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A Title To Replace "Systems Administrator"? 709

sjanich writes "A discussion has begun at SAGE on an updated title to replace "Systems Administrator". I figure more sysadmins are reading Slashdot than are reading SAGEwire. Rob Kolstad of SAGE wrote: 'What in the world do we call the collective group of those people who make computers work properly? I'm not talking about users, and I'm not talking about software developers. I am thinking of: system administrators, LAN administrators, network administrators (both kinds!), security administrators, e-mail administrators, desktop support groups, database administrators, and all the other kinds of support that keep the IT function of an institution running -- what is this huge group called?' My favorite options are "Computer Infrastructure Practitioner" or "Computer Infrastructure Specialist". The original discussion can be found here at SAGEwire."
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A Title To Replace "Systems Administrator"?

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  • by Threni ( 635302 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:11PM (#5688971)
  • by esanbock ( 513790 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:12PM (#5688986)
    The unemployment line.
  • Um... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lommer ( 566164 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:12PM (#5688988)
    Computer Techs?

    Seriously though, what's wrong with all the current names for these people? It's not like "Computer Infrastructure Specialist" is less verbose, which is the only problem I see with the current designations. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
  • by abh ( 22332 ) <> on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:12PM (#5688990) Homepage
    What's wrong with the current titles? I mean, if someone tells me they're a network administrator, I have a pretty good idea. If they say they're an e-mail administrator, likewise.

    Why replace useful titles with some generic contrived name?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:25PM (#5689148)
      It's too much work to say it. I propose the much simpler, and more accurate, "virgin."
    • Why replace useful titles with some generic contrived name?

      Cause it's fun
    • This sounds like when there was a push to rename janitors "sanitation engineers."

      Sounds like computer types are starting to identify themselves as a disenfranchised group. One of the tactics used by those groups of people who see themselves as powerless is to change their name.

      Old folks --> Senior Citizens
      Garbageman --> Sanitation Worker
      Hooker --> Sex Worker
      Mechanic --> Technician

      And lets not forget the double play
      Negro --> Black --> African American

      Sometimes it works, sometime
    • What's wrong with the current titles? I mean, if someone tells me they're a network administrator, I have a pretty good idea

      I'd say that the term "network administrator" is ambiguous. To they administer the Microsoft Windows servers and user base, or to they work with Network equipment (switches, routers, PABXs etc.).

      In a previous position I worked in the âoeserver managementâ team, and there was a separate âoenetwork teamâ. One of the programmers once seriously asked me if there

  • by dtolton ( 162216 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:13PM (#5689002) Homepage
    I read through the posts on SAGEWire and as I was reading them,
    some of the things he mentioned like a Salary Survey would still
    want to get a specific title. The reason for this is the
    differences in salaries between a Database Administrator and an
    E-mail Administrator can be vast.

    Maybe if we look to the medical field we can get some insight.
    They have the term "General Practitioner" or "Family Doctor" as
    a broad term that applies to many things. However the
    specialist terms such as "Cardiologist", "Neuro-Surgeon",
    "Ortho-pedic" still apply. So in that sense the title conveys
    some very useful information. You definitely want to know if
    you are hiring a Cardiologist or a General Practicioner for that
    open heart surgery.

    In that vein I would be in favor of adding terms along these
    System Generalist
    Computer System Generalist
    Server Generalist

    Perhaps you could break it down by category, this would still
    offer a more generic, but allow for some categorization:

    Software Generalist Hardware Generalist
    • Geek does not carry the negative connotation it once did (I grew up when being a "geek" was NOT a good thing)... how about simply different types of geeks? Wear your geek credentials as a badge of honor:

      Networking geek
      Web geek
      Code geek
      Server geek

      For instance, I'm a Physician, or Doctor... and I typically go by that simple title (if I tell people what I do at all... often I don't want them knowing what I do for a living). I also go by my first name, last name, or whatever somebody wants to call me...
  • Pointless banter (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jade42 ( 608565 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:13PM (#5689005) Journal
    Why do we humans have the need to have these great sweeping titles for everything. Sometimes, if it is not broken, do not fix it. All we need is another word to stick in the part of our brain marked 'useless stuff'.
  • by AsnFkr ( 545033 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:13PM (#5689007) Homepage Journal
    I'm known as "bitch".
    • My girl friends dad is the Sultan of Software.

