Job title suggestions required (IT services)
August 25, 2010 10:04 AM   Subscribe

I need to find a job title. Something which sounds better than "IT guy".

When I began working here in the USA I was on a cultural exchange visa so my job title was literally just "trainee" on all documentation. Then after a few months, when it came time to print up business cards, I was asked what job title it should say on mine. So after thinking about it for a minute or so, I came up with "IT Specialist". Now the organization is thinking about sponsoring me for an H1B visa and we're currently negotiating the terms, part of which is a new job title. I guess it's a bit more important than it was because soon I'll be in a client-facing role. More details about that below.

So, what I actually do:

Maintain the entire IT infrastructure for a non-profit for about 30 users. I have no one below me, and no one really above me apart from the president of the organization. This means a couple of servers, hardware, software, telephones, website (the technical side of it, not the design), the office network. Planning all future technology projects. Typical IT guy stuff.

But what I will shortly be doing:

All of the above plus: getting us moved to Google Apps and administrating it. Managing the creation of our new all-singing all-dancing website which will be based on Drupal. Probably lots of PHP coding too, something I'm a little familiar with. Eventually getting us set up with SalesForce. We decided those are the three big projects for the next year or two. Then the idea is to take the skills and lessons learned and sell that to other companies: I'll go in and migrate people to Google Apps; I'll manage the creation of CMS-based websites; eventually SalesForce will come into it.

What does this job sound like it should be called? Plain old IT Manager? I think that sounds fine for representing the internal work I do but doesn't really reflect the work I'd be doing for external clients.
posted by anonymous to Technology (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
You're not a manager; no one reports to you.

Systems Architect sounds a bit closer to the mark to me. Also covers the contract stuff you'd be doing.
posted by bfranklin at 10:12 AM on August 25, 2010


Systems Administrator?
posted by Gator at 10:12 AM on August 25, 2010


(IT) Systems Engineer
posted by Threeway Handshake at 10:16 AM on August 25, 2010


You're the Director of Information Technology. You're also doing the work of the Director of User and Client Services, the Director of Networks and Systems as well as Systems Engineer and Systems Administrator.
posted by jardinier at 10:23 AM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't go around calling yourself the director of anything unless somebody explicitly made you one. Coming up with a title to fit your daily activities is one thing... crowning yourself upper management is another. You will likely chap some asses.
posted by fusinski at 10:28 AM on August 25, 2010


FWIW, two important things to consider:

- Does your company assign specific importance to titles like "Director"?
- You should have a conversation with your HR person regarding H1B and title. I'm not sure if it's still the case, but you used to have to be more careful to clearly demonstrate that you are providing an in-need skill. So, titles with "Engineer" are better than just "Manager".
posted by mkultra at 10:33 AM on August 25, 2010


In my organization, you would be referred to as "IT Generalist"
posted by brand-gnu at 10:36 AM on August 25, 2010


This is pretty similar to my job. At my previous job (similar role) I used to be called 'IT Manager' even though I didn't manage anyone. Now I'm an 'IT Director', though I don't direct anyone, and the other 'Director's in this organization are much more important personages than myself. Which makes me feel a little pretentious, but no one else really seems to care.

Nonprofit organizations seem to invent what they call IT staff pretty much at random, as far as I can tell. Make what you can of it I guess.
posted by Erroneous at 10:47 AM on August 25, 2010


(IT) Systems Engineer

Unless you have an engineering degree and are a member of a professional engineering organization, you are not an engineer. Please don't call yourself one.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 11:09 AM on August 25, 2010


You're going from IT Guy to IT UberAdmin. Systems Administrator is probably the best match. If I got a resume with the title "IT Guy" and that job desc., I'd interview that person in a heartbeat.
posted by theora55 at 11:28 AM on August 25, 2010


Seconding Director of Info. Tech.

You're not a manager; no one reports to you.

People aren't the only things that need to be managed.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:34 AM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


People aren't the only things that need to be managed.

This is title inflation at its best. Managers manage people. Directors manage managers. His own job description also lacks the strategic components that would justify either of these titles. There's no mention of budgeting or setting strategic objectives. There's a whole lot of implementing.

