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I want to create a list of ranks for the employees in my company. We are an open source integrator that works usually with existing solutions and also building custom solutions.

We don't want to name our employees as normal senior consultant, trainee and we would like give them ranks as forums do to the users.

Does anyone have any suggestion for this?

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closed as off topic by Dynamic, Glenn Nelson, gnat, Blrfl, Walter Dec 29 '12 at 13:30

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Are these ranks/titles going to be for internal use, or will you be using them when dealing with clients? – rjzii Oct 19 '10 at 12:55
The guy at the top could be called the Enterprise Architect :-) – billy.bob Oct 19 '10 at 13:00
We are going to use this internally and external. We don't mind the rank names are funny or not conventional, that's the way we are. – Itsdiogo Oct 21 '10 at 11:38
@billy.bob: In German, Architekt can be sound very similar to Arschitekt (Arse-itect). ;-) – Giorgio Dec 29 '12 at 11:34

This is a tricky situation. You are straying into some seriously ego-driven territory here, particularly with people who identify very strongly with their work. I have seen people get VERY twisted over being a Developer III when somebody else they consider inferior is a Developer IV.

Usually when a system with grades like this is put in place it is because there is a push for some kind of a standardization. It usually appears with a pay scale. Almost always it is a larger organization. In smaller organizations you usually wind up with a title prefix like "Senior" or "Chief" as a way to differentiate. In all cases what you are doing is making a hierarchy visible and using it as a way for people to measure themselves. If this is your goal, then go ahead and put in some kind of a system.

Be aware that you will immediately ruffle feathers when people find out they are not seen by management as the best on the team. Also be prepared for the demands of "When will I make the next grade?" This will come hand in hand with a demand for more compensation. If the compensation winds up tied to the title then people will be able to figure out what you are paying the new hire and this will spawn more issues.

If it's internal, maybe tie it to some kind of objective metric like number of releases authored, bugs resolved, etc. This would feed the need for recognition but not be something you'd have to put on a business card.

In my own experience I just called everyone "Software Developer" and made sure that I communicated with everyone all the time so that I could head off any feelings of ill will, etc. It also cut down somewhat on "that's not my job" comments. The only person who wound up as a "Senior Software Developer" had minor management duties. It was not perfect and had its own issues but overall worked for me. YMMV.

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+1. You could have people with the same job title and totally different remuneration packages working in the same team. There's no need to assign job titles when you can just give them varying levels of responsibility. – JBRWilkinson Oct 19 '10 at 21:10
Also, giving people big job titles raises their salary expectations, inflates their CV and therefore the likelihood of being tempted away by the same job title in a higher-paying company elsewhere.... – JBRWilkinson Oct 19 '10 at 21:14
Hi Todd, thanks for you answer. We place a system with grades because people want carer plans and they want to know they can go further. This is just a title. Besides this we are using a "badge" system regarding people expertize on certain tech like "CSS2 badge". The ranks are needed because we have to pay different rates to different people. What i was looking was for names that programmer would like to have in this rank. – Itsdiogo Oct 21 '10 at 11:44


Keep monetary rewards separate from social rewards.

Please read this article for further explaination.

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Good article! Thanks for the link. – Todd Williamson Oct 19 '10 at 19:17
thanks for your link. We do this having a badge system like foursquare but related to tech. – Itsdiogo Oct 21 '10 at 11:45

Assigning creative professionals into an official hierarchy is a great way to increase animosity and lower productivity and satisfaction.

Instead, use ranks that recognize the strengths of a given individual while at the same time intentionally preventing any sort of ordering or comparison.

For example, someone with a reputation for being able to make programs run faster might be "Chief Code Accelerator", while someone who is your go-to-guy for getting difficult operations to work together might be your "Coordinator in Chief".

Make everyone feel like the king of their own little mountain, and they'll do what they can to live up to the reputation.

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Guild style- apprentice, craftsman, journeyman, master - can be applied to any stream of developer, architect or other technical type and describes things rather nicely, to my mind.

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thanks, was thinking in something more funny :) or more geeky – Itsdiogo Oct 21 '10 at 11:46
In that case, check out the "Awesome titles for programmers" thread... – glenatron Oct 21 '10 at 13:19
can you provide me a link please? – Itsdiogo Oct 21 '10 at 15:38
Right here:… – glenatron Oct 21 '10 at 16:11

I think you should go with something feudal sounding, such as "Baron Bob of Iterations", or "Prince Larry of Encapsulation". That would look awesome on business cards.

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Awesome to whom? You give business cards to customers - are they going to find that awesome or childish? Would that convince them to do business with you? – JBRWilkinson Oct 19 '10 at 21:11
If I have to choose between two contractors, one calling himself a 'Senior Chief Data Infrastructure Architect', and the other 'Prince Wally of the OpCode', I'm going with the latter because 1) I like working with people who have a sense of humor, and 2) the former is just shoveling crap. – GrandmasterB Oct 20 '10 at 6:51
i think you're taking wrong the idea. Programmers only meet customers after the sales occurred. I think having soft names, easies the relation with a customer don't you agree? – Itsdiogo Oct 21 '10 at 11:47

Biggest problem I see with this, is while it may be fun internally, it really creates problems when employees try to use these clever names on a resume or job profile.

It is best to use industry standard names with HR, Business Cards, Performance reviews etc.

Nothing says immature on a resume as a job title like "Code Fairy".

Something that people may not be fully aware of is that when applying for another job or getting a security clearance etc., the job titles on the application must match what HR tells the recruiter, or security consultant that is verifying this information.

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Scalar is a entry level

Composite is regular developer

Function is senior

Macro or Template is the architect

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thanks, was thinking in something more funny :) or more geeky – Itsdiogo Oct 21 '10 at 11:46

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