What is in a Job Title?



  • I have been with a company for 3+ years now. Before this job I had constantly made up job titles from DB Manager, to Network Admin, to Systems Admin, when in reality I was an IT generalist with a CIS degree running a 1-2 man operation for a company with less than 500 employees. Now I am at a new job and my role is basically a Manufacturing Systems Integrator/ .Net Developer, but my job title is a made up title specific to this company ending in Technician and it doesn't reflect what I really do day to day. I have started pushing to upper management that I would like an industry standard job title, because I don't feel that my title respects the work I do. I am getting push back. I just wanted to open a discussion on if this is just ego, and title doesn't matter, or does it? Is is fair that I want to be called a developer or integrator, because it is what I do. It is hard to determine if I am being compensated fairly when my title is made up, but does that matter? What say you all?



  • @s-hackleman I think it matters. We all want our titles to be accurate. i don't blame you a bit. It sounds like developer, integrator, or possibly devops would be more appropriate.



  • Hasn't @scottalanmiller posted about this subject?

    I've always been labeled as IT tech or engineer etc. With my last review (and pay rise 👍) it was changed to a more accurate. Which I think helps when taking to VAR's, vendors etc as they don't think your still learning lol



  • Welcome to the Dead Horse. Please grab your stick and have at it...

    @scottalanmiller and I have been around and around on this. He tends to be a purist wanting job titles in SMB to align with those in the enterprise and have them only reflect what you are doing the vast majority of the time. I tend toward wanting something that reflects the market conditions. SMB is all over the place with titles, but the reality is, if your prior job had technician in the name you're probably going to be looked down on if you're looking for something that is heavier in servers and networks. My personal recommendation is to get a title that matches your highest level of proficiency.



  • Yeah @scottalanmiller took umbrage with my title, Director of All



  • @brrabill said in What is in a Job Title?:

    Yeah @scottalanmiller took umbrage with my title, Director of All

    Lord of the Bytes



  • So, as it stands the title changes has to go through the C** Level and Exec. VP, is it worth the fight, or is it petty.



  • @s-hackleman said in What is in a Job Title?:

    So, as it stands the title changes has to go through the C** Level and Exec. VP, is it worth the fight, or is it petty.

    It depends on two things. One, how much of your compensation (and future increases) are based on your title and your perceived value to the company? Two, when you move to another job, how much will your current title help or hinder your job search as you attempt to move up in pay and responsibility?

    If the answer to both is not much, then probably not. Otherwise it probably is.



  • @s-hackleman said in What is in a Job Title?:

    So, as it stands the title changes has to go through the C** Level and Exec. VP, is it worth the fight, or is it petty.

    As others have mentioned, if it will affect your pay, then it is definitely worth the fight. I have not seen many companies throw more pay at somebody with a perceived "less than" title just because they like them.

    I have always believed, being in an SMB, if one is in charge of all, along with managing 1-5 underlings, then they deserve the title of "Technology Director" or "Director of Technical Services."

    That title covers management, bench tech, developer, DB admin and many other titles throw about.



  • @hobbit666 said in What is in a Job Title?:

    Hasn't @scottalanmiller posted about this subject?

    Once or twice.

    Titles definitely matter, but you don't need to carry on a title. What your title is can be irrelevant simply by never using it. Your company can give you the title of "Chief Dog Poop Picker Upper" but if your job role is ".NET Integration" and you tell someone that you work as a .NET Integrator, your company can't say that you weren't that. In the real world, we work from jobs, not titles. People often confuse these, but that's almost always only the IT employees who do that, not hiring managers or normal workers. Most people in most industries totally ignore titles and talk about what they do, not what some random title is.



  • @pmoncho said in What is in a Job Title?:

    I have always believed, being in an SMB, if one is in charge of all, along with managing 1-5 underlings, then they deserve the title of "Technology Director" or "Director of Technical Services."

    That title covers management, bench tech, developer, DB admin and many other titles throw about.

    Just be aware, that many of us believe that if you use director in the circumstance, that you should not be eligible for other jobs. Many non-SMB shops will black list you for trying to use an inflated title in that way. Director implies a lot, including being the manager of managers. If you are just a normal supervisor or normal tech team lead, using a title many levels above your actual role actually makes you look really bad. And that's why I often tell people, "director" in the SMB is the lowest title that there is. When I see it, I assume "lone junior that was underpaid and took an inflated title in lieu of getting paid."



