What’s in a title?

Link to this entry, on DICE Blog Network, of which I am a member/blogger,

What is in a title? That depends.

Perhaps much; your title is industry standard and perfectly describes your AOR.
Perhaps little; an industry standard that is insufficient to describe your AOR.
Perhaps nothing; an industry standard, or not, that is simply a title to confer status or $.

I recently entered into an on-line discussion with a person interested in transitioning from “System Administrator” to “Programmer”. My first response was to request a definition of “System Administrator”. The reason I asked is because I know a person who told me he was a SA. When I asked him to describe his responsibilities it seemed to me he was a PC Tech. He was not creating/modifying/deleting user accounts and print/job queues, or installing system software on a multiuser system; he kept PCs running.

Tangentially, the online conversation was hijacked for a while and became a discussion about program versus script, and what is a real programming language.

Over the years I’ve held the official titles of Programmer/Analyst (various levels), Project Manager, MIS Supervisor, MIS Director. Unofficially I’ve served as Technical Support, Network Engineer, System Engineer, System Administrator, Software Engineer. There was a desire by one of my supervisors, when I was officially a Programmer, to recommend my title be changed to reflect what I actually did; System Engineering. Sadly he left and I remained, officially, a lowly programmer. However, I continued to serve in the roles of System Engineer, System Administrator, Network Engineer and Technical Support, etc.

Ultimately, I don’t care about my title. I care about enjoying what I do and recognition for being good at what I do. Being (well) paid is nice too !!!


About R Michael Small

My experience ranges from PCs (and Apples/Macs) to mainframes, but I do not own an Xbox, or Gameboy, and I am "Wii-free". I've held tech programming, networking, administrative, support and leadership positions, and am a substitute teacher. I have two business degrees, and several years experience in law enforcement as a Patrolman/Training Officer concurrent to my IT experience. My brand is technology as a tool, not a life. Avocational interests include Scotland (all of it), inventing and modifying SCUBA gear, writing, and photography.
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