Different roles in a typical web engineering teams

August 22, 2016

When building an engineering team for companies, I often get asked: “what kind of engineers do I need to hire?” or “what is the purpose of having a … engineer?” Let me explain the different roles in a typical engineering team and how they work together.

Product manager

Create product roadmap – develop the list of products vision and features. Gather requirements, define solutions, repeat.

Example: “seems like the customers are requesting a search function on the app, let’s add a search function”

UX Designer

Plan out how the user of the product will experience the product.

Example: “let’s put a search bar on the front page, and when the user clicks on it a popup with a list of search term suggestions”

UI Designer

Designs the look of the product. Picks the colors, etc.

Example from the Google app for Android:

Just the design/visual, a non-functioning “mockup”.

Frontend Engineer

Programs (codes) the portion of the product that will reside inside the client’s/customers’ device. I.e. take the design from the UI Designer and make it functional.


  • Mobile: iOS or Android app
  • Website
  • Desktop: PC or Mac app

Backend Engineer

Programs (codes) the portion of the product that will reside inside the company’s servers.


  • Java
  • Ruby
  • Python
  • Node.JS
  • PHP

Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer

Make sure the work produced the Frontend Engineers and the Backend Engineers are free from bugs from defects (to the best they can). This is done by putting the product through various test scenarios and conditions.

QA Automation Engineer

Create a system that will test the product on its own, without human interaction.

DevOps Engineer

Takes the work produced by the Backend Engineers and create consistent, automated pipeline to build/compile, test, then deploy (to the server, to the app store, to the website, etc.).

System Administrator

Manage the servers’…

  • Security settings
  • Bug patches
  • Software versions
  • and more…

Site Reliability Engineer (SRE)

Make sure the company has enough servers to handle the projected number of customers/visitors/users. That way, the servers won’t crash.

Do you need help with hiring the right engineer for your team? Let’s talk.

Ryan Harijanto

Head of Engineering. Former Sr. Engineer @Netflix , @HotelTonight , @Shutterstock. Previously a Senior Systems Engineer at Netflix, currently technology advisor and board member for emerging companies. Diverse technological knowledge and understanding of various industries.

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