Differences Between Cloud and Software Engineers

Understanding the difference between a cloud and software engineer may help you determine which role best suits your expertise, skills and professional objectives:


Below are some of the main cloud engineer duties:

  • Transferring a company's data to its cloud computing systems and ensuring easy retrieval

  • Planning, designing and developing modern cloud-based systems

  • Identifying and analysing cloud infrastructure vulnerabilities, and resolving potential application deployment issues

  • Communicating with clients, creating cloud-based systems in relation to their requirements and recommending appropriate changes

  • Ensuring compliance with a company's security policies and providing efficient data storage, and processing

  • Educating new team members on how to implement the latest relevant technologies and initiatives

  • Modifying and improving the existing cloud-based systems

  • Increasing the cloud storage capacity in the existing systems to store more data

  • Troubleshooting issues relating to cloud applications and security flaws

Below are some of the main software engineer duties:

  • Understanding client and user requirements

  • Maintaining the system with timely updates

  • Communicating and collaborating with other software engineers to ensure they develop the appropriate applications and systems

  • Overseeing the development of technical documentation

  • Monitoring the performance of systems and managing the software development lifecycle

  • Testing different software and fixing potential bugs

  • Designing, developing and modifying software systems

  • Evaluating the applications and systems that permit computer software and hardware to function

  • Optimising the existing and new software to increase speed and scalability

  • Staying up to date with the latest software technologies

  • Creating innovative solutions to meet a company's technical needs

Related: Cloud Engineer Roles And Responsibilities: A Complete Guide


Software engineers use their coding skills to create applications and systems. Typically, to build and test the software, they utilise programming languages, such as C++, Python and Java. Cloud engineers are also proficient in coding, but may use tools and cloud computing resources, such as infrastructure as a service, to manage cloud-based systems. Working with different tools and cloud computing services allows them to identify, and resolve issues clients may have in their cloud-based systems.


Both cloud and software engineers have an essential role in the software development, and information technology department, but their tasks differ. Below are a few typical software engineer jobs:

  • Software developer

  • Software architect

  • Security engineer

  • Systems analyst

  • Full stack developer

  • Back-end engineer

Below are a few typical cloud engineer jobs:

  • Cloud architect

  • Cloud security engineer

  • Cloud systems engineer

  • Cloud network engineer

Related: Software Engineering Courses After 12th (With 5 Job Roles)


While not mandatory, having a certification may help these engineers provide proof of their skills and technical knowledge. Below are a few useful certifications for cloud engineers:

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals

  • Microsoft Certified: Azure Administrator Associate

  • IBM Certified Technical Associate

  • Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge

Below are a few useful certifications for software engineers:

  • IBM DevOps and Software Engineering Professional Certificate

  • C Certified Professional Programmer

  • C++ Certified Professional Programmer

  • Certified Software Engineer

  • Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional

Related: Software Engineer Certification Options To Consider


Cloud and software engineers typically necessitate certain technical, and soft skills to successfully complete their tasks. Below are a few of the skills cloud engineers require:

  • Technical skills: These engineers require proficiency in web development, operating systems, cloud applications, application programming interfaces, network security and database management, along with knowledge of cloud computing applications. They may also require an understanding of different cloud providers and DevOps frameworks and practices.

  • Computer programming: Completing tasks, such as creating and integrating cloud-based applications, requires knowledge of Java and Python. Proficiency in these two languages may help these engineers advance their careers.

  • Network management: Knowing about networking concepts may help when creating cloud-based and secure solutions. Proficiency in virtual private networks, content delivery and domain name systems typically allows these engineers to integrate networks into the cloud architecture.

  • Decision-making: When evaluating cloud platforms, these engineers use their decision-making skills to offer advice and make recommendations to leaders. Having this skill may help them estimate the workload of cloud services and their total cost.

  • Attention to detail: Having good detail-oriented skills helps these engineers identify potential issues. This expertise also allows them to create secure and safe cloud infrastructures for their clients.

Below are a few of the skills software engineers require:

  • Programming languages: These engineers require proficiency in Java, C#, C++, JavaScript and Python. Knowledge of multiple languages and frameworks increases their earning potential, and may impress employers.

  • Adaptability: Adaptability imparts flexibility, which permits these engineers to learn new skills and work in different environments. As technologies change quickly, having this skill allows them to successfully integrate and complete a variety of different projects.

  • Testing and troubleshooting: These engineers test programs and systems for potential errors. Typically, they trace and resolve issues, and perform maintenance work to ensure trouble-free operations, and the timely delivery of software applications and systems.

  • Problem-solving: These engineers handle and manage a variety of technical issues. They require excellent problem-solving skills to identify potential concerns with the codes they are working on or reviewing.

Related: Software Engineering Skills (With Ways To Improve Them)

Similarities Between Cloud And Software Engineers

Below are a couple of similarities between cloud and software engineers:

Educational requirements

Most employers prefer to hire cloud and software engineers who have a Bachelor of Engineering or Bachelor of Technology in Information Technology, Computer Science or Software Engineering. Some may pursue a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Computer Application in Computer Science or a related subject. A bachelor's programme typically focuses on the technical aspects of system architectures, computing and more. Students also learn about software architecture, cloud computing, cybersecurity, troubleshooting IT systems, testing, computer application development, computer administration and programming basics.

Many cloud and software engineers pursue postgraduate degrees, such as Master of Engineering and Master of Technology in Computer Science. Typically, an engineering degree takes four years to complete, whereas a postgraduate course takes two years.

Related: What Are Software Engineer Qualifications? (With Skills)

Work environments

Both cloud and software engineers work in office environments. These engineers spend most of their time operating computer systems and collaborating with team members to complete their tasks. They typically work 40 hours a week, from Monday to Friday. Occasionally, they may do overtime to complete their duties or accommodate a high workload. Depending on the project and industry in which they work, these engineers may travel to client locations to study their software and cloud infrastructure requirements.

Typically, cloud and software engineers work in a wide range of industries, such as healthcare, IT, finance, automotive, manufacturing and education. These engineers, like many others in IT roles, work in a fast-paced environment. They may work together to create and build software products, and cloud architecture.

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