      I my self am a Microcomputer support Tech. I do sys administratation, take care of the network and server, etc. and various bitch work cause they don't like me sitting around waiting for something to break allday.
      • Hmmmm. At the studio that I run with my wife and two friends of ours, if everything is working, I'm "the computer guy." If something breaks and I manage to fix it quickly and without apparent effort, I'm "A Genius!". If something breaks and I have to spend the rest of the day futzing with it, I'm "a musician who fixes computers."
  • Descriptive (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:13PM (#5689010)
    Keep it simple and descriptive:

    technological janitors.

    I never get called unless something's fucked up, and nobody gives a damn
    what I do until it's broken. My job's just about as glamorous too.
    • If only there was a "+1 Tragically Funny"...

      Thats *EXACTLY* what my years of employment as a Systems Admin were like.

    • You stole my idea, darn it - I was going to say "e-janitor". Except janitors don't usually get paged at 3am.
    • Re:Descriptive (Score:3, Interesting)

      by disc-chord ( 232893 )
      Keep it simple and descriptive:
      technological janitors.

      I prefer the term "Custodian". It is a better description of the job. Face it, if you're not a developer you're a care-taker.

      My suggestions:
      Custodian of Technology
      Infrastructure Custodian
      Grounds-Keeper Willy

  • "Your Company's Computer Guy"
  • by Quadrature ( 524139 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:14PM (#5689018)
    Network Engineering Responsive Dedicated Specialists
  • Obvious (Score:5, Funny)

    by CodeWheeney ( 314094 ) <{moc.liam} {ta} {ydissaCmiJ}> on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:14PM (#5689026) Homepage
    You shall call them Sir/Ma'am.

  • by rosewood ( 99925 ) <rosewood AT chat DOT ru> on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:15PM (#5689027) Homepage Journal
    I just call myself a whore :(
  • Unemployed?
  • Common usage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Telastyn ( 206146 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:15PM (#5689032)
    is IT guy. Nobody outside of IT, engineering and HR can even tell the difference between the job distinctions. Just like I cannot tell the difference between the different HR positions. They're all just HR people to me.
  • Speaking as a non sysadmin I always reserve a little bit of reverence for the "sysadmin." I think the term has enough legacy and meaning to warrant thinking twice before changing it. Plus, it's a bit of a standard in a field where standardized titles are hard to come by.
  • BOFH (Score:5, Funny)

    by SILIZIUMM ( 241333 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:15PM (#5689034) Homepage
    What about BOFH ?
  • "Computer Infrastructure Practitioner" is retarded. you are an "IT Specialist". deal with it.
  • by silvakow ( 91320 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:16PM (#5689042)
    John Dobson, h4x0r hunter, at your service. Aull roight, time to geht to work on this server. Oh, a skript kiddie, the worst koind!
  • Just work it out... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lakeland ( 218447 ) <> on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:16PM (#5689044) Homepage
    System administrators, LAN administrators, network administrators, security administrators, e-mail administrators, database administrators.

    What do all these terms have in common? That's right, administrator. And what about System, LAN, network, security, email and database. Well, you'd have to go for something generic like computer.

    Voila, new term: computer administrator. Though personally I don't see what is wrong with the specific terms they had before.

    • That term already exists. It's called System Administrator.

      All the other terms are just tweaks on that basic title.

    • I don't think computer is the right word for the commonality. Networks connect computers -- which means they are something different than computers.

      How about "Information Technology" instead of computer? They you are, drumroll, an "IT administrator".

      This term is not glamourous, but descriptive, and likely to actually be comprehended without inspiring buzzword apprehension.
  • We call them... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pjdepasq ( 214609 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:16PM (#5689045)
    what is this huge group called?

    Highly desirable employees.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Former Systems Administrator?

  • Thats what they call me. And other people who work in Computer Department.
    • I put my occupation as "Computer Guy" on my tax forms. Since I do EVERYTHING (purchasing, system integration, server maintainence, writing software, helping users), I figure it was the only thing that was appropriate.

      I know it's really general, but it does fit.
  • by Blaine Hilton ( 626259 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:16PM (#5689054) Homepage
    There are so many names that are possible. I see two solutions. One is where people can make up whatever title they choose, this is basically what's happening now, except only the managers and other bigwigs get to decide. The more thoughtful practice though would be to set some (inter)national standards, much like the W3C web standards. That way if you carry a certain title, it means a certain something, not like now where anybody can (and do) say they are anything and that really doesn't help anyone either.
  • How about IT whipping boy/whipping girl? I've been shooting for "Lord High Master Of All Known Reality (tm)" for a while now, but no one in my group seems to buy it.

