Ok, I "almost" lost a job offer because I "didn't have enough experience as an enterprise software engineer".

I've been a programmer for over 16 years, and the last 12-14 professionally, at companies big and small.

So this made me think of this question: What's the difference between a software engineer and an enterprise software engineer?

Is there really a difference between software architecture and enterprise architecture?

BTW: I try to do what every other GOOD software programmer does, like architecture, tdd, SDLC, etc.

  • 1
    I do web, windows, wpf, silverlight, frontend ui, backend, database, everything, not just one thing... Commented Feb 21, 2011 at 8:21

4 Answers 4


Rick. I think big companies inheritently don't like Jack's of All Trades. You say you do everything. In a small company, we want people who can do everything. Those people are more valuable because they can wear multiple hats.

In an enterprise environment, there is clear job separation. They don't want people who wear many hats. They want people who focus on one thing and one thing only and who excel at doing just that one thing.

I personally prefer the excitement of not knowing what hat I'll need to wear that day. That's my preference. Other people may prefer the structure and stability of knowing exactly what they're going to work on that day.

I believe that the company's main concern is that you may not stick around because the job is different than what you're used to. In these interviews, I believe it's important to find a way to demonstrate that you seek this type of job and understand the differences between work you've done before.

It may be best to focus only on the strengths that apply to the job description. Tailor your resume and your questions to fit the job. Make sure you are prepared to give answers that tell the interviewers what they want to hear. Most importantly, make sure you actually want to work in this environment and that what you're saying really reflects your desired career path.

  • Yeah, you got it right. I do very well at a few things, and try to learn more and more each day. But like most people who like to learn programming, and live to code, I don't want to be stuck writing web services or data access code over and over again, etc. Commented Feb 21, 2011 at 9:08
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    I used to work in an enterprise (10000+ employees) that were looking for specific employee skills set. When you jump in a track, you can't get out easily! You may end up doing the same kind of job for the rest of your employment. My solution: I've went to a small company (12 employees), I do almost everything from architecture to development, which is what I was looking for. The downside, I will have trouble to find a job in a huge enterprise, since I do not have a title... who cares... Commented Feb 21, 2011 at 16:02
  • @Rick - I think that if anyone wants something bad enough and they put their mind to it, they can do anything they want. The question you must answer for yourself is if the grass is really greener on the other side and if working in the enterprise is really what you want to do. Good luck! :)
    – jmort253
    Commented Feb 22, 2011 at 2:47

When you say "enterprise engineer" thats usually mean big software, lot of different services and networks. When you developing enterprise soft you should have in mind big picture, not only local service. Software engineer is more general, who can work with many types of projects including enterprise. IMHO enterprise engineer is subset of engineer class.


Enterprise software describes a collection of computer programs with common business applications, tools for modeling how the entire organization works, and development tools for building applications unique to the organization.[3] The software is intended to solve an enterprise-wide problem (rather than a departmental problem) and often written using an Enterprise Software Architecture.[4] Enterprise level software aims to improve the enterprise's productivity and efficiency by providing business logic support functionality.

Says Wikipedia.

In general, enterprise apps are usually business critical, thus need to have

  • reliability and high availability,
  • performance,
  • scalability.

Typically they are client-server systems involving a DB too. Nowadays they are mostly web-based, but still there are hoards of decades-old mainframe systems around which have no notion whatsoever of this thing called "world wide web".

Developing such apps requires certain experience and knowing related best practices. It may be that they didn't see in you that you have this knowledge and experience. While you may indeed have it, you also need to demonstrate it using the "expected" terms and expressions. If they don't hear the right buzzwords, they are not impressed.

It may also be (in your post no specific platform or language is mentioned) that they were after an expert of some specific enterprise platform like Java EE, and you didn't show the expected level of expertise on that.

  • Platform is .NET, but I don't think it's the tools, since I use them all. You're right, it's probably a matter of not having the right keywords in the resume, etc. Commented Feb 21, 2011 at 9:06

Ok, I "almost" lost a job offer because I "didn't have enough experience as an enterprise software engineer".

Sounds like they've pigeonholed you as a consumer software developer, who's unaware of the complexity of enterprise tools. In other words, your previous projects have been business-to-consumer (B2C) instead of business-to-business (B2B). B2B software is more configurable and extensible, because an enterprise is more complex than a consumer.

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