Computer Programmer Inflation

I was thinking the other day about the changes over the years in what we call people who write computer programs. Back in the day, we called these folks computer programmers. A rather fitting title, one would suppose, for a person who programs computers. But one would suppose wrong.

Shortly after computer programmer became the "official" title, someone, somewhere, somehow decided that it wasn't enough. After all, computer programmers do more then program, they analyze a problem and then write a program. They should, therefore, be titled programmer/analysts. One would suppose that such analysis is an implicit part of the job, much like how writers need to think about something before they actually write it. But one would suppose wrong.

Unlike the computer programmer title, programmer/analyst seemed to stick around for quite a while. In fact, it was only fairly recently that we all became software developers (or, developers for short). The change this time around was all about image; you gotta admit how much sexier developer sounds over programmer. Certainly one would suppose it's pretty hard to "sex up" an industry whose Steves out number its women (see the Steve Rule). But one would suppose wrong.

Believe it or not, developer is on its way out and we're in the middle of yet another title change. If you think about it, the problem with developer is that, if any one asked what a "developer" is, you'd have to expand it to software developer. Software == Computers == Programming == Nerdy. We can't have that!

This is where the title solution developer comes in. We're the guys who you call when you have a problem. Doesn't matter what the problem is, we will develop a solution. Heck, we can even develop solutions (by programming a computer) for problems that don't exist. We're that good.

But where do we go from here? First, we need to reach the maximum level of ambiguity possible. I'm not an expert at coming up with job titles, but I suspect solution specialist is a step in the right direction. Of course, once we've gone all the way to one side, the only place we can really go is to other extreme: a way more overblown/descriptive/nerdy sounding name than needed. When solution specialist (or whatever) expires, I really hope the replacement will end with -ologist. I would really like to be an -ologist of some sort. You know you'd like it, too.

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