    At least I'm no longer the "Sub Assistant Junior Whipping Boy".
  • by B3ryllium ( 571199 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:19PM (#5689077) Homepage
    As soon as I saw this story, WinAmp started playing "Freak on a Leash"
  • I get to hear them all - from "evangelist" (marketing manager) to "chief cheerleader" (comms manager) to vice president in charge of watching America's Cup yachting, please interview him so we can put his holiday to your sunny islands on our business expenses.

    the old adage is true - the longer the title the less the person does. If you administer systems, then you're an system administrator. You're not an entrenching tool.
  • Digital Plumber
    Electron Wrangler
    High Priests of the Binary Church
  • by linuxwrangler ( 582055 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:20PM (#5689089)
    System Administrator.

    I'm sick of all this puffery like domestic engineer (housewife), sanitation technician (garbageman), administrative assistant (secretary).

    According to a system is "A group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent elements forming a complex whole." Sounds pretty accurate and all-encompasing to me.

    If you can't be proud of the work you do without changing its name you have a lot bigger problems than your job title.
    • I've never understood why people don't like to be called secretaries. I mean, you have people like Secretary of State, or Secretary of Treasury, and they're perfectly respectable positions, even positions of honor.

      On the other hand, being "administrative assistant" highlights that you're someone's assistant. (as in "my bitch")

      And who are you fooling anyways? By now, most people equate "administrative assistant" == secretary, anyways.

  • Survivors Of The Implosion

  • by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:20PM (#5689095) guys actually get called by your title? I usually get called "the internet's down".
  • My experience (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Obiwan Kenobi ( 32807 ) <evan&misterorange,com> on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:20PM (#5689098) Homepage
    I've been sys admin'ing now, professionally, for over 5 years. I love my job.

    I've had many titles over that period of time, and they include:

    Computer Operator
    LAN Administrator
    Systems Administrator
    Systems Analyst
    Computer Technician
    Network Analyst
    Web Developer
    and finally,
    Network Administrator

    The latter is my current title, though they're about to slap and additional one (Web Developer) on there as well. I have no problems with that, though regardless of my Network Admin/Web Dev status, I will still be called out to fix a printer, or switch out RAM, or go through old RS/6000 logs looking for some stray error message.

    I've worked all of my sys admin jobs at financial institutions. I've worked for both banks and credit unions (credit unions have the edge, in my experience), in groups large and small. The largest group was about 8 guys, the smallest just me and my boss. They both have their problems. But that's not what this discussion is about.

    This discussions is about how to label a guy who can't really have a label. Technician is so vague that it doesn't carry merit. Specialist too suffers from the same thing. Stick "Computer" in front of them, and you still have the vagarities that reek of any title that a job may provide you with.

    Most places, unless they're Conglomerates (and all that that implies), want you to go above and beyond. This means that sometimes titles are left by the wayside as you throw a box in your car and hightail it to a destination, ready to provide that quick fix.

    This discussion is moot and pointless in my opinion. Network Administrators and System Administrators will, in small shops, most likely be doing each others job at least part of the time.

    No title is infallible, no title can encompass everything that you do or provide. Do not look for one to do so, because it does not, and can not, exist.
    • Simple. If you are in such a small shop that you really have 5 job titles rather than 1, then just list all of them. Don't bother making up fancy new titles. Just acknowledge the fact that you should really have more than one.
  • How about "Computer Janitor"

    And it works for specialisation as well.

    See : "Network Janitor", "Software Janitor",


    (Well it beats Nerdy-Smelly-Guy-Who-Acts-Superior-To-People-Who-D o-Other-Stuff-Besides-Computers)

    Don't forget most sysadmins are just support crew...
  • While my professional title changes per job(currently 'Sr. Systems Engineer"...oooo, impressive huh? ;)), my resume has said Systems Administrator for a while now. Personally I worked very hard to get that title.....and feel no need to change it. Sounds like the same as giving Unix a new name cause no one really knows what it means or is...what really matters is that the people who hire me(and they have yet to stop doing that) know exactly what it means and how important I am to them.

    So? why do I need a ne
  • by Kefaa ( 76147 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:23PM (#5689126)
    The difficulty with titles is the are often usurped by people who believe they do the same thing. Human Resource departments have become expert at this.
    Programmer - codes programs
    System Administrator - Reboots computers. Called when mail not working or I cannot open Outlook or the network is down.

    Rather than look for a new name, they should be working on describing a lists of talents, duties, and capabilities that define a system administrator. This should be augmented with a level of competence to allow for Junior Systems Administrator, Systems Administrator, Senior Systems Administrator, and finally Master Systems Administrator.