I can't speak for all managers, but I certainly know that many of my peers will bin resumes with title inflation right off the bat.
posted by bfranklin at 11:46 AM on August 25, 2010


"Unless you have an engineering degree and are a member of a professional engineering organization, you are not an engineer. Please don't call yourself one."

I sympathize with this sentiment, but across the academic and corporate IT world, Engineer is used in job titles for many who don't meet either of your criteria, so (right or wrong) it's a standard used in that field. It's a bit like people who say "The art of X" (art of dentistry, art of bar tending, etc.) - that really annoys artists, but we get what they mean. I'd say f it helps with the visa, call yourself an IT Physicist, or whatever helps if they're assigning arbitrary importance to a title, when it's the description of duties that should matter.
posted by jardinier at 11:47 AM on August 25, 2010


You're the Chief Technology Officer or the Technical Executive. You advise the president on all things IT, you make the decisions on acquisitions and enterprise architecture, and you personally see to it that that architecture is operating at optimal efficiency. You also plan and implement migrations etc. etc.

CTO or TX.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 11:48 AM on August 25, 2010


Managers manage people.

IT Managers manage IT. It's not title inflation; it's practically the norm.

I can't speak for all managers, but I certainly know that many of my peers will bin resumes with title inflation right off the bat.

Lemme guess: You don't hire in the IT field.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:51 AM on August 25, 2010


I don't think you're a CTO. You're a CInformationO, maybe, and still meet Emperor SnooKloze's description.

I'd also vote for Systems Administrator. That's our head (well, only) IT guy.

I am a Systems Engineer. I architect robotic systems and lead technical teams. Please don't be a Systems Engineer.
posted by olinerd at 11:59 AM on August 25, 2010


System + Tech + Admin

Systems Technician
System Administrator
Technical Administrator
Technology Officer
Technical Advisor
Systems Strategist
Information Administrator
Official Technologist
Science Officer
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:02 PM on August 25, 2010


Lemme guess: You don't hire in the IT field.

On the contrary; I'm currently employed in a management capacity in IT.

Crappy resumes are the norm, too. I don't hire those people either. Just because it is done doesn't mean it should be.
posted by bfranklin at 12:14 PM on August 25, 2010


and are a member of a professional engineering organization, you are not an engineer.

What? No. Those orgs may try to claim this, but that is not what makes you an engineer. "Engineer" is like "scientist", it's a description of a function, not a title like "Doctor" which implies certification.
posted by wildcrdj at 12:49 PM on August 25, 2010


If there's any possibility that you might want to apply for US permanent residency, your job title takes on additional importance. The employment-based green card process is premised on a particular job role (which in practice is often correlated with your job title). That process will almost certainly take a number of years, and your job role can't change without putting the process in jeopardy. This can limit your opportunities for promotion, changing companies etc. (I personally know a number of folks who have had to turn down promotions and external job opportunities because they didn't want to risk a title change that might ruin their employment-based green card process). Google "changing job titles during green card" for some grotty details, and/or talk to an immigration lawyer.

tl;dr -- if you think you might want to get a green card through work, try to pick a job title that's flexible/generic and that you can see "lasting" you through many years.
posted by kanuck at 1:04 PM on August 25, 2010


What? No. Those orgs may try to claim this, but that is not what makes you an engineer. "Engineer" is like "scientist", it's a description of a function, not a title like "Doctor" which implies certification.

Cultural differences: a good starting place is wikipedia's "Restrictions on use of engineer title". I have an engineering degree from a Canadian school but have worked mostly in the US.. my experience is that WinnipegDragon's position is fairly common in Canada, not so much in the US.
posted by kanuck at 1:15 PM on August 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


People aren't the only things that need to be managed.

This. I had the title Manager (Systems Manager, Network Manager, Product Manager) for years without any direct reports, and it was never "title inflation." Managing a function is still management - as you have to worry about projects, deliverables and budgets.

On the other hand, a Director without any direct reports is probably over the line from my perspective.
posted by deadmessenger at 3:32 PM on August 25, 2010


our IT guy's title is 'IT Specialist'
posted by jus7brea7he at 5:11 PM on August 25, 2010


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