Recruiting confusion . . .

What Ever Happened to Our Professional Positions?

by Conrad Weisert
May 30, 2010

©2010, Information Disciplines, Inc.
This article may be circulated freely, as long as the copyright credit is included.

Another job fair

Today's E-mail brought an invitation to a "career fair" sponsored by one of those Internet recruiting firms. If you wanted to register, you had to fill out an online form which demanded: Please select a job title from a fixed menu of possibilities. They presumably meant the job the recipient was seeking. There was no way to select more than one. This was the list:

One gets the feeling not only that the recruiting firm not only doesn't understand some of those jobs, but also that they don't understand the differences among a position (Desktop Support Specialist), an activity (Technical Support), and a piece of furniture (Help Desk). Our main concern, however, should be what's missing.

No programmers?

If you thought that programmers were the professionals most commonly sought by recruiters, you were surprised that they didn't appear in the list. Instead:

  • There were several kinds of "developer", a possible indication that the recruiting firm doesn't understand what creative people do.
  • An entry for "programmer-analyst", a designation that was mysterious in 1975 and remains so today. Is that supposed to be someone who's equally skilled at both analysis and design?
  • A puzzling entry for "web developer/programmer". Why does the web get to have programmers while the rest of the world has to make do with developers? What's the significance of the slash that separates the two terms?

If you were a top-rated highly-experienced generalist programmer, which title would you select?

Top ten jobs

Computerworld, May 21, 2012, p. 36, quoting U.S. News & World Report, listed the "top 10 jobs of 2012". The second and ninth best jobs were:

  1. Software developer
  2. Computer programmer

Q:   What does a computer programmer do?

A:   Develops software!

No methodology administrator

I was particularly disappointed that one of the most essential positions in a large I.T. organization isn't mentioned at all: the person responsible for disseminating information about the organization's standards, conventions, guidelines, preferred methods, techniques, and processes and for supporting them with education and consulting assistance. Some organizations call him or her the "Methodology Administrator", but there are other terms, none of which appears in the above list.

Several years ago we feared that organizations, seeking to optimize extreme-short-range return, were losing interest in methodology, but the recent explosive growth of interest in both the Capability Maturity Model and ISO 9000 has put an end to those fears.

A good Methodology Administrator is likely to be the single most valuable staff member in a development organization. A recruiting forum that disregards it can hardly be taken seriously.

Return to Management articles
IDI home page.

Last modified May 22, 2012