    It probably also needs two paths. One Unix/Linux and one Windows. You could probably even make an argument for splitting Unix/Linux if you wish.

    I have taken this approach internally and it has smoothed things greatly. Now when I speak with HR, and tell them I am looking for a Systems Admin they know what criteria they need to look for. A global standard would only make it that much easier for everyone.
    • Rather than look for a new name, they should be working on describing a lists of talents, duties, and capabilities that define a system administrator. This should be augmented with a level of competence to allow for Junior Systems Administrator, Systems Administrator, Senior Systems Administrator, and finally Master Systems Administrator.

      It probably also needs two paths. One Unix/Linux and one Windows. You could probably even make an argument for splitting Unix/Linux if you wish.

      You, uh, do know what

  • System Administrators has a nice ring to it.

    More syllables than most of my customers can deal with, and it gets the point across.

    No offence, but is this a slow news day or something?
  • by wfmcwalter ( 124904 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:24PM (#5689137) Homepage
    There's a strong inverse correlation between job title and importance. Influential, important people have jobs like "doctor", "lawyer", "president". Doctors _aren't_ called "advanced internal healthcare treatment professional". Consequently, if you want to sound like a lowly prole with a job title that's supposed to make up for your tiny salary, get yourself a long title full of "power" words.

    And my job description? I'm a

  • What everyone not involved in some form or fashion with technology calls us: "The IT guy"
  • Well, come on. It's obvious.

    Technicalis Omnium Imperator


    Master of Things Digitized and Otherwise


    Electronic Information Steward


    Informatics Guardsman

  • Dang it! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Saint Aardvark ( 159009 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:27PM (#5689173) Homepage Journal
    I did not just spend two years on helpdesk so I could be a "Computer Infrastructure Practitioner". Think that's gonna scare anyone?
  • BOFH (Score:2, Funny)

    by opkool ( 231966 )
    This one it's easy:

    BOFH [].

    And it's a winning word for this three reasons

    1. It's an acronym (HR loves acronyms)
    2. It describes exactly your job function
    3. Nobody except BOFHers know what BOFH means

  • by dacarr ( 562277 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:29PM (#5689188) Homepage Journal
    While "manager" denotes job security, it also implies cluelessness.
  • by nettdata ( 88196 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:31PM (#5689204) Homepage
    In a word... root

    MCSE's need not apply.

  • Consider that many of us are out on our arses in this econonmy. I would think it's better then telling our real title, Dishwasher.
  • Time to revisit the Geek Code []! Life imitating art, I tell you what!
  • by Black Jack Hyde ( 2374 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:36PM (#5689240)
    A thousand years ago, we'd all be priests. Think about it.
    1. There's a small number of priests who care for a much larger number of supplicants.
    2. We speak arcane tongues (Perl/C/assembly/etc) not accessible to the general public.
    3. The deeper areas of our server rooms/places of worship intimidate the masses.
    4. Even the purported leaders defer to us when questions related to 'greater knowledge' come up in discussion.
    5. Admit it, you'd love to indulge in an Inquisition at your workplace.
    6. People come to us for deliverance when no one else can aid them.
    7. Few beings are more frightening than an evil priest/BOFH.
    8. Priests mostly do not socialize with the public at large.
    9. Bread and wine == pizza and beer.
    10. No priest or admin will turn down a monetary offering.


  • ...I like being called Big Daddy.

    To be serious for a moment, I could live with Network Guru or Captain of the Infrastructure. My favorite "dot-com boom" job title was "Great and Powerful Network Magician". I think that was at

    I saw the ad and knew I should never ever work at a place with such an absurd name for its employees... They also had stuff like "Perl/C++ Code Wizard".
  • Its a bunch of systems. They administrate them. Simple.
  • by A_Non_Moose ( 413034 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:39PM (#5689270) Homepage Journal
    As in "kneel before Zod!".

    Accept no substitutes.
  • Forget it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shodson ( 179450 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:40PM (#5689277) Homepage
    It doesn't matter. If sysadmins change their title to be X people will still refer to them as sysadmins. Just like "software engineers", "developers", "systems architect", etc. are still called "programmers" by most people.
  • by t0qer ( 230538 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:40PM (#5689280) Homepage Journal
    I'm sick and tired of being the corporate whipping boy for the executive staff.

