Job titles have changed three times over the course of my employment. The last title, Programmer Analyst IV, was supposed to be an "industry standard" and while there are other companies that use that title I feel it doesn't accurately conveys my status, responsibilities, nor do I find that it is used that much in the industry. The title Senior Software Engineer is much more appropriate for me and seems to be more prevalent in the industry.

Will I look dishonest if I put Senior Software Engineer on my resume and they call my previous employer to find I was listed as Programmer Analyst IV?

  • 5
    On your resume you should put what title you actually had. Maybe a "Programmer Analyst IV" at your company is even better than a "Senior Software Engineer". See also workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/32053/…
    – Brandin
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 14:18
  • 4
    Unless it comes with some sort of accreditation, there is no such thing as an "industry standard" when it comes to job titles.
    – David K
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 14:29
  • @DavidK that question looks close, but does it need to have an accepted answer to be considered a duplicate?
    – mcknz
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 14:43
  • @mcknz I don't believe there needs to be an accepted answer, but that would be a good question for Meta. In any case, the question Brandin linked is also essentially the same.
    – David K
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 14:49

3 Answers 3


I wouldn't say dishonest, but it may create confusion. When I see resumes with a number after the title, I honestly have no idea what the number means. A good compromise might be to list your actual title followed by a "friendly" description, such as

Programmer Analyst IV (senior-level position)

Then let the job description fill in the rest:

As a Programmer Analyst IV, I fulfilled the roles and responsibilities of a senior software engineer in the following ways...

  • Thanks, this looks like a great way to demystify a job title.
    – noodles
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 14:40

You'll look a bit dishonest. More importantly, no one is realistically going to care.

When someone is looking at your resume, they're going to pay far more attention to your description of your role and responsibilities than they will to whatever title the company assigned you. Sure, if the title is completely out of whack, it may be reasonable to care-- if your title is Junior Administrative Assistant and you're really doing the work of a senior DBA, that's something to be worried about. No one is going to care whether your company uses roman numerals rather than Senior/ Junior or whether some other company calls their developers Programmer Ninja A and B. They're going to care about what you were responsible for, what you delivered, etc.


Yes, you'll most likely look dishonest.

A regular cab driver wouldn't describe himself as a private chauffeur, because he isn't.

If you think Senior Software Engineer fits you more because of your role and responsibilities in the company and prefer this title over Programmer Analyst IV (first question on an interview will be to explain the title and job, by the way), then discuss it with your boss and change it if you both agree to it.

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