The software job titles you use in recruiting makes a huge difference. Did you know that candidates search for “Android Developer” 120 times as often as “Android Engineer”?
A new developer is 55 times more likely to search for “Entry Level Software Developer” than “Software Developer Intern”.
I compiled a list (below) of the top 50 software job titles based on the # of times the title is searched on in Google. My source is the great SEO tool ahrefs. To keep it simple, the Google job search volume ranks only [job title] jobs].
And, remember, I’m sharing only the software titles that are likely best to recruit a candidate. This can very different than the title they use once they have the job (note: I included some funny software job titles lower down in this article).
Note: Want more job title data? Check out our ongoing series called Job Titles: The Definitive Guide (including the most-searched IT titles The Top 35 IT Job Titles (tech jobs excluding software) The 16 Best Sales Job Titles.
Top Software Job Titles by Candidate Search Volume
The Top 50 Software Job Titles
|Rank||Job Title||Search Volume (Monthly)||%|
|4||Front End Developer||5,600||4.95%|
|6||Entry Level Software Developer||4,900||4.33%|
|8||Entry Level Software Engineer||3,500||3.09%|
|10||Junior Web Developer||3,000||2.65%|
|13||Entry Level Web Developer||2,500||2.21%|
|21||Front End Web Developer||1,700||1.50%|
|23||Entry Level Developer||1,600||1.41%|
|23||Full Stack Developer||1,600||1.41%|
|27||Junior Software Developer||1,400||1.24%|
|28||Machine Learning Engineer||1,300||1.15%|
|30||Junior Front End Developer||1,100||0.97%|
|30||New Grad Software Engineer||1,100||0.97%|
|34||AWS Solutions Architect||700||0.62%|
|43||Junior Software Engineer||450||0.40%|
|46||Entry Level Network Engineer||350||0.31%|
|49||Junior IOS Developer||300||0.27%|
|49||Embedded Software Engineer||300||0.27%|
|49||Oracle SQL Developer||300||0.27%|
|49||Application Security Engineer||300||0.27%|
|49||Entry Level Programmer||300||0.27%|
|50||Director of Engineering||250||0.25%|
For those who want a bit more texture on the definitions (or lack there-of) of software job titles, here are a few thoughts on the most popular software job titles:
Web Developer Titles
Web Developer ranks as the #1 software job title Google-searched by candidates.
What is a Web Developer?
A Web Developer focuses on developing specifically for the Web/Internet as a platform. This differs from a Software Engineer or Software Developer (see below) who create software for multiple platforms.
Here are 2 extra definitions of the Web Developer title:
“Design, create, and modify Web sites. Analyze user needs to implement Web site content, graphics, performance, and capacity.” ~BLS
“…a programmer who specializes in, or is specifically engaged in, the development of World Wide Web applications using a client–server model.” source: ~Wikipedia
Software Engineer vs Developer
Software Engineer and Software Developer come in at #2 and #3, respectively.
What is the difference between a software developer and a software engineer?
Isaac Lyman argues they can be used interchangeably:
“Software Developer and Software Engineer are, by many accounts, equivalent. Both mean that a person knows the best practices in their field, is comfortable with multiple technologies and has transferable skills that allow them to recognize and write good code in any language.~Choosing a job title (for people who code)“
Others argue that there are differences between software developer vs. software engineer. Here are some more thoughts on that:
Software Pro Tatiana Tylosky writes this about the use of “engineer” in his great piece on software job titles:
“Often using the term “engineer” implies you have a deeper knowledge of Computer Science topics (such as data structures and algorithms).”
Aaron Sempf, Head of Tech at Tribal Melbourne, says
“… an engineer architects, always looking at the “bigger picture”. An engineer can assume the developer role, but an engineer’s core focus lies within the architecture, designing and planning.” ~What’s The Difference Between a Developer and an Engineer?
Chris Lema points out that good software engineers have these attributes: (source: Programmer, Developer, Engineer: What’s in a name?):
- Abstract thinking — to create mental models of how the parts of the system will work
- Ability to easily move from one platform/software language to another
Here’s the definition of a Software Engineer from ~Wikipedia:
A software engineer is a person who applies the principles of software engineering to the design, development, maintenance, testing, and evaluation of the software and systems that make computers or anything containing software work. ~Wikipedia.
The Bureau of Labor Services states:
“A software developer someone who can develop, create, and modify general computer applications software or specialized utility programs. Analyze user needs and develop software solutions.” ~BLS
Here’s another description of a software developer:
“Software developers use various source debuggers and visual development environments to modify, write, and debug software for client applications. They also document and test client software and write code to create applications that either stand alone or boost access to servers and services.”~ ComputerScience.org
Front End vs. Back End Developer vs. Full Stack
The Front End Developer came in at #4 in software job titles. The Front-End Developer job title is usually used in the context of a Back End Developer (which came in ranked #96 (not on the list above) or Full Stack Developer (the #23rd ranked software job title).
