I am a software company owner for 8 years now. After years of operation I figured out that all the while what I was doing was a software engineer's job, so would like to proclaim that I've been a Software Engineer during this time.

But I'm not really sure if I can just claim a job title like that.

I'm not really a seasoned programmer, and most of what I've done was make diagrams, functional specs, and other related documents. I also noticed that there are no SE standards or board exams to pass and its really a dynamic and situational job.

So basically I can just proclaim myself as a software engineer based on my past experience and product, even though that wasn't my official job title?


As a software engineer, do you really need to be a seasoned programmer?

The title Software Engineer is used in many places to mean "programmer." There's more to software engineering than just programming: software engineering is about the process of creating software, and that includes programming but isn't limited to just programming. Software engineering considers the processes you create to develop requirements, detect and eliminate defects, produce updates, etc.

Is it true that software engineers don't code but just make diagrams, functional specs. and othe related documents?

No. At least, I've never met a software engineer who didn't write code. What you're describing sounds more like the role of a business analyst, whose job it is to look at a problem from a business perspective and figure out how to build a system that (both hardware and software) that addresses the businesses needs.

I also noticed that there are no SE standards or board exams to pass and its really a dynamic and situational job.

That's true, but it may be changing. See: NCEES introduces PE exam for software engineering. Whether you can call your self a "software engineer" without certification will depend on what state you're in, but if states start to adopt such a requirement a lot of companies will have to change the job titles they use. (Or a lot of people will have to start getting certified.)

So basically I can just proclaim myself as a software engineer based on experience and product?

Yes, but you can also proclaim yourself King of the World if you want. At some point, you have to back it up or people will eventually get the idea that you don't know what you're talking about.

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Under Texas law you should not hold yourself out to the public as a 'Software Engineer' unless you hold a Professional Engineer certificate as such.

In reality, lots of software developers are called 'software engineers' both by their job title and themselves. It's a highly overloaded term in daily use.

As someone who reviews resumes I understand that job titles vary greatly from company to company, but I am interested in what your current and past employers called you.

If you told me that you are a software engineer, but that your current job consists mostly of "diagrams, functional specs, and other related documents" I would say, oh, you were really a project manager of some sort.

A 'software engineer' is always someone who works closely and directly with, you know, software.

He or she may be spending most of their time mentoring and managing the actual process of developing software. For example, our software engineer may spend a lot of time developing and maintaining toolsets, QA procedures, and architecture design as opposed to writing the actual application.

But he or she is also often heads down writing code.

A real software engineer is always intimately involved code, one way or the other.

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