A stereotype about programmers that has been lurking around the world for eons is that they are these Gandalf like wizards who tame computers and make them do what they want. The usual look attributed to these human entities is that of a nerdy, geeky person, sometimes with glasses from all the coding and their usual way of work is listening to heavy metal while coding and ingesting alarmingly high amounts of pizza and cola.
Sometime between Denis Richards and 2016, tech companies decided that this perception needs to be altered and that by shining some light (like, natural light, I’ve seen way too many coder people working in the dark like they were in the Batcave or something) on them and by treating them like people, rather than some odd creature that gets startled if disturbed, they will start to expose their non-geek-computer-obsessed-wizard-like persona.
And for the most part, it seems to be working. I mean, I kind of enjoy this approach with team buildings, team outings and stuff. You get to see the human side of your colleagues. Not just the robot one.
However, I’ve seen this trend at some companies to label their positions and/or job titles with some eerie, creative names. And I’m not talking about plastering some well known character from a video game or something in the job description, no. That actually looks cool. I’m talking about companies searching for Uber Java developers. Yes, that’s right…Uber. Not middle, not senior, not expert…Uber. Or better yet, Super Villain Java developer (these were actually from the same company). Of course, should you be hired as an Evil Java dev or whatever, one of your responsibilities would be to train other henchmen (of course, that means fellow developers). Seriously, that’s in the description. What is up with that?
I mean, I get where they’re going. Be different, stand out, whatever the fudge. But I for one am not attracted to this kind of description. I mean it’s fun to read and all that…but I don’t think I’d be tempted to apply to such a job. I’d much rather see a job description or position with a simple name, but the description itself contain something resembling a higher goal of the company (you know, besides money) or some mission that the company has to finish. I think it’s because I am not the stereotypical software developer. I mean, I enjoy a lot of geek culture related stuff such as Dragon Ball and the MCU, but that’s just in my free time. If I’d have to be surrounded by people talking about this all day, I’d be more burned out than I already am about these things.
The funnier part is that this trend of silly job names has expanded to others as well. I’ve seen so many Ninja IT recruiters and other weird slang for Recruiters that I don’t even know what to think anymore.
In the end, I guess this is all about companies attempting to show that they are a place where people can have fun. But you know a better way to do this? Put a page on your website that emphasizes what fun activities one could enjoy should that person be hired in the company. Show pictures from team buildings, fun rooms, team outings etc. Way better than fancy slang. Also, if you want to catch one’s attention with a job description, drop the bullet points and tie it to the mission of the company, as I’ve mentioned before. You might be surprised at the outcome.