Answering “So … what do you do?”

For most types of work, only two levels of description are ever needed. Accountants, for example, would describe themselves as accountants to laypeople, and “tax” or “GL” or “fixed assets” to other accountants.

For my line of work, however, I find it interesting that I need to give lots of different answers to different kinds of people:

  1. How do you explain “software developer” to someone who doesn’t even know what software is? Therefore, my dear grandmother thinks I’m selling computers …
  2. To normal laypeople, I just say I’m in IT.
  3. To people who are more IT savvy, I say that I’m in software.
  4. To people in software, I say that I develop web applications using .NET and C#.
  5. To people who are working in software development companies, I say that I’m doing both sustaining (defects) and product development.

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7 Comments

  1. i have the same difficulties too..oh well…what the hell..at least we’re earning legal paychecks…

  2. I’ve always had trouble explaining to my own father. I just explain.. “bahagian komputer-komputer nih”… hahaahaha..

  3. Different from my tech-savvy, cyber-granny grandma (Pretty Looking Router), I had to explain to her I’m working as a “Search Engineer specializes in Lucene and AVS Search Engine as the indexing API’s to be used by a C# web services for the Search Interface”.

  4. That made me laugh. I often have that same problem. It just happens that a general IT comment makes them think that you can program, sort out their hardware problems and get rid of all their other computer problems.

  5. Haha… try explaining “Release Engineer”. Nobody knows what it is. With banks I have to copy the job description part of my employment contract ;-)

  6. At kampung, people know me as a “tukang repair komputer”.

    hey…there’s a glamour word for sustaining…we should use “Reverse Engineer” terms instead :P

  7. it happens to me sometimes :)

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