Recently, after updating my LinkedIn profile, I've scanned through my colleagues' job titles. Most of them are fine, but some got my attention. Then it was after talking about it with Samuel Path that I got to writing this article.
LinkedIn Job Titles
Job titles come in a variety of shapes. Have a look at LinkedIn job titles. Even for the people you know are software developers, they aren't called that way. There's a fascinating competition going on to be something more than a "regular" software developer. I can't blame people for wanting to stand out compared to others, but many job titles are often obscure, or people have their own interpretations of these titles. Some of them don't even give a hint about what that someone is really doing.
- Technical expert
- Region director
- Business controller
Some of these titles are too vague to give a clue. Others are too specific to a company. LinkedIn's audience is in most cases from outside your company, so giving a title that is so specific to a company is simply nonsense.
Software Developer as a job title
I've been coding for a long time. I've been a professional software developer for more than a decade, but coding is really a passion as well as it is a job. I've taken on different roles in my career whether I've been asked to or simply because someone had to do it. Some of these roles include architect, lead developer, trainer, project leader, consultant or scrum master. While some of these can be full-time jobs, others like architect or consultant and even scrum master can't be done without being a software developer to start with.
software developer is not a job title to be ashamed of
The need for differentiating job titles
There is much confusion around these roles and many forget that they are mainly software developers. They're not really to blame. Management uses these roles to dispatch responsibilities and accounting uses them to rate consultants' wages. Management and accounting usually have little knowledge about the specifics of a developer's tasks, so they have to have a certain vocabulary to distinguish a certain developer from another one. Of course, not all developers are all alike, but differentiating a developer based on a role he's taking is probably not the best way to differentiate his worth.
Bragging about a job title
The worst part about phony job titles among software developers is that an implicit ladder has been set up in order to tell who's better than who.
- junior software developer
- senior software developer (usually after 2 years or so)
- lead developer
- project leader
- wait a minute, software developer is plainly what I am, no need to wrap it in a bit of cheese like you're tricking the dog
Expertise is not linear. There is a variety of expertise on different subjects developers take on.
Remember what is the purpose of a job title is. A recruiter is someone looking for a service. A job title is what he/she looking for. He/She's not going to search weird job titles no one's ever heard of. It may be a good thing for your company that your job title isn't on any recruiter's list so that they may keep you. So try and be simple, direct and honest when using a job title.