Contract ninjas and technical Jedis – a look behind non-traditional tech job titles

22 Jun 2012

Did you want to be a ninja or a Jedi when you grew up? Well, now’s your chance, as job listings with the term ‘ninja’ and ‘Jedi’ have boomed between May 2006 and May 2012, a recent analysis by job search site Indeed.com reveals. Job listings with the term ‘ninja’ have rocketed 2,505pc and job listings seeking a ‘Jedi’ have increased 67pc during that time period.

Stephen Riley, director at IntaPeople, had attributed this increase to the rise of social media and its relaxed nature.

“Many feel that casting away conventional titles will help them broadcast their individuality and give them a real edge over their competitors,” he said.

As cool as job titles like ‘ninja’ and ‘Jedi’ sound, a closer look at job listings reveals unorthodox job titles by themselves are only a vague reflection of what the jobs actually entail.

Jedis and ninjas and gurus, oh my

In addition to Jedis and ninjas, ‘gurus’ and ‘evangelists’ are also in high demand, with tech giant Microsoft, in particular, being fond of using the term ‘evangelist’ in its job listings, Indeed.com’s analysis shows.

What the heck does an evangelist do, anyway? Taking the example of the Cloud Evangelist Job Microsoft has advertised online, this person’s role would be to help “business and technical influencers, developers, IT pros, ISV/CSV partners, and start-ups understand the technical strategy, competitive differentiation, and core platform value proposition of Windows Azure and adjacent platform technologies, including Windows and Windows Phone.”

Wannabe ninjas can apply to Palantir Technologies, which is on the lookout for a Contract Ninja to join its team of ‘Legal Ninjas’. In other words, a contract manager, who “will be responsible for supporting numerous complex commercial transactions, both domestic and foreign.”

Over at EMC, the more traditional job title for the Technical Jedi it is seeking is ‘technical account manager’. The individual in this role “provides custom integration implementation support on EMC products involving software, at the customer site, including pre-site inspection, initial installation, implementation, customisation, integration and outline orientation for the customer.” Readers will note there is nothing in there about wielding a light sabre.

Recruiter Stelfox posted a listing seeking a Linux Guru who will play a major role in the introduction of the company’s new global platform. In addition to having to possess a strong scripting background with Shell, Perl, and Python, the candidate will “be expected to mentor engineers, and will be involved in the hiring process.”

DigitGame Studios Ltd is also looking for a guru, as the company states in its job listing for ‘The Architect’.

“We are looking for a guru,” the job listing reads. “A unique individual so talented they don’t fit into the normal tech team structure. This person spends their life frustrated at other people, they are always wondering ‘Why did they take 10 lines to write that piece of code, it only takes one!’” Ultimately, however, The Architect will design and improve games engines.

Another job listing that is as creative as the job title is the one for StoryToys’ ‘Wizard‘. The ‘Wizard’ will defend the company “against dragons, goblins, traditional publishers and other malevolent forces.” He or she will also work on product development, sales and marketing strategies.

If you fancy yourself a genius, then get thee to Apple. An Apple Genius is technical support in Apple clothing. He or she works in an Apple store, behind the Genius bar, answering questions, doing hardware and software troubleshooting, providing basic customer training, and performing timely repairs.

Most-revamped job titles

By far the awards for most-transformed job titles go to TAG Recruitment and M-SIX Technology Inc, in Portland, Oregon.

TAG Recruitment has renamed what is basically a receptionist role as ‘Director of Awesome’.  

“The Director of Awesome role involves greeting all visitors and candidates and ensuring that everyone who walks through our doors is delighted that they did!” the job listing reads. 

“In addition to reception responsibilities, you will assist with maintaining all marketing and client database updates, with some fun stuff like planning events and parties! There will be an administrative component, including the occasional letter, invoicing, ordering and maintaining supplies (including that great coffee that we always talk about!)”

M-SIX Technology Inc says in its job listing it is looking for “talented software developers”, only the company doesn’t call them that – they are ‘Badass Rock Star Code Ninjas.’

Business card image via Shutterstock, illustrated by Siliconrepublic.com

Tina Costanza
By Tina Costanza

Tina comes to Ireland from Canada, where she held senior editorial positions at daily newspapers in Ottawa and Toronto. When she’s not saving dangling participles or managing production at Siliconrepublic.com, she’s training for 10K races or satisfying a craving for scones.

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