Thursday, January 8, 2015

The "Title" Game In IT

I'm an IT consultant, and I do go around from customer to customer on a daily basis.  Sometimes, I see multiple customers in one day.  I guess you can say that in the IT services business, you kind of get around.
One of the things I think is interesting is the titles that people get.  Anything from Network Analyst to VP of IT.  But have you ever wondered how a lot of times, IT titles don't necessarily match the skillset of the guy holding that title?  I think this is just misleading.
For example, I met a guy once in the education sector that had a title of Network Analyst.  But if the truth was told, he couldn't tell you what a switch really did.  He could tell you it connects the network together, and I guess that is true.  But he couldn't tell you what a CAM table is.  He couldn't tell you what ARP is.  And I'm sure he couldn't configure a port on the switch to be an access port.  Would you call that guy a Network Analyst?  I wouldn't.  I would really consider this guy a PC tech, based on what I know.
Now I'm not knocking the guy.  He has experience that is valuable to the company, but not network experience.  His title really should have been something like IT technician I, PC technician, or something like that.  I mean, you set the guy up for failure one day when he applies for a real network position at another company when he really doesn't have any real world experience in network related things.
I also know people who are very talented in specific areas, like security.  But they fall under the network group and therefore, have a network title.  How is that fair or accurate?  I mean, if you have a guy whose focus is security in the company, you would expect he might have a title like Security Engineer, Security Analyst, etc.  This could affect his money making, meaning he should be making more.
On the flip side, I actually worked for a guy who was a VP of IT.  His background was a cable puller.  I think he might have touched a few servers at one time, but he was absolutely worthless as a "VP of IT".  He made terrible decisions that affected the way IT worked in that area.  He would get the opinions of the real technical people, only to ignore them and make a decision on his own or based on pressure from upper management, who also had no clue.  In fact, not one person had any respect for this guy.  I certainly did not.  (I still laugh at this one.)
I suppose you can find this all over the place.  I see it all the time.  I even know people who have an Architect title, but rarely do they do any architecture of a network.
I think companies need to really consider the titles of the employees they have.  Its not like HR has any real clue as to what a real title should be for someone with particular skillset.  Its really the IT manager who should give this consideration.  I mean, what does HR know about different areas of IT?
Its just interesting how you can go into companies and find the high powered titles, when in reality, their skillset doesn't match.  It sometimes leave you, after a first impression of a technical guy, with questions like "Shouldn't you know this?"  Anyway, I just find this interesting.  Maybe all fields are like this, but I know for sure IT is like this.


  1. BANG ON!!!

    I had a major fight with my old organization over this very issue, as the title "Helpdesk Analyst" did not properly reflect my role as their Sr. System Administrator... which would have made a difference of $5K+ a year!

    1. Exactly. I know guys who should be making more money. But because of the "position" they have, they don't. They DO get the extra responsibilities, but not the extra money. It's really a sad thing.

  2. To me a title means nothing as it is just a label that someone gives you, or you give yourself in some cases. Network Architect, Technical Architect, System Engineer, blah, blah,etc.. A diploma and certifications are "usually" the real indicator's of a person's role or responsibility in the organization. Too many people are enamored with titles and self importance of their so called labels. I could care less about my title or a person's title. Call me/you what you want, but don't expect me to be impressed. After all the proof is in the pudding as they say..!!


    1. I agree, I think people do tend to feel that "self importance" because of a title or position.


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