What’s a Title?

Someone asked me today what their title should be. Now of course I asked what they did and they said “GIS Manager”. So of course who really cares right? Is GIS Manager a bad thing? I’ve been a GIS Manager in the past and I’m not sure it has affected my ability to get work. Heck I’ve been a “Chief Evangelist” and if that doesn’t kill your job marketability then I’m not sure what does.

So after some back and forth the meat of the argument is do we want to be known as GIS “people”? Is there some negative connotation to GIS that causes us to fear it appearing on our business cards? I look at mine right now and it says “Founder”. Now that should be the death sentence to getting any work. I mean what does a “Founder” do other than talk about being a “Founder”?

My recommendation was just stick to being a GIS Manager, no one really cares and if they do, they probably aren’t a client anyway. Job titles are funny in that we all pretend to not care, but once you see it on your business card, you become self conscious. Does changing GIS into “Geo” or “Spatial” improve your outlook or attractiveness? The real focus on improving your marketability is to make sure your CV/GitHub/Website/Blog is filled with the things that you care about in your career. Maybe it’s Python, JavaScript, .NET, Silverlight (snicker), C++, ObjectiveC, Java, PostGIS, etc. These are all things that will matter to your peers and your clients more than if your title is VP of Awesome or Chief Python scrubber.

Esri Salesman

Even the Esri Salesman seems to realize his title doesn’t matter. “How many ArcGIS Servers can I put you down for?”