The Power Players: The Key Job Roles in Software Companies


Meet and compare the main professionals in software development companies, starting from business analysts to data modelers.

A software outsourcing project is doomed to failure if team members do not understand the employee hierarchy of IT companies. Figuring out the basic job roles in software companies is a must. In this way, you understand the responsibilities of each employee, what to expect from them, and how to communicate with them. If you are a business owner planning to outsource your software development needs, this article is for you.

Before diving in, let’s mention that there are numerous employee roles at IT companies, so it could be overwhelming to speak about every single role. Each software company builds its team based on its buyer personas and its common IT service requirements.

In this article, we will speak about the key team members in software development companies who ensure a smooth software development lifecycle (SDLC) and successful product delivery. We will also describe these professionals’ main responsibilities and operating processes through examples.

Example of a Software Outsourcing Partnership Between a Client and a Software Development Firm

A typical software outsourcing cooperation starts with a discussion between the IT company and its client.

For example, our buyer persona (the client) may own a restaurant near a huge business center. The restaurant is a profitable business because the main client flow comes from the nearby business center. However, following the popularity of remote working, the restaurant owner notices a significant reduction in visitor numbers. To stay competitive, the owner decides to build an e-commerce platform for his restaurant as well as a website and a mobile application.

However, the client is not an IT professional. He is also not interested in diving deep into software development. He simply wants guidance for carrying out a beneficial software outsourcing partnership and receiving a great end product. Therefore, the first thing he should do is find a qualified software vendor that will guide him through the SDLC and help him to explore the employee hierarchy at IT companies and their functions.

The Key Job Roles in Software Companies

Here is a list of the main professionals at IT companies that the restaurant owner will communicate with during the client-software vendor cooperation process.

Business Development Manager

There are numerous methods for contacting a software vendor candidate. Let’s assume the client finds several software outsourcing companies via reputable tech directories. They visit the websites of software outsourcing candidates, check their solutions, and choose their perfect match. Now is the time to leave a short message via the “contact us” page on a website.

Typically, business development managers or executives of software development companies respond to messages within one working day. Their response depends on your requirements. These specialists build and maintain client relationships. At the beginning of a project, they initiate one or several calls with the client to evaluate the client’s software development needs and assess their resources.

If the client has a clear view of their software development project, their main technical requirements, or an in-depth, ready-made SOW (scope of work) document, the business development specialist prepares and offers a profitable deal for the two parties right away.

Main responsibilities of business development specialists

  • Recognize and acquire potential “good fit” partners
  • Explore potential clients’ technical needs
  • Offer the best software solution
  • Maintain smooth relationships between the SDLC

Business Analyst

Business analysts (BAs) enter the game when the client has new ideas and needs business help along with software development and implementation. Business development specialists hand client requests over to BAs when clients need assessments of their business performance and assistance in improving their processes and systems. BAs in IT companies conduct research and analysis to come up with the most profitable software solution for a client’s business problems. They later introduce a solution to a client, with the technical team acting as a bridge between the business leaders and the IT department.

Responsibilities of BAs

  • Gather, validate, and document business requirements
  • Analyze and evaluate the current business processes of a company
  • Identify areas for improvement
  • Review top-notch business processes and offer the latest IT advancements to ensure the client’s services are up-to-date and modern
  • Organize meetings and discussions with stakeholders
  • Monitor project performance
  • Collaborate with users and stakeholders
  • Work closely with the senior software development management team, partners, clients, and tech department

Business Development Managers vs. Business Analysts

Business development managers focus on closing profitable deals by bringing new clients to their company. They are also responsible for maintaining smooth communication with these clients.

The role of BAs is much broader. They act as a bridge between the technical team and stakeholders. BAs evaluate and improve various business processes.

Product Managers

Product managers identify a customer’s product needs. They define the main business objectives of a product and its features. Their responsibilities differ based on the size of the company that the product manager works for. In big companies, researchers, marketers, and analysts work closely with product managers to gather input, while in smaller companies, product managers concentrate on defining the vision of a product.

Responsibilities of Product Managers

  • Gather and represent user needs
  • Prioritize product features
  • Analyze the market regarding a product and its features
  • Define the vision and mission of a product
  • Align both the technical team and the stakeholders around the product vision
  • Own the vision, marketing, and ROI of a product

Product Owner

Product owners draw up an ideal success plan for their products, and they rally their team to follow certain steps to make their plans for success a reality. Product owners define user stories and create a product backlog. Product owners are the primary contact between the product users and the technical team. They gather and represent the users’ concerns and requirements to the tech team. Product owners work within the Agile software development methodology.

Responsibilities of Product Owners

  • Create and manage a product backlog
  • Design the product manager’s strategies into user stories or tasks for the development team to work on
  • Arrange and prioritize sprints
  • Assess progress and problems at each stage of the software development process
  • Act as a bridge between a product and development
  • Give answers to a software development team’s questions

Product Managers vs. Product Owners

Product managers have broader responsibilities toward the success of a product on the market, while product owners are responsible for the successful development and implementation of a product.

