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I studied Engineering Informatics in Italy, and I always have difficulty when trying to define my title (in several contexts, e.g. In my researchgate account, as well as in the subscription form to some conferences where they ask for your title or position).

I read What is the difference between "Computer science" and "Informatics"?, "IT specialist" vs. "computer scientist" and What is the difference between "Computer science" and "Informatics"?, because I usually define myself as a "computer scientist", which I feel is wrong.

What would be the correct job title for somebody who has studied, like me, Engineering Informatics?

Would Informatic Engineer work?

----- UPDATE 1 ------

To be more precise, I studied "ingegneria informatica" which wikipedia refers to (in english) as "Computer engineering"

After some digging, after discussion with university colleagues, and also reading what is reported on the italian "ingegneria informatica" wikipedia page, I discovered my title is equivalent to a Master in Computer Science AND to a Master in Engineering.

I suppose then that "Computer Scientist Engineer" is the title which match bettter than the others.

Does it sounds reasonable?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – tchrist Jun 12 '17 at 14:45
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In English, your problem is at the intersection of two muddles which makes the answer complex.

Firstly, there is a long standing issue with the word Engineer in English. It is the only word available to describe people with a great deal of training, expertise, flair, and responsibility in very complex intellectual matters concerning the manipulation of matter and energy for a human purpose. However, the word has also been extrapolated, -- in a form of inflation, -- to any job which involves a mechanical task. Though both valuable jobs equal in dignity, a road cleansing engineer, who sweeps a road clean has a different category of job to someone who designs skyscrapers, chemical plants and mobile phones, and yet we use the same base terminology. There is no protection for the word "Engineer" in English or American law (as there is, say, for "Doctor" or "Lawyer").

Secondly, a similar issue has arisen with various informatics jobs, but with even more complexity owing to an instability in terminology (we cannot even agree what word we are fighting over. Someone whose job is to replace the toner in your printer is interchangeably with someone charged with discovering faster ways to solve complex mathematical problems to model complex materials, develop massive financial systems or model cells to fight disease. Again, jobs equal in dignity but surely differing in category.

Computer Science tends to be used for the development of systems and procedures at their most abstract: the development of algorithms, study of algorithms as a class, development of abstract designs, and so on. This is a prestigious term which is frequently raided by others doing related (but not identical jobs).

Software engineer or hardware engineer are most commonly used by those tasked with developing software and hardware, and systems administrator by those tasked with maintaining them.

Programmer is common colloquially among those who do such, though they will probably officially be software engineers according to HR. In the UK, programmer, as a job title, like some others, such as Librarian, tends to be bimodal in that they are common among very junior and very senior staff, (a distinguishing feature of the British class system being that it is largely defined by aspiration, the lack of which unites its lowest and highest members, neither of whom strive). Systems programmers are programmers who take pride in their arduous job working with operating systems and other low-level bits and bobs.

Informatics is rare on its own (sadly) but increasingly common in combination with a scientific discipline (for example, bioinformaticians process biological data: once they would have been known as scientific programmers).

Specialist is not a prestigious term; avoid it for CVs and such matters. There's an odd (but not universally applied) tendency in both the US and UK to see any overly narrow domain of work as somehow a character flaw. For example, a Specialist is a low military rank, a General is a senior. (expert is an exception, presumably because unlike specialist it admits the possibility that the expertise is not exclusionary).

IT is also not a term which would fully reflect your expertise. It tends to be associated with large corporate computerised bureaucracies (risking confusion with what we would once have called a clerk), and with technicians who replace your mouse when it gets full of dust.

Only you really know the contents of your qualification well enough to know where you fit. Good luck in the minefield!

And thank you to whosoever does any of the jobs mentioned above, all of them deserving respect.

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You are in Information Technology (the IT field) with a specialization in how it applies to Engineering.

IT (or Informatics) Specialist [in Engineering] would be appropriate.

This would be similar to saying I'm a medical doctor (specialist) specializing in endocrinology. For the most part, most people will stop processing after "medical doctor", but they may ask the obvious followup question.

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From you link, Engineering Informatics seems to be a very new field of study that requires cross-discipline knowledge. However, it does seem to have a heavy focus on Information Systems. So, it is probably easier to explain yourself as an Information Systems Engineer, which I would describe as someone with knowledge on how to engineer a solution to an information systems problem (like, how to allow two private LANs in two different universities working on the same project share privileged information with each other, with proper access controls and security).

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"Computer Scientist" is 100% good.

I thought the question here was essentially: "IT or not".

In short - don't use "IT" for you. Use either Computer Scientist, or, Engineer.

So that's it.


Some related info: https://english.stackexchange.com/a/30885/8286 http://sijinjoseph.com/programmer-competency-matrix/

  • According to the OP's most recent edit, it seems your suggestion came nearest. Please don't ask me, I haven't the foggiest idea what the OP's job title is – Mari-Lou A Aug 29 '14 at 21:56
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    Ciao Mari ... as I understand it, the really fundamental question here was, "what cast does 'IT' have in English". the key take away for Dan is that very much "IT" is one sort of pole and engineer/comp-sci is another pole. the two groups would be mutually annoyed to be mixed. You'd never, ever, describe a computer scientist as "working in IT" (he'd think you're an a-hole) and you'd never, ever, ever describe some IT dotcom millionaire as being an "software engineer" ("You mean those guys I hire by the dozen?") or egghead "scientist". Quite simply, Dan should never ever use "IT" re himself – Fattie Aug 30 '14 at 3:36
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    {And, regarding the confusing side issue of 'is infomatics a discipline' etc: it is, simply, utterly irrelevant. He's either a computer-scientist or engineer, he is "NOT" an IT dude. Then, regarding "what adjective to put in front of the scientist or engineer bit" .. answer: whatever.} – Fattie Aug 30 '14 at 3:40
  • Computer Scientist and Computer Engineer are completely different areas - the wiki on computer engineer sums that up fairly well " Usual tasks involving computer engineers include writing software and firmware for embedded microcontrollers, designing VLSI chips, designing analog sensors, designing mixed signal circuit boards, and designing operating systems." - i.e. an electronics engineer specialising in digital design. Whereas some computer scientists don't even use computers, but think about how ideal computers might behave. – Pete Kirkham Dec 16 '14 at 20:01

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