How to explain your technical job to Boomer’s relatives this Chinese yuan


Chinese New Year is approaching and we know what this means for many Singaporeans: eat a pineapple cake, new clothes, and of course, awkward conversations with the people you see once a year.

Even with this year’s Covid restrictions on home visits and mingling, you’ll be on the receiving end of “what work you’re doing now” multiple times.

And if you’re a technician, you probably had a hard time describing your job, before settling on “我 做 电脑” (I do computer tasks).

We feel your pain. So here’s a list of the most common tech jobs and explanations for their simple enough jobs for people who are more familiar with titles such as doctors, lawyers, and accountants.

We’ve also used a metaphor for a place all Singaporeans love – the shopping center – to help them understand better.

User experience (UX) designer

Suppose you build a shopping center. You will need an architect to give the building an all-encompassing look and feel, place stores coherently, and ensure walkways and escalators optimize human traffic.

If you’re building a website or app instead, UX Designer does the same role of giving your site a fun and consistent look and ensuring menus and navigation buttons are easy to find and place in logical areas of the screen.

For example, an ecommerce site UX designer will plan the transition from adding items to cart to checkout, ensuring that the process through a few different pages is seamless.

software engineer

An architect designs a shopping center while an engineer is building it.

Likewise, a UX designer is a website engineer while a software engineer builds it. And just like there are different types of engineers, there are also different software engineers.

In general, there are those who build the things you see and the things you don’t see.

The team responsible for the facade and coordination of the building differs from the people who lay the plumbing and electrical wiring.

Front-end software engineers create the website elements that you interact with, and combine images, videos, graphics, and text into one fun package.

Backend software engineers ensure that information flows smoothly so the website can load quickly on your machine. They also build systems to properly store data such as user information.

Cybersecurity specialist

Suppose your shopping center sells very expensive luxury items. You will want someone in charge of security to make sure that thieves are difficult to break into.

You will need a comprehensive system of security alarms and surveillance cameras, as well as strong safes and locks.

Now that your mall is digital, you will need a cybersecurity specialist against hackers, the digital version of thief.

A cybersecurity professional puts in place defenses and surveillance systems to prevent hackers from breaking into and stealing valuable information such as customer credit card details and personal information.

Production Manager

A shopping center manager combines customer needs with the business goals of a mall.

If the business wanted to attract younger shoppers, the manager would have come up with a shortlist of brands that appeal to young people and get them to set up a store in the mall.

Some renovations may also be required to modernize the mall and give it a more modern feel. A manager has to get everyone together to achieve this goal.

The product manager also combines customer needs with a site’s business goals.

If the website wants to attract younger shoppers, the manager will have to plan new web pages for new brands that appeal to young people and update the website interface.

He or she needs to mobilize product designers and software engineers to turn this goal into reality.

Data analyst

The shopping center has a team to monitor the most popular stores, and whether the change in lighting and music caused shoppers to spend more.

They will also check the walkways and escalators getting more human traffic.

Data analysts implement these functions for a website, monitoring the most popular web pages, which colors and layouts make users click the most, and which navigation buttons get more use.

Data analysts can also create a system for recommending additional items related to what online shoppers are willing to purchase.

For example, a shopper who purchases a computer will get a portable keyboard and mouse.

No more embarrassment associated with the tongue

If you celebrate Chinese New Year, perhaps our article will help the holiday season to be one of the confident interactions with relatives.

Who knows, your new epithets with aunts and uncles might cause Hong Bao to become fatter. you are welcome.

And if all else fails, just say, “I’m in the same industry as Jack Ma Alibaba!”

This article first appeared in GovTech. You can also get Byte-Size Tech Stories (geddit?) By GovTech Here.

Featured Image Credit: GovTech

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