Friday, 12 November 2021

Tech Job Titles

One of the most common questions I get on career panels, mentoring or coaching sessions and after talks is to explain what my job, my role actually is. There is no easy answer, because it requires an understanding of the complex dependencies of roles in "Tech" (for lack of a better word, information technology product) firms.

Information Systems, Computer Science or Design Thinking courses or books for career starters typically focus on explaining the Software Engineer (SWE) job, sometimes the Product Manager (PM) and partially process-specific rituals and roles (e.g. in Scrum the Product Owner). But rarely do they mention the difference between performing the SWE role in non-tech industry (for lack of a better word - firms or public entities that primarily exist due to non-tech “hardware” products even though they might claim to "digitalize" afraid of disruption), in consulting (firms that provide services, usually to the former, to "digitalize") and tech (firms that sell “software” products and services to gain an advantage with speeding up "digitalization"), and within tech between startups and established firms.

With recent hypergrowth, a lot has been published on "upwards"* career management and manager roles in Tech. But I haven’t seen a good resource on the continued blending of these archetypes and roles and responsibilities - with a list of observations and this article as background reading I'm trying to do so. Maybe later I’ll do a variation for non-tech industry companies and consulting firms.

tl;dr I've created a GitHub repo "awesome-tech-roles" modeled after the "Awesome Lists" with the goal of showing typical clusters of roles and references to good articles that illustrate the variety within the roles - for career starters in the tech industry. The links are examples, observations, not endorsements of my personal view. Given the bias towards SWE and PM roles I've tried to keep roughly the same number of references per role cluster and focus on established tech firms.