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Titles Matter

By Andy Warren,

Today we have a guest editorial from Andy Warren as Steve is traveling.

What’s your job title right now? Database Administrator? Senior DBA? Database Developer? Data Architect? BI Developer? ETL Specialist? Maybe even the sci-fi sounding Data Scientist?

Why do titles matter? The first and obvious reason is that they help others within the organization understand what you do and the boundaries of your role. That extends to outsiders that join the projects you’re working on too. Think about sitting at a conference table and doing introductions. Name and title are expected. Imagine trying to figure out who does what without the titles! Or trying to figure out what a ‘Component Specialist’ does.

Another big reason is for your resume. Odd and quirky titles are great fun when you’re at a startup, but when that next potential employer is reading your resume will they understand what it you did? Will they think it was a serious position or be dissuaded by the cute position name? Will the staffing company that looks at your resume be matching you to the right kinds of jobs based on that job title?

A title can also matter for pure salary reasons. Once I was in a position where I was at the salary cap, though I was the only DBA in the company. A cap was a cap. The answer was to “promote” me to “Senior” DBA and then the cap moved. That seems like nonsense (and it is, a little bit) but remember most companies have someone in HR that manages compensation based on job titles and knowing what the local ranges are. Their job is to make sure that no one is under or over paid based on job title. It pays to have the right title!

Job titles will never completely describe what we do or the value that we add to the company. That doesn’t mean we should ignore them though. Take a few minutes today to take your current title and search on Dice or Monster or whatever job board you prefer – do the jobs that match your title also match up on job description and salary range? Then start thinking about what your next title will be and what skills and experience you need to be acquiring to get that title.

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