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Using Google Translate I found the literal meaning of 開発者 to be "Developer" and 技術者 to be "Engineer", but in daily conversations within my company they seem to be interchangeable.

Example:

Person A: その人も開発者なの?
Person B: いちおう技術者だと思うよ。

Is there a difference or are they interchangeable? How exactly would you define them?

  • Could it be that in your company, all software developer positions are named some variant of "software engineer"? I don't know about Japan, but that is something I have seen in India. – muru Apr 3 '17 at 9:25
  • @muru can't say for sure (I don't exactly go around asking... lol). – Y12K Apr 3 '17 at 13:42
  • I would suggest thinking about the words 開発 and 技術 without the 「者」. The difference should stand out better. – Chris Apr 3 '17 at 22:55
  • @ChrisHarris I understand the literal difference. What I was wondering was the usage in Japanese. A word-for-word translation to English shows you what it means not how it's used in that language. – Y12K Apr 4 '17 at 1:18
  • @Yu12 Your question states "How exactly would you define them?" which seems to be asking something different. Perhaps this question should be edited to express your intent. – Chris Apr 4 '17 at 23:17
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開発者 refers to people who make new products (e.g., by programming). 技術者 refers to not only developers but also engineers who do not create new products. These include operating engineers, testing engineers, infrastructure engineers and so on. Therefore, 開発者 is a subset of 技術者.

That said, in many smaller companies, there may not be full-time testing engineers and so on. In that case, all 技術者 in a company can be also 開発者.

  • I see. So 技術者 would be a more general term and 開発者 is more narrowly defined? – Y12K Apr 3 '17 at 13:27
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    @Yu12 Isn't it usually same in English too? – broccoli forest Apr 3 '17 at 15:17
  • @broccoliforest No, engineer would not be used in a general term. In English it would probably be the opposite where developer is used more generally. A engineer would be someone that has a degree in a specific branch of engineering. – Y12K Apr 4 '17 at 1:14
  • @Yu12 To be exact, 技術者 is more about one's ability or qualification to do technical works, while 開発者 a job someone is doing. – broccoli forest Apr 4 '17 at 1:50

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