Exploring the Differences: Platform Engineering vs. Software Engineering
Nov 17, 2023
Despite sounding similar, software engineering and platform engineering are two fields that have very distinct roles in the tech industry. A better understanding of the key differences between these two sophisticated fields is crucial when it comes to leveraging each of their unique benefits.
The Differences of a DevOps Engineer vs. a Software Engineer
While both platform and software engineers work with development tools and code, there are distinct differences in how they apply those skills.
Platform engineers focus on building a complex set of common components that accelerate the development of applications, maintain consistency, allow “tailorization,” and more. These components usually include solid infrastructure, microservices, data fabric, or even vendor products alongside custom developed applications.
On the other hand, software engineers primarily focus on creating software programs. They design, develop, test, and maintain (or enhance) software systems to meet specific requirements. These professionals use a variety of programming languages, such as Java or Python, to create new applications from scratch or provide support for existing programs.
Another key difference between these roles is their level of involvement in the overall application lifecycle. Platform engineers tend to be more involved in the deployment phase, while software engineers take the lead in designing and developing apps.
Knowing how to use each role is vital to success. Rather than starting from scratch and building new systems on demand, platform engineering means laying a solid foundation from which new apps can be developed and deployed with ease. Working hand-in-hand, these capabilities allow you to skip the time-consuming tedium and focus on delivering the outcomes your business needs.
Why Is Platform Engineering Important?
Platform engineering is an approach that accelerates development by providing a set of self-service tools and infrastructure that act as a foundation for companies to achieve their desired results faster. It is closely associated with cloud-native technologies and offers integrated development, build, and deployment environments. The framework can be implemented in on-premise, hybrid, or cloud environments, depending on the capabilities it provides.
Platform engineering frameworks and methodologies, such as CTG's FoundationOne, support application migration and build, making the process easier and faster. This approach provides a blueprint for building, managing, and deploying applications, whether it involves modernizing existing apps or creating new ones. Typically, these applications are built using a microservices architecture (specifically one that is data-centric and event-driven).
How to Determine Which Engineering Model Is Right for You
It is no secret that building from the ground up can take a significant amount of time and effort. An easier and safer route is to find someone who has the expertise and talent to lay the foundation for you. In most cases, it's more beneficial to leverage a proven solution framework while partnering with a team that has extensive knowledge and experience.
When it comes down to it, FoundationOne is one of the most advanced end-to-end solution frameworks available. With its comprehensive platform engineering framework, it equips companies with the necessary tools and capabilities to enhance their software engineering abilities.
Platform engineering frameworks like FoundationOne offer a holistic approach — accelerating development, simplifying deployment, and allowing developers to focus on core business functionalities. It is important that you carefully evaluate your organization's maturity level, project requirements, and long-term goals to determine the most suitable software engineering model.
Why FoundationOne Is Better for Accelerating Your Business
As opposed to treating them as disparate forces, software and platform engineering work hand-in-hand when employing FoundationOne as your framework. Solid platform engineering gives companies a strong starting point to build processes that support software and app development. These processes help reduce time to results and provide valuable cost savings during testing and development.
FoundationOne starts clients off on the right foot by providing a curated release report of valuable context to any new venture, including results from software composition and solid state drive analysis done over our own code. To further strengthen this solid foundation, FoundationOne provides a software development kit for faster service development in your architectural style. Rather than spending countless hours trying to figure out which testing strategy works best, FoundationOne has a built-in framework that automates testing right from the beginning.
Other vendors may have tools, but FoundationOne offers a comprehensive platform engineering framework, allowing users to quickly move from zero to completion.
The right platform engineering tools cover all aspects of DevSecOps, including the provisioning of source code repository, CI/CD pipeline, automated testing, security checks, monitoring, etc. This allows software engineers to focus on their primary task of translating business functionality into functional software without being bogged down by the intricate technical aspects. Embracing platform engineering can significantly propel businesses into a future characterized by enhanced development efficiency and accelerated growth.
To explore what else FoundationOne can do for you, read more here.
Ben Park, Ph.D., is a software engineering and development leader with more than 30 years’ experience developing and deploying custom-built software solutions. As CTG’s Director of Software Development, he leads a team of software development professionals that build flexible solutions to meet the needs of enterprise clients across industries. Dr. Park is a proven, motivated, and enthusiastic leader that understands how to apply a strategic vision to practice, seeks and forms collaborative teams, and transforms groups into teams aligned to a common vision. Dr. Park is an award-winning technical leader with the knowledge to design large systems of systems as well as small, embedded devices. With a Ph.D. focus in globally distributed teams using agile software development, he has a clear understanding of what is needed to operate in multiple time zones, locations, and cultures.
Director, Cloud and Infrastructure, North America
As Director of CTG’s Cloud and Infrastructure Solutions for North America, Mr. Vinayak has executive responsibility for the ongoing development of CTG’s cloud computing offerings to deliver innovative services that help clients strategically address their business challenges. Tony is a software services delivery leader with a track record in profitability and customer satisfaction. He brings broad industry, domain, and technology expertise, and is a subject matter expert in cloud computing and DevOps automation.