  • At our company we call all SysAdmins: System Engineers. In some places in the US and Canada is it against the law to use the term Engineer in your title if you did not graduate from an accredited engineering school. However, in British Columbia there is no such law on the books so we are free to use it. When applying for jobs in other places it looks really good to have the title Engineer on your resume.

  • "'What in the world do we call the collective group of those people who make computers work properly?

    Uh, miracle workers?

  • I am known... (Score:3, Insightful)

    I am known around him simply as ... him.

    My full title is "He who must remain nameless."

    I am cherished, yet feared. For why else can no one think of my name? Pass them in the hall, its "Hey, er...". I am a part of every project, but always left out of the credits.

    My role is so integral to the operation of the building that it is simply assumed.

    And that's what I keep telling myself to keep from going crazy.

  • "My name is 'root.' But you can call me 'God'."

    Unfortunately, that's *NIX specific. But from a (l)user perspective, we can drop the 'root' part and just have them call us God.

    There has to be SOME reward to the job after all!

  • How about ? (Score:5, Funny)

    by msoftsucks ( 604691 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @07:57PM (#5689397)
    How about CRAP (Computer repair and administration practitioner)? ;)
  • First off, most professional titles confer a level of expertise, as well as the area. I propose the following for the computer field:


    • Server - Management of a specific system, OS, and hardware
    • Database - Management of a data set
    • Network - Management or routers, switches, and network infrastructure
    • Workstation - Helpdesk functions
    • Systems - Management of all data-center operations (Server, Database, and Network)

    Levels of Ability

    • Apprentice - Your average precocious kid, or computer dude in the lab.
    • Journeyman - Has worked with several different networks with at least 1 year of professional experience.
    • Master - Has assembled a complete system within his/her specialty and kept it running for one full year.
    • Engineer - Has designed a novel new system, published the design, and has supported the development for one year.
    • Guru - Has been active in the Computer community for at least 5 years. Has a strong enough opinion about an issue to piss off as many poeple as he/she turns on. Is generally regarded simultaneously as Insane and Genius. Has a day job, but most of his/her fun stuff is done after hours.
  • Titles (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trolling4Dollars ( 627073 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @09:07PM (#5689772) Journal
    I've always had problems with titles like "expert" and "specialist" (even though my title contains the word specialist in it). Mainly because I don't believe in experts or specialist. People who actively WANT to be addressed by these titles are typically not very qualified to carry them. And in general, the titles are quite misleading. I'm VERY GOOD at what I do, but I am no expert or specialist by any means. Anyone who has the pride to think that they can fill those titles is delusional.

    I've always preferred "admin" myself since it carries the correct ring of authority, but still stops at classifying the holder as a complete expert. The problem is that a lot of suits don't like it because they feel it's their term. I remember once proposing to a former employer that they change my title from "Technology Specialist" to "Network Admin" since that's what I really was. they balked at that. But about a year later, the employer conceded that it was a legitimate title and more fitting of what I did. Their hesitance seemed to have to do with the fact that they felt that the word "Administration" applied to the suites on the top floor and not with the grunts on the ground floor. (Or in the basement as was my case at the time)

    On the other hand, some other titles that might fit are:

    -IT Manager (as in, the manager of the information technology used by others)
    -Digital Information Stylist (tongue in cheek here folks)
    -AEtherlord (OK... now I'm going way over the top)

    One particular title I can't STAND is "Knowledge Manager". These guys are typically suits who wish they knew about technology but are really an obstruction standing between the computers and the people who know how to ue them. It's sad because Knowledge Management really DOES have a real purpose, but it's been co-opted by the middle managers who want to "orchestrate" things they don't understand. (And schmooze and play golf three days of every work week)

    Just my $.02
  • My Titles (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JWSmythe ( 446288 ) <jwsmythe@jwsmy[ ].com ['the' in gap]> on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @09:41PM (#5689915) Homepage Journal
    Do I need a title change? I've changed the names I use online more frequently than my title. :)

    I use "Senior Systems Administrator". If anyone questions what that includes, the answer is "yes". As far as I'm concerned, the full description is "The person directly responsible for any event within any part of the company."

    I'm the company psycharist, listening to people's personal problems.

    I'm the company mechanic, fixing broken cars in the parking lot.

    I'm the company plumber, fixing broken sinks usually.

    I'm the general handyman, fixing little things here and there.

    I'm the electrical repair guy, changing fuses in microwaves, and repairing broken speaker wires.

    I'm a customer support rep on occasion, when stupid calls get handed off to me.

    I'm the always-available tax consultant.