Project Manager

Project managers (PMs) work on the planning, organizational, and management aspects of a project. PMs ensure that a project is delivered within its time frame, expected budget, and scope. PMs work on projects following both the Agile and Waterfall software development engagement models and operate according to the main principles of each methodology.

If a small software development team follows the Scrum software development methodology, a scrum master may take on the role of a PM. However, the role of a PM is much broader. PMs oversee a project as a whole, including its risks, budget, and logistics. Scrum masters ensure their software team follows the 5 main principles.

Responsibilities of PMs

  • Manage the production of required deliverables
  • Plan, monitor, execute, control, and close a project within the expected time frame, quality, and budget

Delivery Manager

A delivery manager (DM) is responsible for the productive and smooth functioning of a team. Apart from maintaining efficient communication within the team, DMs are also accountable for establishing and managing efficient communication with other teams.

Responsibilities of DMs

  • Establish and maintain a good relationship between team members
  • Motivate team members to collaborate and work efficiently
  • Identify pitfalls and help a team overcome challenges
  • Help team members to communicate smoothly both within their own team and with other team members

Project Manager vs. Delivery Manager

DMs are more concerned with client feedback. DMs work closely with a client and product users to ensure that the relevant software follows the requirements of the client and product users. PMs concentrate more on the software development team. PMs have more of an internal role, interacting with team members to build a high-quality product. DMs usually report to PMs.

The Core Software Development Department

Chief Technology Officer 

The chief technology officer (CTO), is an executive-level position within a software development company or entity. The CTO manages the company’s technological plans, oversees data security and management, and controls the company’s network. CTOs also analyze various types of tech stacks and envision how they can be used within the team. CTOs explore various opportunities to improve their software outsourcing firm’s technical assets. CTOs also control the employee hierarchy of an IT company.

Software Development Manager

A software development manager is responsible for leading a tech team. They ensure that their team successfully designs, troubleshoots, and optimizes software programs. Software development managers are responsible for the growth of their team members. They also solve issues and analyze trends.

Front-End, Back-End, and Full-Stack Software Developers

Front-end developers use specific tech stacks (for example, JavaScript front-end development frameworks, React.js, Vue.js) to create and implement the visual elements of web applications. They create the front end of the product, which the users see and interact with. Front-end developers work closely with back-end developers to create and update various websites, applications, or specific functions.

Back-end developers, in turn, are responsible for the appropriate and correct functionality of product features. Their work is “behind the curtains.” The most popular back-end software development languages and frameworks in 2023 will be PHP, Laravel, JavaScript, and Node.js.

Full-stack software developers work both on the back-end and front-end development of a product.

Network Engineer

Network engineers ensure a network’s security by installing, configuring, and supporting firewalls. They implement network solutions, troubleshoot issues, and maintain the network’s infrastructure.

Senior System Engineer

System system engineers manage and monitor installed IT systems. They lead teams of engineers to install, configure, test, support, and maintain computer systems and system management tools.

Mobile Developer

Mobile developers build mobile applications. Mobile developers can be either hybrid or native mobile app developers. Hybrid mobile app developers build cross-platform mobile applications that work on both the iOS and Android operating systems. Native mobile app developers build mobile applications for each operating system. Testing, debugging, and updating applications are also among the main responsibilities of mobile app developers.

UI and UX Designers

UI designers create the visual elements that users interact with, such as buttons, icons, and toggles, along with their interactive properties. UI designers focus on a user’s visual experience. UX designers work on the product’s entire interaction with users, creating an intuitive, aesthetically pleasing, and coherent design interface. They identify and solve user problems. A UX designer usually performs UI-related work, while a UI designer often conducts UX-related work.

Computer Network Architect

Computer network architects create plans and layouts for data communication networks. Such networks include local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and intranets. Data communication networks transmit digital data from one computer to another using various wired and wireless channels.

Software Architect

Software architects are software engineers with extensive responsibilities and knowledge. These professionals design a system’s structure and behavior. They also frame technical standards. Software architects define which platforms, tools, and coding standards to use.

Data Scientist

Data scientists analyze and synthesize data into clear reports to solve issues. They determine the best data sets and variables and collect structured and unstructured data. Organizing data into understandable formats, building predictive models and machine learning algorithms, and identifying missing and relevant data sources are among the top responsibilities of a data scientist.

Data Modelers and Database Administrators

Data modelers design and create databases according to specific business needs. Data modelers also explore and suggest cutting-edge data solutions and make recommendations for data usage. Database administrators manage and maintain software databases, including client information, statistical data, user credentials, and accounts.

DevOps Engineer

The core responsibilities of DevOps engineers include automating and improving development and release processes and testing, as well as examining and analyzing the code written by software engineers and developers. DevOps developers also build and set up new development tools.

Summing Up

To sum up, if you are just starting your first software outsourcing project, knowing the main employees at software outsourcing companies will give you additional confidence. You will understand which professionals you need for your specific software development project and what to expect from the ones you work with. In this article, we described the team structure at IT companies and the main professionals whom you will meet during the SDLC.

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  • you need one of the above-mentioned or related professionals
  • you need a professional’s advice about your software development project
  • you need to discuss which employees you need for your software project.

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