Consultant vs. Developer In eCommerce: Definition, Duties, Differences

“What is the difference between a consultant vs developer?” 

This question has been raised frequently, especially for IT beginners who are still deciding on career pathways. 

Even though you can easily find a good explanation, our guide provides a practical perspective from ITPA’s software experts. This will help you have a realistic look at software consultant vs software engineer, helping you make more accurate decisions. So, let’s get started!

What Is A Software Consultant?

A software consultant provides expert advice on using, implementing, and optimizing software systems. They offer their expertise to businesses leveraging software solutions to improve their operations. 

The general duties of a software consultant include:

  • Analyzing a client’s business processes and identifying areas where software solutions could enhance efficiency or effectiveness.
  • Recommending suitable software systems based on the client’s needs and budget.
  • Assisting with implementing new software, including managing the project, coordinating with other IT professionals, and troubleshooting any issues.
  • Training the client’s employees on how to use the new software effectively.
  • Providing ongoing support and updates as needed, ensuring the software meets the client’s needs as their business evolves.
  • Staying up-to-date with the latest software technologies and trends to provide clients with the most current and effective advice.

In reality, consultants are trained for a specific field, with all the necessary skills to be certified consultants. Their particular focus is providing software solutions and convincing clients to use them as a company system. 

Besides fundamental knowledge about their expertise and the field they are working in, they must have a firm technical background to offer tailored solutions to clients’ problems. Moreover, they must also prepare themselves with soft and documentation skills. To your surprise, in some cases, consultants have to participate in coding if requested by clients. 

In short, consultants can be responsible for diverse duties, including those not specified in their scope of work and skills. Since the ultimate goal of this profession is to satisfy clients from a particular perspective, they are also under more pressure. 

What Is A Software Developer?

A software developer is a professional who designs, creates, and maintains software systems. They use programming languages and development tools to build software that meets specific needs or performs certain tasks. 

Key responsibilities of a software developer include:

  • Designing, writing, and debugging code for various software applications.
  • Collaborating with other developers, system engineers, and software testers to ensure smooth software integration, testing, and deployment.
  • Documenting every aspect of an application or system as a reference for future maintenance and upgrades.
  • Continually updating their skills and knowledge of the latest programming languages, tools, and best practices in software development.
  • Interacting with clients or internal stakeholders to understand their software requirements and translate them into technical specifications.
  • Fixing bugs and improving the functionality of existing software.
  • Ensuring the software they develop aligns with user experience and data security standards.

Simply put, developers create company-oriented software products and rarely have contact with customers. They usually work with teammates like managers, product owners, testers, and developers.  

These people develop bold, unique ideas to invent competitive products that stand out. Unlike consultants, developers may only require a few documentation skills, such as tickets, stories, tasks, blogs, articles, documents, etc.

Consultant vs. Developer In eCommerce: How To Differentiate?

Heading to the main part, how can you differentiate consultant vs developer? The answer is quite simple. Let’s look at this practical example:

You are sitting in the car with professional drivers. You feel like wanting to buy a similar car because you like its outlook and the way it runs on the road. Who would you ask first to understand more about the cars? The driver.

In this case, the driver will introduce you to the overall information about the car. Imagine what he would most likely talk about first: The brand, its type (bus, sedan, SUV), fuel consumption, engine types (petrol, diesel, electric), how the car runs on long roads, car operation, and system. 

Standing on your perspective, if you realize that the driver is professional enough with expertise proven through the way he talks about the car using technical language, you are heading one step closer to your buying decision, right?

On the other hand, do you think he will ever talk about who created the window, or who developed the remote system of the car? No, and maybe you are not interested in hearing either. 

Well, so the answers are now quite precise. The driver, the one who convinces you to buy the cars, is the consultant. And the one who builds the cars, one whom you don’t have any contact with, is the developer. 

However, this doesn’t mean developers will only work within software development companies. On the contrary, consultants will only work for software consulting companies. 

A consulting company that provides services must develop its products to utilize its work resources while proceeding to the next step with customers (on the bench). Hence, they must hire a developer team to do the work.

Besides, a software development company already has the products but can’t position itself in the market to generate lead, a consultant must be involved to promote the company’s image and revenue.

Wrap Up

Being able to understand consultant vs developer is not too complicated as each has specific responsibilities and roles. So, IT beginners, defining which one best suits you involves many other considerations besides a simple job description, such as the country market you are targeting, salary, hobbies, etc. However, having a practical overview of the two careers is the basis for further decision-making. So, be prepared and keep moving, we are sure you find the right way! 

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Software engineering

9 March 2024

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