Don't Let a Technology Job Title Influence You
If you’re looking to start or advance your IT career, don’t make the common mistake of focusing on the job title and not looking at other factors related to the actual job that could be important to your career development.
Often, many candidates for IT jobs are intimidated by “senior” in a job title or put off by the word “assistant.” Don’t let that person be you. You’re smarter than that. Below are some factors that could be better indicators of a position than the posted title:
Larger companies can often be stingy in offering impressive job titles because recruiting and HR policies have very defined protocols for such matters. So don’t dwell on the big, bold letters at the top of the job posting (as it very likely could have been created by someone completely unrelated to your discipline).
A senior DBA at a small company might have a more impressive title, but working as a database specialist at a large multinational may be a better overall position for you in terms of exposure, technology and team dynamics. While they may not offer you a sexy title, large companies typically do offer far greater career advancement opportunities and more competitive compensation packages.
On the other hand, a small company may give you the job title you really want if you ask for it nicely. You can’t get what you don’t ask for.
As a diligent IT job seeker, you’re very aware of the industry you’re researching. And as a talented IT professional, you know your skills are very transferable and in demand. A company in an IT-related field (for instance, software development or Web hosting) may be in a better position to offer a stimulating and more progressive IT environment than, say, a shoe manufacturer. Bring your skills to the industry that best matches your interests and aptitudes, regardless of what your business card may say.
It’s all about the technology. Read the job profile closely to get an idea of the type of infrastructure you would be working on. A job title means very little if you spend your days helping users fix Windows XP problems if you would rather be deploying large-scale server clusters to the cloud.
Ask yourself a very basic question when you look at a job profile: Would this job excite me? Remember, you’ll be performing the job, not the title.
Your Interests and Experiences
Each IT candidate offers a unique set of skills, so the interview should revolve around those specific interests and experiences. As a candidate, it’s your responsibility to offer this information to your interviewer so he can be as informed as possible. Don’t confine your answers to the limit of the job title at hand: Use the interview as an opportunity to discuss your experiences and knowledge in related areas. If you’re interviewing for an IT help-desk job but have skills in Web development, mention that. The job may have some unpublished requirements that could fit your unique skill set.
In the end, you need to decide what's a good fit for you and whether you can live with a formal job title you don’t like. Just keep in mind that a job title actually means very little -- it’s the work you do that’s important.
Ultimately, a future employer will not care what your previous job title was as long as you can demonstrate that you performed the job well and that your experience relevant to his current needs. And to be frank, the glory of a sweet job title can rub off very quickly if you don’t love what you do.