What's your job title and why is that your title?

Ben Halpern on April 17, 2018

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Obligatory legalize disclaimer: These words are mine and not Amazon's.

Software Development Engineer II

I'm not exactly sure why it's not just "Software Engineer" but at a company as large as Amazon, there are other roles that would have a lot of "Software" and "Engineer"; so "Software Development Engineer" (aka SDE) is what most would just call a "software engineer". We usually just shorthand it to "dev".

The "II" indicates a bit more of a "senior" status (though "Senior" is reserved for a much higher level).

Differences between a SDE I and SDE II roles are many, but at a high level it means dealing with more ambiguity and responsibility. An SDE I focuses on tasks and projects; an SDE II focuses on that and long-term sustainability, interacting with other teams, project design, etc. I'm to be a team leader and set the example. It's expected that I can resolve any tech ops issues and answer any senior staff's questions.

None of this is to say that an SDE I doesn't do any of that too. It's just what's the default expectation.

I was promoted to II after 2 years at Amazon, which is pretty typical. I'm shooting for III in 3 years from now or so; again, pretty typical.

All that said, there's no "level" posturing in day to day stuff. Saying "Not my job" is verboten.


Officially, "Lead Developer" because my boss gave it to me.

Usually, if anyone asks me, I say either "developer" or "web developer." Any distinction beyond that (e.g. junior, senior, etc.) is highly subjective, so I tend to avoid them.

I've never really cared for titles though. :)


I'm an "Associate Software Engineer". As far as I know, it's totally arbitrary. I had to check our directory to confirm it. 🙃 To me it means junior-ish developer, and I believe that's what the intention is, too.

It sounds great to me, but I also don't really have a stake in my title. We're also a small team and I'm sure amongst us, it doesn't really matter. I'm guessing titles matter in bigger companies that have a larger organization structure.


I'm a programmer, and I'm proud of that title. It bests describes what I do.

For resume purposes I get seniority pleasing titles attached to many of my positions. Things like Lead, Senior, and even Director seem to be appealing.


Data Scientist

Why is this my job title?

Well 'Mathemagician' is basically what people think I am. While Statistician is too difficult for most people to tolerate (oh no! mathematics!) as a job title and doesn't cover the massive amount of software development I do.

'Data Scientist' is basically a generic standin for any individual that possesses a combination of statistics and software development skills. The diversity of applicants range from people with simple R/Python skills to those who can build a complex analytical pipelines. Both of these groups are valuable.

I was the first data scientist at a multinational corporation a few years ago. This was a company that should have had a whole unit staffed with 'Data Scientists' but didn't. As a result, I wrote the competence profile and hiring guidelines for all the future me-s in the enterprise to make sure we aim more for the complex analytical and development competences. I coupled this with training programs to bring more analysts with the prerequisite statistical knowledge into the software development side of the work.

Downsides of the title is there is no real discrimination based on competence, and really no advancement potential unless you're willing to go into management.


Sounds more like "Data Engineer" than "Data Scientist", no? I'm still trying to get around the terminology of analyst, scientist, engineer, etc.


I'm more scientist than engineer as my background is statistics not computer engineering. Data Engineers tend to be more focused on pipelines and data structures than uncertainty and estimation. Yes, I've had to do both, but that is because the field was largely seeking unicorns the last decade, so I learned.

Now that you can get funding to hire more people, the specialization is kicking in and the tasks are diverging. That said, I still prefer Data Scientists who understand data structures and pipelines otherwise they need assistance in most steps.


I would like to call myself an Android Engineer, but I am currently undergoing training, as I am self-taught.And it is my title because I decided to jump over to mobile development. I was previously a C# Software Developer.
I am really trying to stay away from the terms "junior, intermediate, and senior". I feel like they have a bad effect on self-esteem.


Front-end engineer. This is the title in my contract, so this is what I display on LinkedIn. I don't like the engineer part because although I have a CS degree, I do not have an engineering degree. I'm literally not an engineer. So usually I just tell people I'm just a dev or web developer.

Having said that, that's my title because I work on the front-end of our product (React/Redux, TypeScript, HTML/CSS), but we also do node on the back end for some things (small rest APIs). I'm also starting to become familiar with Docker/K8s. Maybe I shoud become a "digital developer" like Geoff.

“Digital Developer” because I fought to get a promotion and leave my old title of “Jr. Digital Developer” ;)

At the agency I work at, devs go by "Digital" developer versus "Frontend"/"Web"/"Backend" mostly because most of us work across the stack, and even into traditional DevOps and/or Database admin territory.


Oh, I've got something no one else mentioned here before. :) I'm Principal Software Engineer. I guess because nowadays everyone is Senior Software Engineer, even fresh after university, and there should be some way to distinguish those, who are "really senior". :)


Director of Technology, because "Director" is the title you get at my org when you manage a department and "Technology" because well... Technology.

I like to refer to myself as the Director of Tech-sploration! But I haven't been able to convince them to put that on my card yet.


