Thursday, July 18, 2019

Learning Technology Developer: the importance of job titles.

A couple of weeks ago I came across a blog post by Anne-Marie Scott titled "Why we need learning technology developers", and thought "I'm a 'learning technology developer', why have I never thought of having that as a job title." That led onto thinking a bit about both the importance of job titles, and the importance of having the right structures in place to support learning technology development.

"Learning technology developer" is a fairly accurate description of what I have spent most of my professional career doing, however I've never actually heard of it being used as a job title before. My current job title is something like "Senior Systems Application Developer", which is rather nonsensical - I don't do systems programming. "Senior Learning Technology Developer" would properly reflect my main role and responsibilities, so I'll probably try and get my job title changed to that.

Job titles matter, because they affect how people are perceived by human resources, and to a lesser extent by managers. That means that they affect how people are treated and what facilities they are provided with. If my job title was "Senior Research Fellow" rather than "Senior Systems Application Developer" I'm fairly sure I would not be about to be moved to an large open plan, off campus office with 90 other IT and clerical staff.

Of course, I'd still have the problem that the decision makers don't know what Learning Technology Developers are, and how they should be treated, so even with the right job title I'd still be moving into a totally inappropriate space - after all, if the decision makers had ever read "Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams", they'd never consider putting Systems Application Developers in an mixed use open-plan office.

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