Translating 12 Modern Job Titles

Posted on by Leave a Comment

The days of following a career path that went something like this—entry level, supervisor, manager, director, VP, CEO— are over. Aside from the fact that today’s version of career development commonly involves a number of lateral moves (within and between companies); many positions, and the titles that go with them, have changed.

Man's hand holding a network

Inspired by this tweet from @Harjeet and the resulting Twitter stream, I decided to see what could be discovered about some of the many emerging job titles that have appeared in recent years. They range from the obscure to the bizarre, and yet some hit the evolving workplace nail right on the head.

1. Big Data Engineer

Data Scientists have been around for a long time, but in the past decade data has grown up to be “big data” with all its mind-blowing potential. This has sent the demand for Big Data Engineers skyrocketing. Alex Woodie, writer for Datanami, describes today’s data engineer as “the all-purpose everyman of a big data analytics operation, working between downstream analysts on the one hand, and upstream data scientists on the other. They will often come from programming backgrounds, and are experts in big data frameworks, such as Hadoop. They’re called on to ensure that data pipelines are scalable, repeatable, and secure, and can serve multiple constituents in the enterprise.”[1]

2. Chief Brand Listener

A cross between social media expert and data scientist, a Chief Brand Listener is responsible for monitoring and analyzing what’s being said about the brand across all media and sharing those messages with the appropriate people in marketing, customer services, sales, etc. This role reflects the reality of today’s marketing dialogue. Social media has turned traditional one-way marketing conversations into a sereies of ongoing interactions that put much more power into the hands and voices of consumers. Companies who don’t listen and respond can experience rapid erosion of their brands.[2]

3. Community Manager

We’re not talking about a town councilor, mayor or city administrative official here. According to, the following skills are required of a successful Community Manager:

  • be a social media power user,
  • create epic content
  • listen to users and speak to users to evangelize the brand.

LinkedIn lists thousands of Community Manager jobs and it looks like this position will be around for a while.

4. Digital Nomad

We call these people remote workers, contingent workers or free-lancers, but digital nomad sounds so much sexier! Forbes defines digital nomads as "professionals who prefer a location-independent lifestyle that allows them to travel and work anywhere in the world."[3] Regardless of what we call them, or they call themselves, the era of the Digital Nomad is only just beginning.

5. Director, Demand Generation

Many things go into demand generation—data analytics and management, online search, webinars, product demos, content marketing, referral programs, affiliate programs, etc. The key responsibility of a Demand Generation role is generating more and better leads for the sales team.[4] As marketing and sales have evolved, specific roles within the marketing/sales continuum have taken on greater importance. Demand Generation roles are among those identified as critical in a technology driven online marketing environment.

6. Director of First Impressions

Creative new job titles are not restricted to startups and technology companies. A quick search on shows 614 job openings for Director of First Impressions. There is no question that the attitude of a receptionist or first point of contact in an organization can set the tone for all future interactions. This new spin on an old title serves to highlight the importance and impact of a traditionally under-appreciated role.

7. Growth Hacker

Wikipedia defines growth hacking as “a marketing technique developed by technology startups which uses creativity, analytical thinking, and social metrics to sell products and gain exposure.” When I asked a local tech CEO to describe what the role of Growth Hacker entails, he described it in terms of attitude rather than actions: growth hackers embody creativity and persistence in finding new ways to reach and connect with target audiences.

8. Happiness Advocate

Anna Passanisi, author of Happiness Advocacy, Or, How Positive Psychology Will Save Us From Zombies believes “If MacGyver can stop a bomb with a toothpick, we can save the world with happiness.” While not aiming to save the world, some organizations are definitely seeking to make cultural change by redefining customer service, support and certain internally facing roles as Happiness Advocates for their respective constituents. The job description? Be whimsical, spread joy, help people be happier – what’s not to love?

9. Omnificator

Okay, so this one hasn’t really caught on, but I still hear it mentioned by startup CEOs desperate for multi-talented people who can turn their hand to whatever needs doing. An omnificator is the modern equivalent of a Boy (or Girl) Friday minus the political incorrectness and with a strong technical bent.  

10. Scrum Master

Why be a project manager when you can be a scrum master? According to whatis, a scrum master is the “facilitator for a product development team that uses scrum, a rugby analogy for a development methodology that allows a team to self-organize and make changes quickly. The scrum master manages the process for how information is exchanged.” If the position being advertised or sought involves only this process, the title Scrum Master makes sense—if broader project management expertise is required, maybe not so much.

11. Social Media Ninja

Yes, there are job postings looking for Social Media Ninjas. One such job posting asks:

“Do you have thousands of likes on your Facebook page? Do people get excited at your latest Instagram post? Do people flock to your Pinterest page to learn about your latest craft interest? 
If the answer is YES, then we want to hear from YOU!”