Rale Chung, Head of Web Development at Winning Group and Ray Dai, Developer at AgriDitial have some great definitions of a Front End vs Back End vs Full Stack in the article Should You Be a Back-End, Front-End or Full-Stack Developer?. Here’s how they broke it down:
“Backend developers work implementing the business logic. They have to have knowledge of frameworks, software architecture, design patterns, databases, APIs, interconnectivity, DevOps, etc. They need to be able to manage abstract concepts and complex logic.”
“A full-stack developer will have a combination of both front-end and back-end development skills. Says Dai, “Being a full stack developer means taking a holistic view — comparing the pros and cons of both back-end and front-end before determining where the logic should sit.”
For a true full-stack developer this means not just being able to know the front-end and back-end technologies and how to apply them correctly. It also means being able to engineer a full solution — and see where the separation of logic should lie.”
Software Job Titles with Platform in Them Rank High
Most of the rest of the top 20 software job titles are ones with the name of the platform in them:
- Java Developer (#7)
- IOS Developer (#9)
- SQL Developer (#11)
- Android Developer (#14)
- Salesforce Developer (#15)
- .Net Developer (#16)
- Python Developer (#17)
What about “Programmer” and “Coder” as job titles?
Programmer (#19), Computer Programmer (#23) and Coder (#45) are still commonly searched software job titles.
There’s a good definition of programmer vs coder and other titles in Designer Vs Programmer Vs Coder Vs Hacker:
“A programmer is a coder that is systematic, using tests, documenting their code and some methodology. If they’re good, they’ll even be aware of and operate at the state of the art, using TestFirst and ExtremeProgramming.
A coder is anyone who uses a programming language, usually low-level like C++.”
Programmer and Developer are often used interchangeably. Coder, on the other hand, is often used as the “low man/woman on the totem pole”.
Sarah Ohanesian had this to say in her Coding vs Programming:
“To put it simply, all programmers are coders but not all coders are programmers. Some experienced programmers use the word “coder” as jargon that refers to a beginner (junior) software developer.”
Scott Hanselman added this from A Coder, a Programmer, a Hacker, a Developer, and a Computer Scientist walk into a Venn Diagram
“Coders – Can pretty much figure out it. It’ll work, but it won’t be pretty.”
Software Job Titles Hierarchy and Career Path Searches
Most of the rest of the top 50 software titles related to hierarchy: mainly for entry-level.
These are the most commonly searched job titles related to a software person with little to no experience:
- Entry Level Software Developer (#6)
- Entry Level Software Engineer (#8)
- Junior Web Developer (#10)
- Junior Developer (#12)
- Entry Level Web Developer (#13)
- New Grad Software Engineer (#30)
- Jr Developer (#36)
- Junior Software Engineer (#43)
- Entry Level Network Engineer (#46)
- Junior IOS Developer (#49)
You’ll notice that the word “Senior” didn’t make the cut in the Top 50.
One theory: when candidates are starting out, they search for “Entry Level”, “Junior”, etc. And then, later in their career, they search for more specific titles like “Web Developer”, “Software Developer”, “Software Engineer”, “Java Developer”, etc.).
Creative/Funny Software Job Titles?
There are plenty of creative/funny software titles used by employers, such as those found in these 2 fun reads as 7 Most innovative software job titles by Chandoo and 7 Weird and Offbeat Job Titles in Tech by Scott Morris.
- Digital Overlord
- Lead Code Wizard
- Kick Ass Developer
- Ruby on Rails SCAP (Super Crazy Awesome Programmer)
Those titles might be ok to use internally once you’ve hired a software pro, but they won’t be effective at recruiting software candidates since they receive very little search volume.
Isaac Lyman said it best (in Choosing a job title (for people who code) when he said that recruiters who use such silly job titles in software
“I’ve only ever seen them used by exceptionally incompetent recruiters.”
Your Candidates’ Former Software Job Title
And when it comes to looking at your candidates’ former job titles, don’t worry too much about what title they held.
As Tatiana Tylosky points out:
“Good programmers are good programmers, no matter what special title they have.”
Some Other Best Practices for Software Job Titles
Some other things we learned from this little research experiment:
- Entry Level vs Intern or Internships — “Entry Level” is used way more often than “Intern” or “Internship”
- “iOS” and “Android” are more popular than “Mobile Engineer”
- Short Length is Not Always Better — “Entry Level Software Developer” beats “Entry Level Programmer”
- Hyphens — Don’t worry about whether you add them in or not. Software candidates don’t type them in on most Google searches (e.g. Full-Stack Developer (1,600 searches) vs “Full-Stack Developer” (just 5 searches) and so it’s unlikely to have much impact if you add a hyphen in.
If you enjoyed this article, you might also check out our article on The 16 Best Sales Job Titles.
Why I wrote this?
I compiled this software job title research because we here at Ongig are on a mission to transform your job descriptions/job postings. A title is often the first step in a candidate’s action to either search or click through to a job page. Ongig’s job description software gives you insights on how to optimize your job title and just every other piece of your job description.