I’m interested in learning the job title for a person who has HR responsibility for a group of developers (software-development manager in English).

I’ve been looking at a few sites, and I’m trying to understand the differences between Entwicklungsleiter, Entwicklungsmanager, and Entwicklungschef. Are these three terms interchangeable, or are there subtle differences between them?

For example, it seems that Entwicklungsleiter is often translated as director, a head of a department. In English, a director often has a group of managers reporting to him or her, so that might not be the best term.

  • 1
    Job titles seem to vary widely between companies. They are cheap, so some companies may call her "HR specialist" if the secretary also hands out pay checks. I've worked for a company where everybody was "senior", "principal", "head" or whatnot. We even had a "deputy quality manager". Some folks call themselves the CEO if they run a one-man company and are basically just entrepreneurs.
    – Robert
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 16:37
  • Of course, I'm aware there are degenerate cases.
    – neontapir
    Commented Mar 6, 2015 at 17:09
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    It will be difficult to find a definitive answer here. Quite often, companies do not have a separate title for the head of a developement department, but name all their department heads 'Abteilungsleiter', independent of the function of the department they manage. All the options you mentioned may be appropriate, but it depends a lot on the company. Are you trying to translate a job description/title for a specific position or do you need a term for addressing persons in such positions in general (e.g. in marketing material of some kind)?
    – Hulk
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 4:52
  • I speak some German. I'm working for a company with a presence in Germany and would like to know how to describe my position.
    – neontapir
    Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 16:38

1 Answer 1


I don't have a definitive answer but I am a software developer in Germany so here comes my experience:

I have heard Entwicklungsleiter and Entwicklungsmanager but not Entwicklungschef.

Softeareentwicklungsleiter seems too long even for Germans but I've seen Leiter Softwareentwicklung or Abteilungsleiter Softwareentwicklung used in several companies. The Leiter Softwareentwicklung usually managed multiple teams and had the HR responsibilities of hiring/firing, disciplinary measures, salary negotiations and performance reviews.

The day-to-day management of assigning tasks, tracking progress, motivating the team and making decisions the developers can't or don't want to make alone, is usually done by someone called Projektleiter, technischer Projektleiter, Software Projektleiter, or Teamleiter Softwareentwicklung (sometimes + topic the team works on).

What do you need the title for? If it's a CV, just put whatever you like and explain in a sentence or two what exactly you did at that job.

  • Thank you for explaining some of the nuances between those works.
    – neontapir
    Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 16:39

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