  • @kelly said in What is in a Job Title?:

    Two, when you move to another job, how much will your current title help or hinder your job search as you attempt to move up in pay and responsibility?

    But remember, you need never use the title when looking for another job. It's rare, to the point of almost unheard of, for a company to ask you about your title from a previous job. Everyone knows that titles are made up and meaningless, so no one cares about what other people called you. They will ask you what you did, what your role was, and that needs to be honest. But they never ask about titles, it's just not a thing. In IT circles, IT pros often think that they need to tell people their titles regularly, but when really asked when this happens, the generally can't actually put their finger on it. It's one of those myths, everyone is sure that they must have needed to do that, and their friends must have done it... but when you start digging, no one has actually done it. They might see a "what was your role" question and think that they meant title, but that's not what is asked.

    You are legally allowed to give your title, but you can't legally claim it's anything more than a title unless it matches what you did. But are always legally allowed to tell your role, no matter what title was connected to it. Your right to disclose your role is guarantee under US employment law. Your title, if it is good, can be used if you like. If the title is bad, there is no reason to be encumbered by it.



  • @hobbit666 said in What is in a Job Title?:

    Hasn't @scottalanmiller posted about this subject?

    I've always been labeled as IT tech or engineer etc. With my last review (and pay rise 👍) it was changed to a more accurate. Which I think helps when taking to VAR's, vendors etc as they don't think your still learning lol

    What did they change it to that was more accurate and how were VARs affected?



  • Here is an example...

    When working at a hotel, I was required to be a manager as I was running the place alone and not given breaks which is only legal if you are the manager. Doesn't have to be the general manager, any management role counts in NY. My title was accountant or something like that, because most of my duties were based on accounting, not managing. But I managed a shift, legally, and under no circumstances could the hotel ever claim I wasn't a manager, nor could I claim not to have been a manager, but I was free to refer to myself as an accountant as that was accurate, or as a manager, as that was also accurate.

    That the hotel chose my title to be accountant is not a factor as to whether or not I was a hotel manager. So if questioned, the hotel has to say "yes, he worked here as a manager" and/or "yes, he worked here as an accountant". Both of those statements are true and they can't deny them. So both ethically and legally, you are always protected when telling the truth, that's the handy thing about the truth.

    Now if my title was manager and I didn't manage in any capacity, then I could state that my title was manager but I could not claim to actually be one. You can always tell the truth. But repeating a known lie is still a lie. So claiming to be something based only on a title that isn't true, is still lying. But stating that someone else gave you a false title is the truth and always allowed.

    Now how much you can get away with if you want to repeat a false title is often quite a lot because people don't tend to try to track down duties vs. titles, but if you repeat the duties you are protected 100%.



  • @scottalanmiller said in What is in a Job Title?:

    @kelly said in What is in a Job Title?:

    Two, when you move to another job, how much will your current title help or hinder your job search as you attempt to move up in pay and responsibility?

    But remember, you need never use the title when looking for another job. It's rare, to the point of almost unheard of, for a company to ask you about your title from a previous job. Everyone knows that titles are made up and meaningless, so no one cares about what other people called you. They will ask you what you did, what your role was, and that needs to be honest. But they never ask about titles, it's just not a thing. In IT circles, IT pros often think that they need to tell people their titles regularly, but when really asked when this happens, the generally can't actually put their finger on it. It's one of those myths, everyone is sure that they must have needed to do that, and their friends must have done it... but when you start digging, no one has actually done it. They might see a "what was your role" question and think that they meant title, but that's not what is asked.

    You are legally allowed to give your title, but you can't legally claim it's anything more than a title unless it matches what you did. But are always legally allowed to tell your role, no matter what title was connected to it. Your right to disclose your role is guarantee under US employment law. Your title, if it is good, can be used if you like. If the title is bad, there is no reason to be encumbered by it.

    @s-hackleman This is the point that @scottalanmiller and I go around and around about. My sticking point with ignoring title and focusing on role is employment verification and work history. Most of the people doing the work of checking with prior employers are not the hiring mangers, but HR/recruiting/the boss's wife/etc. In short they're people that don't know, nor care what work you actually did. What they care about is that the title they were given for the job you had matches the one the previous employer has on file. If the two do not match, then it is a red flag.


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