How To Explain Your Tech Job To Boomer Relatives This CNY
Chinese New Year is just around the corner and we know what that means to many Singaporeans: a pineapple pie frenzy, new clothes and, of course, awkward conversations with people you see once a year. .
Even with this year’s Covid restrictions on home visits and dating, you will repeatedly be the target of ‘what job are you doing now’.
And if you’re a technician, you probably had a hard time describing your job, before settling for a lame “我 做 电脑” (I do computer stuff).
We feel your pain. So here is a list of the most common tech jobs and explanations of what they involve that are fairly straightforward for people more familiar with titles like doctors, lawyers, and accountants.
We also used a metaphor for a place all Singaporeans love – the mall – to help them better understand.
User experience designer (UX)
Let’s say you are building a shopping mall. You will need an architect to give the building a general look and feel, to arrange the stores in a cohesive manner, and to ensure that the corridors and escalators optimize human traffic.
If you’re building a website or an app instead, the UX designer fulfills the same role by making your site look nice and cohesive and ensuring that menus and navigation buttons are easy to find and placed in logical areas of the the screen.
For example, a UX designer for an ecommerce site will plan the navigation from adding items to the cart to checking out, making sure the process through a few different pages goes smoothly.
An architect designs a shopping center while an engineer builds it.
Likewise, a UX designer is the architect of a website, while a software engineer builds it. And just as there are different types of engineers, there are also different software engineers.
Basically, there are those who build the things you see and the things you don’t see.
The team in charge of the facade and landscaping of a building is different from the people who install the plumbing and electrical wiring.
Front-end software engineers create the elements of the website you interact with, assembling photos, videos, graphics, and text into a nice package.
Backend software engineers ensure that information flows smoothly so that the website can load quickly on your device. They also build systems to properly store data such as user information.
Cyber security specialist
Let’s say your mall sells expensive luxury goods. You will need a security official to make sure it is difficult for burglars to break in.
You will need a complete system of security alarms and security cameras, as well as strong safes and locks.
Now that your mall is digital, you will need a hacker cybersecurity specialist, the digital version of a burglar.
The cybersecurity specialist is putting in place defenses and surveillance systems to prevent hackers from breaking in and stealing valuable information such as customers’ credit card details and personal information.
The manager of a shopping center combines the needs of customers with the commercial objectives of the shopping center.
If the business is to attract young buyers, the manager will have developed a shortlist of brands that appeal to young people and entice them to move into the mall.
Maybe a renovation is also needed to refresh the mall and give it a more modern feel. The manager must bring everyone together to achieve this goal.
A product manager also combines customer needs with the business goals of the website.
If the website is to attract young buyers, the manager will need to plan new web pages for new brands that appeal to young people and set in motion a refresh of the site interface.
He or she needs to rally product designers and software engineers to turn this goal into reality.
A mall has a team to monitor which stores are most popular and whether a change in lighting and music has caused shoppers to spend more.
They will also check which walkways and escalators receive the most human traffic.
Data analysts perform these functions for a website, monitoring which web pages are most popular, what colors and layouts have made users click more, and which navigation buttons are used more.
Data analysts can even create a system to recommend additional items related to what online shoppers want to buy.
For example, a buyer who purchases a computer will be recommended a portable keyboard and mouse.
No more language awkwardness
If you are celebrating the Chinese New Year, let our article help you make your holidays a time of confident interactions with your loved ones.
Who knows, your newfound sweetness with aunts and uncles may even lead to a bigger hong bao. You are welcome.
And if all else fails, just say, “我 和 阿里巴巴 的 马云 是 同行！” (I’m in the same industry as Alibaba’s Jack Ma!)
This article first appeared on GovTech. You can also get technical stories that are the size of a byte (geddit?) By GovTech Here.
Featured Image Credit: GovTech
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