Reading this thread made me think I should just start calling myself "rhymes, the fixer". Need a web app? A trip to Hawaii? Call rhymes at 1-800-F-I-X-E-R :D


Until last week it was data architect: I was responsible for envisioning how applications would store and use information, designing schemas and pipelines, and implementing data access layers. It was only one of the hats I actually wore (I did regular application development, managed builds and deployments, and ran process on the side), but it was the one I was most interested in.

Now I'm a site reliability engineer, which appears to be the hot new thing as people come to grips with development and operations having more to do with each other than not. The company is focused on data so I'm still going to get to do that, but with more of a focus on scale and infrastructure.

Overall, titles don't matter unless they reflect specialization.


“Digital Developer” because I fought to get a promotion and leave my old title of “Jr. Digital Developer” ;)

At the agency I work at, devs go by "Digital" developer versus "Frontend"/"Web"/"Backend" mostly because most of us work across the stack, and even into traditional DevOps and/or Database admin territory.


I'm really put off by he use of "digital" in titles. Everything we do with computers is digital at some point, so I'd rather take the word back and use it exclusively for people who make things with their fingers.


I don't mind it. But when you think about it, we still do make things with our fingers ;)


Because dev jobs around here are as scarce as unicorns! Also because remote teams won't trust juniors to be able to control themselves and deliver as if they were in place, for some reason.
Don't get me started on relocating.
I'm freelancing, right now. So, I guess "Mercenary Developer" suits me better.


Director of Emerging Technology

A emerging technology team was formed and I was placed at its head under the CIO because I'm good at solving problems, tackling new things, prototyping and creating proof of concepts quickly. I am thoroughly excited by challenging unknowns and leading other developers down the same path.

My favorite job title of all time? Geek in Charge. How dope was that? :)


Title: Last I checked our org-chart, it was some permutation "Senior Cloud Engineer" or some such. But what it is at any given instant in time depends on what customer I'm working for and what I'm doing for them on a given project. The joys of being a consultant.

Why: Cynical, but, "I'm a systems and automation generalist and my company needs to be able to put some kind of label on my skills-set so they can more-easily sell my services to customers?"

Mostly I'm that "break glass in case of fire" guy: throw me at a critical issue — be it a down system, an urgent project or something no one else seems have been able to figure out — and I'll usually be able to come up with a fix or solution in very short order.

When referring to myself, I usually just say "janitor" (or, as I have on my Slack profile, "Chaos Custodian").



I'm CTO because I was hired to turn a service-based company into a tech company. I make every decision when it comes to development but also security and tool usage. I don't normally care about titles in a company with less than 50 employees but currently it allows me the freedom to define what "CTO" actually means and that's pretty rad.


The technical title on my team is “Lead .Net Developer”. However, I don’t do any .net, I’m a lead developer for the front end development side. I have two developers that I “supervise” so the title is sort of applicable.

Companies pay differently based on a title. When I started supervising people and making big picture decisions I asked for a raise. My company said the only way to make the raise happen was to make me that specific title. Most people don’t care about the title - just getting compensated for the role you play. Every company does it slightly differently.


👨‍💻Senior Software Engineer: current place is mostly .NET developers, I'm working in Angular, seems appropriate
😎Product Developer: this just sounds cool
👨‍🔧UI Engineer: part of the evolution of becoming a "tech"-ish company came "tech"-ish titles
💻 Web Developer: practical day to day work


My LinkedIn profile says "Test Automation Tools Developer"
We started off with a core framework but now we have execution, reporting, scheduling and test data management tools.
It does what it says on the tin but I'm thinking of changing it as it's too prescriptive.
We're really creators, developers reminds me of property developers and software is more about creation then construction.


"Technical Architect"

Technical: because I am, although I find myself doing some enterprise architecture (people engineering) occasionally. No specialism like 'Software' or 'Solution' or others, as I was the only one back in 2013, and I have a wide remit.

Architect: because someone has to be daft enough to actually want to read 300+ other people's code, while trying to see the big picture and guide our technical direction through evangelism, example & compromises :)

I specifically ask people not to think of me as 'senior', I have a role that hopefully helps us all get stuff done, and which plays to my strengths, they have complimentary roles that are likely getting way more done in focussed areas.


These days, Developer Evangelist.

I've had many titles over the years at different jobs, though: Software Developer, Senior Software Developer, Software Architect, Technical Architect, Software Engineer and others I may be forgetting.

Job titles don't always matter. At small companies, no one really cares. At larger companies, in my experience titles are used to indicate rough levels or seniority and thus salary more than they indicate what you actually do.


Officially "Technical Manager", chosen by my boss, since I act as a touch point between the CEO and the dev team. Whenever I'm with the dev team, I act as a tech lead.

In the past I had "developer", "tech lead", "software architect", "tech consultant" as titles, but I don't care too much... I think that day-to-day tasks and decisions are what define your position.


Content Co-ordinator (Secondment). I'm currently doing a role I don't get paid to do because the company doesn't believe in it's "worth" yet. My boss is the Content Manager. He manages the content, I co-ordinate it I guess?

I maintain our internal website and build Oracle Application Express 5 apps for our call centre to increase productivity and reduce cost.

