How official is job title? I have a generic, non-descriptive job title given to me by HR. Can I list a more accurate job

Pitney Bowes / Eng λ
Jul 22, 2017 12 Comments

Hello,

I am currently an intern. I, and all the interns on the team, were given the same generic, nondescript, job title by HR. However, our boss hired us for different skills and to fulfill different roles. I was hired for my machine learning experience and am working on developing a recommendation engine.

If I were to come up with a title that best describes what I'm working on, I would say "AI Software Development Intern". I am new to being in the workforce and I'm not sure what the culture and etiquette around job titles are. Are they informal, or will listing a job title that differs from the official one land me in hot water?

Should I ask my boss? I was about to send her a slack message asking about the situation, but I didn't hit send, because I have no clue how this sounds like and don't want it to reflect badly on me (though she's a chill person).

Another thing I'm wondering is if "AI software development intern" comes across as overly pompous. Should I just stick with "software development intern" instead?

TL;DR: decisions I need guidance on are:

* Should I list my official job title or a more accurate job title?

* If the latter, should I go with "AI software development intern" or just "software development intern"?

* Should I mention this to my boss, or just do it?

comments

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TOP 12 Comments
  • Google / Eng
    amaze

    Google Eng

    PRE
    Microsoft
    BIO
    12 yrs engineer in tech
    amazemore
    software dev intern is the standard. In detailed description of your role, you can mention that you are working on AI based recommendation system.
    Jul 22, 2017 3
    • Google / Eng
      amaze

      Google Eng

      PRE
      Microsoft
      BIO
      12 yrs engineer in tech
      amazemore
      i mean i hv never seen AI software engineer title. infact, AI inyour title would narrow your scope, and hint to hiring mgrs tht u are not a fit for other non AI roles.
      Jul 22, 2017
    • Pitney Bowes / Eng λ
      OP
      But can I list soft dev intern as job title even though it's not? And should I mention it to my boss
      Jul 22, 2017
    • Yelp / Eng bitter
      What is your title then?
      Jul 22, 2017
  • Google / Product MrBachman
    List it where? On LinkedIn? You can list whatever you want there. Official company apparel (such as business cards) vary company-to-company. I've put "security superhero" as my job title, on my business card and so far no one has cared.
    Jul 22, 2017 3
    • Pitney Bowes / Eng λ
      OP
      It's to put on my resume, which I'm submitting as part of my application to attend a professional networking event
      Jul 22, 2017
    • Google / Product MrBachman
      As long as you can explain what you have on there and why you've gone for that title I think you're fine
      Jul 23, 2017
    • New tijd
      I'm a hiring manager. Job titles that are either very specific (like "Family protection consultant" for an insurance telesales worker) or very generic ("intern") are unhelpful. I would much rather see an unofficial job title that better reflects the position you did/do there. As long as it doesn't overstate your role, like calling yourself an engineer because "I basically did what the engineers did," I think it's fine. And it doesn't sound like you are. I agree with the person above who said to go with the industry standard "software development intern." You can list your AI experience prominently in the description below the job title, or when you introduce yourself casually--"Hey, I'm [x]. I work on AI projects."
      Jul 26, 2017
  • HPE / Eng Wingnut
    Oftentimes job titles within an organization are structured to connote pay grade. You may be doing engineering but titling you as one could raise a stink.
    Jul 24, 2017 0
  • Intuit smNe74
    I think you can describe yourself in whatever means that clearly communicates the job function, within reason. So if, for example, "software engineering intern" describes your position well in a way that people external to your organization understand, than go by that on your LinkedIn, etc. it's only a problem if you try to misrepresent or mischaracterize what you did.
    Jul 23, 2017 0
  • Pandora siriusP
    You're overthinking this one. Don't worry about it. In most cases, a job title is just a ego pleaser.
    Jul 23, 2017 0
  • Facebook / Other nvm
    look at what the full-time people on your team is called. likely either machine learning engineer or data scientist.
    Jul 22, 2017 0