    I'm the free and usually right legal advice department (go find a lawyer, dammit)

    I'm the company librarian, who can always point you to the right book or reference.

    I'm the senior transportation coordinator, when someone needs a ride somewhere, or equipment needs transported between locations. Usually that also makes me the company driver too.

    I'm the company accountant, explaining bills from various vendors to the boss, or even the vendor. (ask UUNet why they billed us $30k for a line they never installed).

    I'm the air conditioning repair guy, resetting thermostats, replacing broken thermostats, repairing electrical problems in the A/C unit, and diagnosing further problems. I also end up designing ways to cool overheated rooms, and counsel people who are always too hot or too cold, and very frequently both.

    And now on to more reasonable tasks.

    I'm the printer and copier tech, fixing paper jams and cleaning rollers.

    I'm Microsoft Technical Support (tm), helping every poor user who's MSIE, Outlook, or Windows (tm) product that doesn't work right. Oddly enough, Unix and Mac users don't come to me whining like the Windows users do.

    I'm the bastard that has to explain that Microsoft programs do crash, and you will have to accept this. It doesn't matter to me that you worked on an Excel Spreadsheet for 6 hours before your machine blue-screened. No, I can't save your data when your machine is locked up. Yes, you should have saved it.

    I'm the LAN specialist, diagnosing every time someone kicks a cable out of the wall.

    I'm the Nortel tech, configuring, reconfiguring, and yet reconfiguring again the phone systems.

    I'm the tech that cleans up the mess after you try to subcontract out the work for the phone system, and he leaves all the lines down and says "I don't know, maybe you need an upgrade. That'll be $6,000".

    I'm the PC tech, repairing every little hardware problem they may have. No, covering all the holes on your PC to make it quieter is *NOT* a good idea (had that last week)

    I'm the monitor repair guy, resizing you screen because you played with the buttons too much.

    I'm the mouse repair man, cleaning the guk out of your mouse.

    I'm the bastard that has to explain that when your drive crashes, the files are gone. And I love listening to users complain that they had their life's work on there, and I absolutely *HAVE* to get it back. Bribes don't help drive crashes, they tell me you think I'm lying to you.

    I'm the Cisco engineer, who selects your routing hardware, and then configures it.

    I'm the hardware engineer who selects the parts, and builds the servers to handle the requested capacity.

    I'm the guy that uses a hammer, torch, and dremel to make your old case accomodate your new hardware, just because you refuse to do the simple thing and buy the right case.

    I'm the network engineer who makes a network that'll handle your load, and laughs when you want a GigE lan for your 2 workstations on a 384K DSL.
  • by sclatter ( 65697 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @09:41PM (#5689920) Homepage

    I do have to confess I really detest that word. When I see "Administrator" I think button-pusher and tape-changer. In companies with larger IT shops I've found the more senior techies get titles that end in "Engineer". The "Engineer" moniker suggests that you are involved in designing infrastructure, not just care and feeding.

    I used to be a "Senior Server Engineer", but since I'm at a start-up now I've been busted down to a mere "System Administrator" :-)

    As far as a more generic title for the group of IT folks, I'd suggest "Operations Engineers", or perhaps "Information Operations Engineers" if you need to be more specific. Of course, if you're absolutely allergic to "Engineer" you can always go with "Administrator". Bleh.

  • Good Lord! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by evilpenguin ( 18720 ) on Tuesday April 08, 2003 @11:01PM (#5690281)
    Oh, give me a freakin' break!

    Calling it an "uncontrolled descent into terrain" doesn't stop it being a flippin' plane crash!

    I may want, in some of my darker delusions of grandeur, to be a "information systems architecture specialist," but what I am is a programmer.

    "Systems administrator" is a perfectly clear, lucid, and honorable title. "Lord Emperor of the Packets" will just have to wait.

    For the love of Pete, already! Get over yourself!
  • Pixel Pusher... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by buffy ( 8100 ) <> on Wednesday April 09, 2003 @12:56AM (#5690983) Homepage
    I actually like my current title, as far as those things go...Chief IT Architect. Of course, I'm still also known as "The Computer Guy."

    At a previous job, I made the progression in titles of Systems Engineer, Sr. Systems Engineer, Director of IT, and then VP of IT. Pretty spiffy title to end up with, but the kicker is that my job pretty much stayed the same the entire time. I only got to add doing client-facing meetings and some occasional power points or excel sheets. Most of the time I was left to do the real engineering work.

    Regardless, my favorite title of all time has to be "Pixel Pusher." That was just a great business card to have.


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