When my brother and I founded Sanico Software we started to freelance website design jobs. We began with websites because we knew a market existed for handcrafted, well designed, and well engineered websites. We immediately boomed with business and decided to double down harder on websites. However, the small businesses that we worked with began to ask for more than just websites:
- “Can you manage my domain?”
- “Can you set up my computer network in my home office?”
- “Can you filter my emails?”
- “Can you customise this off the shelf software?”
- “Can you transfer my Facebook business page that I sold to another business?”
- “Can you go to Sydney and Melbourne to set up the IT infrastructure in our new offices?”
- “Can you audit the software that someone built for me overseas?”
- “Can you connect our inventory system to Xero?”
Now, a quick pause here, I label myself primarily as a Software Engineer, even if I graduated as a Computer Scientist from UniSA. I say Software Engineer because I construct and architect software products, although many well respected people disagree with the use of this term, I stay out of the political and social debates. Long story short, I am a Software Engineer.
However, as more and more clients ask me questions like the ones I listed above, I find it difficult to use the term Software Engineer as my primary title. Even other people find it strange if I say I am a Software Engineer when I set up the IT infrastructure of an office. “But don’t Software Engineers write code, not connect computers to networks?”… well… yes.
Even the other day I customised an off the shelf job management program called simPRO for a client of mine. From a technical perspective I used my software expertise to understand the program, read the documentation, and implement a solution for my client. However, I feel the title of Software Engineer fails to describe what I provided for my client.
Instead, I feel like a jack of all trades computer expert. A person that receives technical computer related problems and provides technical solutions. I can architect and build custom software products such as Infinity Mural, an application I built from scratch with my brother full time for 2 years. I can create custom email filters that make emails less of a headache. I can customise off the shelf software such as simPRO to suit a client. I can connect inventory systems to Xero to ease accounting requirements. I can set up IT network infrastructure, write firewall rules, and other network related requirements.
So if I am not a Software Engineer, what do I call myself? A computer expert? A technologist? A jack of all trades software nomad? Or do I go deeper and remove any title, instead I am X?
In all seriousness, I feel the term Technologist best describes my current line of work accurately. Although I shiver at its cheesiness, I fail to think of a better term at the moment. I think most small business owners feel like the jack of all trades, they perform their own accounting, manage their own social media accounts, negotiate sales, hire staff, and the list goes on. So, in summary I am still not 100% sure on my exact job title, I wear so many different hats that I think Technologist vaguely wraps it all up into a plausible job title.
I am (still cheesy, I know) a Technologist*.
* Until I think of a better title, still incubating. If you have a better title send me an email at [email protected]