I'm trying to figure out the right terminology for the different types of software development

Right now, the only development term I know is "web development", but I've also done a lot of Java and C# development for desktop applications. Obviously this isn't web development, but I'd like to be able to group these under a single term that is widely known and accepted within the industry.

Would the term for applications on the desktop be "desktop development"?

  • Downvoter, I've edited the question. Perhaps leave a comment if the question still needs improvement? Apr 4, 2012 at 2:51
  • Have you considered "software development"? I know it is a bit generic, but I haven't seen "desktop development" on very many job postings or resumes.
    – katemats
    Apr 4, 2012 at 3:59
  • @KateRoth-Matsudaira Yeah, I thought about that. However, I didn't think 'web development' and 'software development' was a good balance, since 'software development' could encompass 'web development'? Basically, I need to show on my resume that I'm good at web development but also good at Java/C#/etc desktop development - and I need it to be two different categories. Apr 4, 2012 at 4:09
  • for the record: this question has been discussed at Programmers Meta
    – gnat
    Apr 6, 2012 at 9:06

3 Answers 3


I still see quite a few ads for Desktop Application Development. I think you might get more play if you specify the platform - Windows Application Development or OSX Application Development, for example, along with the languages (eg, C++) and libraries/frameworks (eg, Qt), so something like:

Developed applications for Windows using C++ in Qt 4.5


Desktop Application Development or Rich Client Development come to mind...


The classifications I've always known are

  • Web Development
  • Desktop Development
  • Mobile Development
  • Embedded Systems Development
  • Database Development (Stored Procs, etc.)
  • Client-Server Development (Not used as frequently as it once was)

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