I worked on different types of companies, under different work (or country) cultures. And boy, do I hate job titles.
- System administrator
- Jr. Database Architect
- Principal DevOps Engineer
- Senior Expert Database Administrator
- Full Stack Gang
You get the idea. Shall we dig in?
I get the idea of “Junior” to be honest, so I should put it aside. If you’re new on something and you don’t know your way around, yeah, call yourself a junior, no biggie. My only nitpick here is when I see a CV which doesn’t include any Jr. in any previous titles. 😒 Really? Like, you were proficient enough from the beginning? Alright..1
These seniority prefixes are kinda confusing and blurry. I’ve met “Expert"s who were very good at completing requested tickets. Yet they were asking me some basic questions in their profession, while I was the one with “Junior” title. My initial admiration changed quicker than a cop who saw a camera. What is an expert on company A, if you can’t even pass first interview for junior position of company B?
So they fail to provide any kind of comparison they promised, or at least, implied. Imagine you’re evaluating 2 people for a position: One is from an infamous hosting company and the other is from Netflix2. Would you consider their seniorities equal?
Some companies are trying to assess the employees, some giving the titles like an army: More you stay, higher you go. Sadly I had to experience both.
The “main” profession problem
Title doesn’t end with seniority words. It also shows the official profession. It does its job of hiding most of your attributes very well.
For example3, you have 4 titles in front of you:
- System Administrator
- Full stack engineer
Could you guess their knowledge levels of:
- File systems
In my experience, your guess would be probably very wrong. Just because someone is a “System Administrator”, it doesn’t limit the person to know about databases as much as a “DBA”, who might also know a lot about development etc.
Bonus thing: The technology is changing too fast. There are new professions popping up every day, so nowadays it’s not impossible to read a title and say “I’m sorry but, what the heck do you do?”. I’ve enjoyed the idea of creating a website called “This title does not exist” by mashing up random stuff from job openings.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any enthusiasm to be a manager or something. As far as I can see, it should feel like herding cats on IT. Just wanted to add my 2 cents about why titles are not helping anymore.