We all get asked this question. It's the question that has so many different answers and all of them are correct. Your answer depends on who is asking and for what reason. "What do you do?" In my case, the answers vary greatly. If I'm speaking to a potential client my answer may be "I make all of the technology in your life work with you not against you". That always gets a smile because all of us have experienced a point where we are convinced that the things put into our lives to improve our daily tasks are actually trying to drive us into pure madness. I can then ask a couple of simple questions to find out what direction I should take the conversation. When asked this question by someone that I know is asking for nosey or nefarious reasons my answer is "I hang TV's." Then there is the peer that is truly interested in your expertise and that answer could be 5 words or 500 words depending on their needs. It usually starts with "I design and deploy advanced systems that allow my clients to seamlessly incorporate all of the technology and entertainment in their lives into one easy to use interface." All of these answers are correct, and all of these answers are meant to further, or completely stop, my interaction with the person speaking to me.
Our industry has battled with a title for what we do and the truth is that it's a fool's gambit to try. As entrepreneurs, we all have succeeded by telling our own unique story in a way that makes a person want to do business with us. I have heard many titles but some of my favorites are Integrators, AV Specialists, Technologists, Systems Engineers, and my all-time favorite "The TV Guy". Not a single one of these titles means anything to the large majority of our clients. The crazy part is that it really doesn't matter what you call yourself, your client is buying your professionalism and expertise, not your title. Have fun with life and make up your own title. I have an employee that used to call himself a 12volt Engineer, that is awesome! It sounds so legitimate and means nothing, it's just fun. We tend to forget that we have all been blessed with the ability and opportunity to work with some of the coolest technology on the market. We take what should be fun and exciting and try to make it sound like we should be in a lab wearing a white coat and staring judgementally at amplifiers.
So, the next time someone asks you "What do you do?" don't forget to relay the fun and excitement. No matter what you do, take pride in your work. I am an Entertainment Technology Specialist or a Network Doctor, and sometimes even a Theater Engineer. One last thing, probably the most important titles I carry are the ones that truly mean something. I tell people about the important roles of Husband, Father, and Friend. No amount of imaginary titles will ever hold a candle to those three. Have an amazing day!