Please help me find a job title!
May 29, 2007 10:33 PM   Subscribe

I'm joining a startup soon, and I've been told that I can choose my own title.

I'll be doing end-to-end software QA including testing, doing design, coding, and writing specification documents. I suppose the generic term is 'Software Engineer', but I'd like something a bit more interesting. I appeal to the hive mind for ideas for a cool (but still descriptive) job title!
posted by ysabet to Work & Money (31 answers total)
Chief Perfectionist
posted by seawallrunner at 10:43 PM on May 29, 2007

damn, pressed ENTER too soon

Chief Perfectionist Production and Procedure Officer. Make that C3PO
posted by seawallrunner at 10:45 PM on May 29, 2007 [3 favorites]

QA Manager? QA Director? Quality control manager?
posted by lackutrol at 10:49 PM on May 29, 2007

lackutrol: QA is part of my job, but not really all of it. I'll also be doing documentation, specification, and code writing. I guess my phrasing was unclear.
posted by ysabet at 11:00 PM on May 29, 2007

Where do you want to go after this job? Think: what do you want on your resume after this?

"QA Manager" or something like that would be good if you want to go into / stay in QA, but if you want to do something else, you should change the title to make it more broad-based.

This is a pretty big opportunity, but it depends on what your long-term goals are.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:09 PM on May 29, 2007


Or Software Coordinator. Perhaps the word supervisor or manager would be good too.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:15 PM on May 29, 2007


Thing is, I'm one of two developers/testers in the company ... and my boss is the other one. Supervisor/manager titles are not so good, as I have no minions :(

... not yet, anyway.
posted by ysabet at 11:21 PM on May 29, 2007

Systems Architect ?

The reason you can choose your title is because you'll be wearing so many hats it won't matter.
posted by matholio at 11:30 PM on May 29, 2007

I recommend that whatever your title ends up being, it needs to have God, Lord or some archaic title it somewhere. For example:

God of Breakage
God of Launch Delays
Lord of Documentation
Baron of Brokenness
Design Demigod
Archduke of Documents

Be certain to display serious hubris at all times.
posted by IronLizard at 11:52 PM on May 29, 2007


Seriously tempting, adjusted for gender :)
posted by ysabet at 12:12 AM on May 30, 2007

Senior code monkey
posted by junesix at 12:23 AM on May 30, 2007

Kadin's advice is very sound, I think, and as slick as "Baroness of Brokenness" sounds, I think that something too zany will only help your career in companies like Google that pride themsleves on (or at least give lip service to) zaniness.

The evil Catberts of the world are usually shrewd enough not to take a title at face value, so it should be reasonably accurate. I like matholio's suggestion, but would make it "senior systems architect" or even "director of systems architecture" (OK, maybe going too far). Not very creative, perhaps, but also not too pompous while suggestive of authority and expertise. Even if the title does not comprehensively capture your job description, something along the lines of "system architect" will enable non-IT people to easily envision (however inaccurately) your job.
posted by Bixby23 at 12:42 AM on May 30, 2007

Wallet Inspector.

But seriously, QA Manager is probably the best descriptor for your position.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:01 AM on May 30, 2007

Geek Priestess

Hey, that's not the wallet inspector?!?!!
posted by YoBananaBoy at 1:20 AM on May 30, 2007

Refrain from silliness. There are very few times when titles matter, and they are all fraught with danger.

* On a business card
* On a resume
* What you say to your co-workers
* On an email sig
* What you say to customers
* What you say to others in the industry

They all have different sociological baggage. Are you really going to describe yourself to the hot girl at the industry cocktail party as the "Design Demigod?" That's only cute when it's a frat party.

"Systems Architect" is all you need.
posted by frogan at 1:21 AM on May 30, 2007

posted by ericales at 1:38 AM on May 30, 2007

Chief Evangelist

Perhaps not entirely suited to your role, but a great title none the less.
posted by Hates_ at 2:07 AM on May 30, 2007

I always liked "Crew Chief" from Microserfs.

Gotta go with frogan, though - Systems Architect is the right description, is good for your resume, and "architect" carries a certain gravitas.

Nobody's going to search a resume database for "Crew Chief".
posted by Leon at 2:31 AM on May 30, 2007


Your advice is good. However, I do need to consider the following:
- I already have to reduce my title to 'geek' at parties, to get some vague idea of what I do across.
- My sole co-worked suggested 'Code Ninja'.
- I already have to explain every title on my resume every time I interview anyway. I would like at least one not to be boring, and hopefully less misleading than others.
- Client Industry: well ... they don't get the distinction between systems administrator and programmer, so anything beyond 'IT chick' is lost. Sometimes, the IT part gets replaced with 'hot', and at that point it really doesn't matter what my title is.
- The section of IT we're in ... I'm pretty sure the term 'code ninja' was invented by one of the leading companies.

That said, 'Systems Architect' is probably a pretty safe bet.
posted by ysabet at 3:09 AM on May 30, 2007

Why not have a title for internal use, and a title for external use?

Internal can be fun, external can be serious.
posted by djgh at 3:53 AM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Senior Beverage Technician!

Senior / Systems Engineer, but I prefer engineering over architect since the latter can be without any actual coding :)
posted by lundman at 4:58 AM on May 30, 2007

Uppity Bit Flinger
posted by mikepop at 5:49 AM on May 30, 2007

I don't know if this will work for you but my partner in I – in an unrelated but creative industry – have insisted we have no titles on our business cards. Somehow this mysteriousness imbues us with more status than any title we could have conjured up.
posted by lpsguy at 6:03 AM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

At one job my title was Wing Commander. It was a VLSI testing company, not the military. I don't know if Wing Commander is really a military rank, anyway. I had a colleague whose business card said Sr. Software Hostage. He wanted it to be Sr. /bin/ld Hostage, but the HR staff drew the line at that.
posted by vilcxjo_BLANKA at 6:50 AM on May 30, 2007

I met a dude who worked for Pixar once and the title on his business card was, "Swiss Army Knife."
posted by The Straightener at 7:15 AM on May 30, 2007

I used to work at a 3-man Landscape Architecture firm. My boss was "President and Principal Designer". My co-worker was "Studio Manager" or something.
Me? I was just "Architect". By choice. It took me 7 years to get that title, and that was more than enough for me.
posted by signal at 7:27 AM on May 30, 2007

Vice President for Global Operations.

Can't beat it.
posted by OldReliable at 7:44 AM on May 30, 2007

You could also do something half serious, like Systems Architect Ninja.

That would allow you to give the title both gravity and levity.
In the future, if you need to you can drop the fun part off for the resumes.
posted by dreamling at 7:44 AM on May 30, 2007

I have always been partial to Sr. Vice President of whatever the fuck you do or want people to think you do. Say it with me now, I'm the Sr. VP for...
posted by willie11 at 8:39 AM on May 30, 2007

I like "Chancellor of Systems" - you encompass several different areas (i.e. countries), and since you have but one co-worker, you probably have next-to-no actual oversight, few peers, and are nigh-unusurpable.

But I'm witty like that.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 9:36 AM on May 30, 2007

I knew a guy at Apple who's title was "Damage Control"

I always liked that.

Also System's Architect implies a certain advanced knowledge of Programming Design. I'd be careful using that if you don't have the skill set.

I've had both inside and outside titles, there's nothing saying you can't have "code wrangler" on your business card and Software Engineer on your resume.
posted by bitdamaged at 11:08 AM on May 30, 2007

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