Photo by peterwooley.

Are job titles important for Rails developers? Sometimes this question comes up, so we’ve been thinking about it lately. To start, here are a few of the titles for roles we’ve helped fill in the last few months:

  • Full Stack Developer
  • CTO
  • Senior Software Engineer
  • Ruby on Rails Developer
  • Lead Developer
  • VP of Engineering

So, what’s in a name? Our general feeling is that job titles are not super important, especially in a community where what you’ve done and what you can do is more valued than anything else on a traditional resume — that includes college degree, years of experience, and job titles.

However, titles do still have a role: they can indicate career progression and growth, leadership skills, and oftentimes align with certain salary markers. For most developers we work with, the actual title isn’t what matters, as long as they get to do what they want to do.

Some developers really want a lead role because they thrive in a role that combines leadership, management, mentorship, and hands-on coding. Other developers want to be a team member. They may even have more experience and better Rails chops than the lead of their team, but their ideal role is one in which they can focus strictly on coding.

Bottom line: We’re not big on titles, and we don’t think you should be either. What’s most important is that what you’re actually doing is what you want to be doing, and ideally that is reflected in your title, for accuracy’s sake, if nothing else!