Igor's Blog

"... no matter what they tell you, it's always a people problem!"

Monday, January 28, 2008

Job Title

For a long time, I am struggling to find my job title (yes, we put whatever titles we want in our company). Coming from a highly business (financial) background, I had hard time defining the title of my position in the IT world.

I can’t call my self true “Software Engineer” because this title applies working in very technically oriented domains. “Software Developer” sounds good but since it is widely accepted term, it means different things to different people. Finally, I picked up “Business Developer”. This title was supposed to mean that I am very interested in solving business problems with any means possible (including prioritization, optimization of business workflows and processes and so on). Most importantly, however, it is about abstracting business models and managing the complexity of a business through a sophisticated use of software as a tool.

Yes, you can imagine that this didn’t work out the way I intended to. Almost of all of the people thought about “Business Developer” to mean a person who develops the business of a company in a way of increasing the market share, market awareness and finding new clients (or something like that) .

Later on, I realized that although sometimes I do provide small business optimizations and improvements most of the time I just solve pure software problems. Very often, I am solving those types of problem through heavy use of Google search. I search for similar problems and how other people solved them or didn’t solve them and then try to modify and apply the solution for my problem at hand. That’s why I decided that my title should be not something like “Java Developer” or “Ruby Developer” but rather “Google Developer”, meaning I can solve the problem in any language and tool with some extensive research on the web.

Well, “Google Developer” probably means that I am a developer working for Google, so logically the next one coming to mine is “Search Developer” or “Research Developer”. As you can see, both titles have different meaning than what I want to imply. For a while, I just give up and I came back to “Software Developer”.

Not far ago, I was involved with a huge enterprise project. What I reconfirmed there was that usually the business people give requirements according to which a new software system should be built. However, based on many miscommunications, misunderstandings, different context, simple mistakes, a lot of compromises and the amount of time that takes to build an application the abstract business model together with the business workflows and processes built by the (gigantic) software team are not exactly as the business envisioned them (and sometimes even dramatically different).

Very often the business (since it spent so much money for this) is forced to use and adjust to this new (different) business model. After a while, the whole business behavior of a department or an organization is determined by this new business model.

So, there you go! It came out to me that no matter whether the business likes it or not, I am building and redesigning the business model, workflows and processes while building new software business systems. Based on this reasoning, I am now considering the titles “Business Modeling” or “Business Transformer”.

And yes, they are still not on the target. “Business Modeling” is very good but it should be “Business Modeler”, which doesn’t sound good. “Business Transformer” sounds more like Robocop or something like that.

Finally, I am back to just “Software Developer” whatever this means. It is difficult to escape the common understanding (misunderstanding) for what you do or want to do.

Any other suggestions or similar thoughts?

|| Igor, Monday, January 28, 2008


Or you can come up with something whacky :)

Someone in B'lore has 'Mostly Harmless' 'Evolved Monkey' and I use 'Quantum Bug Creator'

But then again, someone said that he carries two set of cards, the cool one to hand out to other geeks, the serious one to hand out to bankers :)
Blogger KetanPadegaonkar, at January 28, 2008 11:03 PM  
Having struggled for a long time to find a good title between development and management levels, I can suggest Solution Developer or Solution Architect (I choosed the latter but sometimes it appears as disconnected from the code to some people).
Anonymous Anonymous, at January 29, 2008 3:28 AM  
First welcome back to blogging.

Anyways about the title. I always thought it does not matter, but the more I see things around me .. I feel it is important and that is how my salary is determined.Anyways I have lost faith in all these. I do not think we are solving any problem, we are just solving the symptoms.
Blogger Siva Jagadeesan, at January 29, 2008 10:09 AM  
I was planning to ask around and get hold of all the... odd designations that are floating around TW. Maybe even do like a blog post with photographs of visiting cards.
Blogger Unknown, at January 29, 2008 10:50 AM  
I should say, you did make me smile a few times. :)

How about this one: business technologist?
I was recently told by a company that they're "looking for not just a developer skilled in a certain technology, but for a technologist". So, that's where it comes from.

Enjoyed reading your blog.
Anonymous Anonymous, at May 02, 2008 7:47 AM  

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