7

I prepare my CV in German and I want to say Senior Design Engineer and Senior Engineer.

On Stack Exchange, I saw that erfahrener was used for senior. However, on the Internet, mostly, people direct senior directly, for example:

Senior Engineer → Senior Ingenieur

How can you say Senior Design Engineer and Senior Engineer in German?

  • 2
    Sidenote: Consider thinking about whether you want to translate the title in the first place. Probably everybody reading your CV can understand the English version of your title and it is more accurate than any translation can ever be. – Wrzlprmft Mar 31 at 18:18
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If you present yourself as

Senior Design Engineer

i.e. with an English job title, the Senior is of course fine.

If you want to use German terms you can say

Leitender Entwicklungsingenieur *)

but that would be pretty unusual. Today, in the larger industries, almost everything is called by English names, just glued together with some German grammar. The big boss in a company is today almost invariably a CEO, nobody calls himself a Generaldirektor any more (that's a term from about 100 years ago).

Still, if your job title is not that specific, you might prefer a genuine German title such as

Leitender Ingenieur :-)

instead of

Senior Engineer :-(

And of course, for jobs that have traditional, well-established German titles you use those. You would not present yourself as a

Baker, Carpenter, Machinist

but as a

Bäcker, Tischler, Dreher (or Industriemechaniker or whatever)


*) If that's what it is. I am not in design engineering. But dictionaries say design engineer is Entwicklungsingenieur. I personally would have guessed Produktdesigner, but I may be totally wrong with that idea.

  • I agree with Christian's answer - terms not often used today are Senior Engineer= Oberingenieur or Leitender Ingenieur (as said above) and for Senior Design Engineer = Leitender Konstrukteur. – help-info.de Mar 31 at 9:33
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    With job titles, it's always a good idea to look into the requirements needed to use a specific title. For example, I know of an "Ingenieur" who had to go to court to clarify whether or not he is allowed to call himself "Diplom-Ingenieur". Another example is the difference between "Fußpfleger" and "Podologe". And a German politician had to stop referring to himself as "Doktor" some time ago, because he got his Ph. D. from a foreign university and it wasn't recognized in Germany. Additionally, it's worth to mention that "Senior" on its own refers to senior citizens :D – Henning Kockerbeck Mar 31 at 10:00
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    A "senior engineer" is not necessarily a "Leitender Ingenieur". "Leitend" very clearly implies (non-technical) authority, whereas "senior" doesn't. – tofro Mar 31 at 18:07
  • @tofro Totally possible. As I said, I am not an expert in these vocations and their titles. The question was if using English terminology is acceptable in German CVs, and when and/or when not. On the other hand: where there is a Senior Engineer, there would probably also be some non-senior ones, and whether authority is technical or managerial... well, that's often a bit of a mix, anyway, no? For selecting the best German title, we would need to know what exactly in this context (in this company) a Senior Engineer implies. Only an embellishment of the title? Or a real position? – Christian Geiselmann Mar 31 at 19:16
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The problem isn't Senior alone. It's also Ingenieur. What English speakers call an engineer is often enough a Techniker in German. In general

  • you are a Techniker if you did a vocational training and/or attended a trade school.

  • you are an Ingenieur if you studied at a technical university.

Technically the latter is Diplom-Ingenieur but no one but Austrians talks like that. (And there are exceptions as e.g. the Schiffsingenieur which is a naval officer.) Also, Bologna reforms added Bachelor and Master Of Science to that mingle, which aren't translated either.

If you did a computer science major at an university, you aren't an Ingenieur in German at all, but an Informatiker. The Diplom- et al is skipped in everyday talk, and put as Dipl.-Inf., Informatiker (BSc), Informatiker (MSc) in writing.

So … your job title isn't translateable at all. Do not translate it.

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