If someone asks I normally say (Application) Developer.


"Web Developer," because I don't have a degree.


For that reason, I was once a "Digital Application Specialist." It was something I just made up, because it had to include the word "digital" (since our dept. handled digital marketing) but couldn't have the word "developer," because we weren't in IT. Developers were also exempt (salaried), and I was not.


Do you think the lack of a degree would make it harder to move up in the company, if you wanted to?

Feel free to not answer if your company is watching. 👀


I don't think it should. Maybe there's some arbitrary rule or for sure there's conventional biases and years of interviewing to immediately rule out non-degree holders, but hey, you're already in the company! Go for it! From experience, degree has zero sway once you're in the door, it's more about your contribution, how well you know the company and its path (you can't move up if you're not aware of what they're looking for), and sometimes you have to ask!


System Architect. Why not Software Architect? I don't know. We're not really that much involved with hardware, we just used standard server hardware. We're a small company and at some point they decided to do something with job titles and gave me the System Architect title, while I think Software Architect would have been more suitable for the actual work I do.


My card says "Software Engineer". Internally most of my collegues see us as "just" developers. But in my opinion the title fits to what we do besides developing during the day - which is much more than developing!

Short excurse:
We are developing an ERP system and we constantly need to find solutions for not so trivial feature requests of customers. Therefore we have consultants who work out the possible solution with the customer and we "Software Engineers" have to implement it later.

Back to the title:
We need to understand the requirement of the customer. Then we also need to understand the suggested solution our consultant worked out and why it should be this way (mostly in cooperation with a dev).
We help finding those solutions and help writing the specs. Additionally we sometimes need to explain them their own requirements because people tend to forget whats not written down into the concept...

And "engineering" fits also to the social aspect:
We need to figure out how to talk with the consultant in a way that we both come to an acceptable point in discussions, we then also need to find a way to explain technical limitations or better solutions as the suggested ones to the customers.

I personally explain it as developer most of the time to friends, but I think "Software Engineer" is a good term to describe that we are doing way more :-)


Officially, I am a Ph.D student. However, I identify myself as "Performance Engineer" or "Software Performance Engineer". I have never been able to grow liking to "developer" keyword since I believe the focus is to find solutions through technology stacks via programming and architecting using engineering approach as much as possible. That's why I always like how the big video game companies put ther job title as "X programmer". And personally, I am more interested in non-functional requirements of a program such as latency, thoughput and scaling, etc.... Classic example is to how can we have a faster GEMM implementation on this MPSoC platforms...


Teacher/Lecturer/Professor depending on whom you ask.

I guess it's because I spend a lot of time around lecture halls, and have a knack for droning on without pause for hours on end about stuff I find enthusiastically interesting.


Officially the title is "Lead Software Developer."

Pretty much it means I can lead different projects, have a say in the project direction (the client gets the final say of course though), and involved in some of the initial kickoff meetings with a client. I and a couple other leads will also be the ones to go around to different projects to help implement some of the more difficult features in a project if it is needed. We also are the ones who do the code review for merges.

I started as an Intern with the title "Web Application Developer." I moved up to Associate Software Developer, which pretty much meant I was exempt (Salary), and then less than a year later I was moved up to this role.


"Expert Software Engineer". It's basically the same as a senior software engineer, but "senior" is quite overused and you get all kinds of people calling themselves senior. So my employer figured that as a contractor, we should be called "expert SEs" because the work we deliver is not comparable to that of the average garden variety "senior developer". Similarly, we have "Professional SEs" and "Advanced SEs" instead of "junior SEs" and "SEs".


Software Test Engineer

It's software QA, but analyst implies manual testing only, while engineer implies coding automation suites. I was just software engineer for a while, but we got our own thing after a bit of that. Same salary bands and promotion paths despite the technical knowledge required being vastly different.


On paper (my employment docs), I'm referred to as a Senior Web Applications Developer.

Personally, I call myself Web Developer.

Web Developer because, I'm to some extent comfortable with each part of the entire web stack needed to get a website up and running.

So from Front-end and Backend to ...wait for it... Dev Ops and everything in between.

What can you call me?

Just Rexford would do!


Creative Technologist because they wouldn't let me have "Guy who fucks around with lasers and Arduinos."


Chief Technology Officer (CTO), because I own the company and started it from scratch


officially "Senior Software Engineer", I usually just say "Software Engineer", for my grandma "I fix computers"


I'm Head of Technology, because my CEO wanted to go to meetings and say he had a Head of Technology...


"Technical Director" or "Product Director", depending on context and which business card is in my pocket, if any.

We are not big on job titles as A Thing.


mobile consultant

Pays more than JavaScript/front-end developer.

Also, people don't start discussions about tech. They just want a mobile app and I decide how to implement it.


I´m "PHP Developer" ... I don´t even have php running on my machine. I´m doing mostly CSS and Angular (in that order).


I'm a Software Engineer, I gave myself that title because I am the boss... and I do engineer software.


Because... Well... Do I need to explain? :kappa:

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