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If I have a "BS in Software Development", would it be okay to change the name to "BS in Software Engineering" on my resume?

Could it negatively impact background checks or education verification if it is not 100% identical?

Although both terms almost mean the same thing and are often used interchangeably, "software engineering" sounds a bit more rigorous, and I prefer it more. The jobs I will be applying to will also have the "Software Engineer" job title.

  • consider achieving your intent through a more secure path: enroll yourself in some post-grad specialization that gives you the title you are looking for. This way, not only you will have what you want but also a higher degree. It may take one or two years, but it is nonetheless a more secure option. I had a similar problem myself and that was how I solved it. – Quaestor Lucem Apr 9 '19 at 10:26
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    Some areas it is illegal to call yourself an engineer when you are not. DO NOT DO THIS! – Nelson Apr 9 '19 at 11:15
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    I understand why you would want to inflate in your head the name of your degree. Near me there was 2 universities with BSc Computer Science and BSc Computing Science. I would much rather have Computer Science on my resume; but at the end of the day, list your modules as any hiring manager or Software Engineer will know the degrees are identical apart from the name. – Dean Meehan Apr 9 '19 at 13:16
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    the two things are very different, so, no – Fattie Apr 9 '19 at 13:35
  • Why do you want to do this? – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Apr 15 '19 at 23:29
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If your diploma is in the same language as your resume is, then whatever it calls the degree is what you put on your resume. If you were translating (because you're applying in a market where employers don't understand the language of your diploma) there would be some wiggle room, but not otherwise.

I don't think many employers would care one whit whether the school you went to happens to call their program one or the other. But if you call the degree something it isn't because you think that makes you sound better qualified than the truth would, then for that reason alone what you're doing is an attempt to deceive. And employers certainly do care about whether your application is deceptive.

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    Alterations can also screw you over if they contact the university and ask if you have a specific degree, especially if they have a different degree with the altered name. The only time I think it would be acceptable is if the university itself had changed the name. My games programming degree was originally a bachelor of design, but was changed in later years to IT when the uni realised what a mistake the former was - in this case, I feel comfortable putting Bachelor of Design (now I.T.): Games Programming on my CV. – Xono Apr 9 '19 at 1:15
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    There is a huge difference between an degree in software development and software engineering... – Donald Apr 9 '19 at 3:11
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As the term can't be used interchangeably it can only impact you negatively. I would not recommend you to do that.

In France, the Engineering diploma can only be delivered by accredited institutions. Words have meanings, and a simple alteration may be greater than what you think.

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    @CaptainEmacs Given what the rest of the answer says, I think your aside is correct and it was just a typo. – BSMP Apr 9 '19 at 7:15
  • @CaptainEmacs Just to nitpick a bit, as Bougret pointed out, in some countries, Engineer is a title, delivered by accredited institutions. It means you went through competitive exams to get in the school and it's generally considered harder (though not "closer to the metal"), giving it a "higher value" than same level university degree (speaking as a French Engineer here). Furthermore, it's (as pointed earlier) a title (as much as Doctor), so 1) engineers might take it poorly and 2) it's illegal, and can get you in trouble. (Once again, depends on the country OP is in) – Nyakouai Apr 9 '19 at 9:04
  • @BSMP Yeah, I got that one. I think the response was fixed. My comment can probably go. Yes, I also realise that Engineer is a special title in France. – Captain Emacs Apr 9 '19 at 11:22
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    guys, no need for so much discussion about a typo. when you see a typo just (a) click to fix it or (b) the only comment one need make is "is that a typo?" or "looks like a typo". heh! – Fattie Apr 9 '19 at 13:36
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You should definitely use the exact name of the degree. That ensures that nobody can feel misled, and reduces the risk of verification problems.

If your particular "BS in Software Development" was more rigorous than normal, and you are early enough in your career for degree details to matter, you could supplement by listing some of the subjects you studied, and projects you completed.

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  • Should be "That ensures that nobody is misled". But reading the question, misleading is the actual purpose of that change. – gnasher729 Apr 13 '19 at 23:28
  • @gnasher729 Whether one wants to avoid misleading people is a matter of personal standards. The consequences of an employer feeling misled are bad regardless. – Patricia Shanahan Apr 17 '19 at 21:10
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Fact: You don't have a BS in Software Engineering. If you claim it on your CV, you are lying. If you lie on your CV, that can have dire consequences years later. Say you stayed with the company for ten years, risen up in the ranks, and for some reason the company decides to get rid of you. If they find you lied on your CV, you are gone.

The fact that you have a BS in Software Development doesn't change this one bit.

You also stated in your question that you wish to change the title to mislead people. If you wanted to claim that you have a BS in Software Engineering, you should have taken a course that leads to a BS in Software Engineering.

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It may strongly depend on what country you are submitting the resume in. The Association of Engineers and Geoscientists in Canada regulates the usage of the term "Engineer" in both education and professional capacities. You could find yourself at risk of misrepresenting yourself as an Engineer (or eligible for status as a Professional Engineer or P.Eng.), which carries weight.

In some immigration contexts, a mismatch in degree may render you ineligible for visa status (think Japan).

I suggest that you play it safe and only use language that you can prove (provide it as written on your degree).

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The best way to check yourself, whether you can do that "slight modification" in your resume is to try to use the modified degree name and check it against your college / university whether they can produce any result against that query.

  • In case they return a result with successful candidate and degree certificate, you are probably OK to use the altered nomenclature.

  • However, if it fails to return any result, that means, your university does not recognize the altered name and you would be seen as lying in your resume.

Although both terms almost mean the same thing and are often used interchangeably,[..]

That's your perception (assumption), it may not be true globally. Do you want to end up being seen as lying? No.

TL;DR - When in doubt, go by what is documented and can be proved if required.


FootNote:

However, many job opportunities mention that you need to have a certain degree or equivalent. Given that the prescribed degree is similar to what you have, you are free to apply but make sure your resume mentions the degree in a way that can be supported with relevant documents (grade sheet, certificates etc.). Whether the organization considers your degree to be eligible, is up to them. At least, you wont be seen as lying.

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  • Hm, interesting, comments for DV, anyone? – Sourav Ghosh Apr 9 '19 at 11:23
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No, it's not appropriate. The ethical issue aside, if you get caught, it'll make it look like you're willing to stretch the truth to look better (which, according to your question, is exactly what you're thinking about doing).

Nothing good could come out of this, and plenty of bad could.

As an alternative, you might consider mentioning software engineering as a primary area of study in your description of the degree program. This would have the advantage of actually being true, since I assume that you did study software engineering, even if it's not the "official" title of your degree.

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Don't lie or misrepresent yourself to prospective employers.

You know that what you're asking to do is shady stuff, and no amount of positive reinforcement from an obscure Lego trading forum will change that.

Edit:Sorry to have offended the Megablox Fans out there. Please don't kill me in Minecraft.

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    Don't understand the negative reactions. This answer is simple, straight forward, and a generally good rule of thumb to keep in mind whenever you're trying to build a professional image (+1) – user100524 Apr 28 '19 at 0:27

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