I've been reading a couple of old forum posts and blog entries from people wondering about "breaks from IT" (in some cases at the start of a career) and "switching to IT" (somewhat later in a career) and it's sparked off some thought (result!) about a kind of pet peeve of mine.
I've had quite a lot of jobs over the last 12 or so years, and more job titles than I can shake a stick at. I've been, from memory:
- Technical Support Operative
- Technical Support Team Leader
- Contractor (descriptive, huh!)
- Network Administrator
- Database Administrator
- Consultant Developer
- Systems Architect
- Database Architect
- Developer (New Technologies)
- Developer (Legacy Systems)
- Manager - Special Projects
- Project Manager
- Business Application Development Manager (my boss and I thought "BAD Manager" was funny)
- IT Manager
- IS Manager
- IT & IS Director
- Senior Systems Analyst
...and there's probably others I've forgotten about. 6 of those were at the same company, and some other companies have managed 2 or 3 each. And yet, despite having had all these job titles myself, I still don't really have any idea what someone who presents a business card with their IT job title on it actually does.
Moreover, my current employer is a relatively small company - we have 14 staff - and yet grosses a reasonable amount (c. £2m/year). We have two IT people, and we do literally everything from writing our upcoming customer portal to interfacing with suppliers I actually thought had died out before I was born (remember XMODEM?!), to plugging in new computers, ordering LAN and WAN connections, configuring routers, switches and hubs... you name it, right down to ordering laser toner cartridges. There's a running joke in the office that if it has a plug on it, it's our responsibility. If it doesn't have a plug on it, it's our responsibility to put one on it. My current title is "Senior Systems Analyst" - I think largely because they had no idea what to call me when I started. And yet I do more, and have more managerial and budgetary control of deadlines, projects, contractors, consultants etc than I did while in charge of development for a Fortune 500 company with 4500 staff.
Titles don't reflect what I do... but they've never really reflected what my staff do either. I've had DBA's who've been expected to know two or three programming language and spend 70% of their week developing. I've had developers who've been expected to administer AD forests, and Network Engineers who are expected to understand stack traces in applications. It's a world gone crazy. :)
As a result, I've kind of reached a point where I don't even bother with them - my cards don't have a title on them, my email signature doesn't, and if asked for a job title now on web forms I generally answer "IT" and leave it at that.
So, here's my question:
What - if any - stock do you guys (and by that I include girls obviously!), as recruiters, employers and employees, put in a job title on a CV or resume? For example, two otherwise identical looking CV's land on your desk, but one candidate lists their job title as "Lead Software Developer" and the other as "Development Manager" - yet both, on the next line, say "Managed a team of 30 developers".