Apparently, people like to be Ninjas, even if their awesomeness is confined to social media. As of January 2013, no less than 21,876  LinkedIn, Twitter and other profiles of self-professed Social Media Ninjas existed online.

12. Technology Evangelist

A technology evangelist “inspires businesses and individuals through interaction, content creation and communication about a technology. The end goal of the evangelist…is to inspire and hopefully convert the audience.”[5] There is definitely some overlap between the Community Manager, the Technology Evangelist and the Social Media Ninja. Given the emergence of various roles that focus on communicating, creating community and building trust with target audiences, it seems likely that the essence of the Evangelist, in one form or another, will continue to be part of our working landscape.

Not The Last Word on Creative Job Titles

Opinions vary when it comes to imaginative new job titles. Recruiters recommend sticking to the tried and true to avoid being tossed by applicant tracking systems that likley won't include creative job titles among the keywords they search for. On the other hand, many companies have embraced more playful titles for the energy and motivational boost they provide. Freddie Campion (self-titled Engagement Editor), has even created this online creative title generator to help those having trouble coming up with their own unique monikers (does anyone know  what he meant by "Tinder Officer?")   


Whatever your job title, NetSuite TribeHR makes work more engaging. Try it free today!


Photo Credit: Image by nokhoog buchachon, courtesy of

[1] Alex Woodie, Rise of the Big Data Engineer

[2] Advertising Age, Irena Slutsky, ‘Chief Listeners' Use Technology to Track, Sort Company Mentions

[4] Phil Fernandez, Emergence of Demand Generation Role Drastically Alters Marketing Landscape.

[5] Michael Sheehan, What is a Technology Evangelist?

Communication is a Hot Topic

Posted on by Leave a Comment

We cover a lot of topics in this TribeHR blog: from workplace accommodation to the impact of catching a few zzzz’s on productivity. Along the way we touch issues of leadership and workplace power dynamics, as well as more traditional HR management concerns like effective onboarding and employee engagement.   While all articles garner a fair amount of interest and certain subjects clearly trend based on the latest HR research or what’s in the news, one topic—communications—is consistently popular. Whether we write about different communication styles, offer Powerpoint “dos and don …

How Not to Be Your Own Worst Enemy

Posted on by Leave a Comment

Most people enjoy lists. From Letterman’s top 10 to websites like listverse and that have turned the creation of lists into a business model—lists are everywhere.  The ubiquity of lists, especially numbered lists, has even resulted in parodies of list-making. Consider, XKCD’s stab at rewriting major 20th century headlines to get more clicks, by turning many of them into lists (e.g. 1920 - 17 Things That Will Be Outlawed Now That Women Can Vote!) Our apparent fondness for lists has also led researchers to investigate this phenomenon, with some interesting results. Not …

Worthwhile HR Reads of 2014

Posted on by Leave a Comment

A mass of information is produced every day about the people side of organizational management. In order to keep writing this blog, I read much of it.  Since organizations all dealing with many of the same issues, the content can be repetitive. Quite often, common sense is positioned as enlightenment.  Occasionally, something comes around that puts a new spin on an old problem, offers a unique perspective or proposes a different kind of solution. When that happens, reading is elevated from necessity to pleasure. Here are a few of my favorite HR (and HR related) reads from 2014. The …

10 Behaviors that Build Trust

Posted on by Leave a Comment

Last week we shared a list of Ten Behaviors that Kill Trust. I admit, presenting things in such a negative light went against the grain. So, being a glass-half-full kind of person, I decided to flip it around and offer some best practices and behaviors for building trust to counteract last week’s worst practices. Trust by Jol Ito, Flickr Building trust in the workplace starts with being trustworthy. Here are ten behaviors you can practice to become more trustworthy and build trust. Be honest: Be a truth-teller. Become known for answering questions honestly and telling the truth, even …

10 Behaviors that Kill Trust

Posted on by Leave a Comment

Dennis S. Reina, PhD and Michelle L. Reina, PhD have devoted their professional life to building and rebuilding trust in the workplace because, in their words:  “Business is conducted through relationships and trust is the foundation of those relationships.” Photo by Jesse757, Flickr While working directly with organizations for over 20 years, in those that foster relationship and trust-building behaviors, they found that employees focus on the work they were hired to do and productivity increases. When trust is damaged, however, morale and productivity begin to decline and turnover increases.[1] Although it’s possible to destroy trust …

I’m in HR and I Need a Laugh

Posted on by Leave a Comment

I sat down to write today’s blog and decided I needed a mood lightener. First, I thought about sharing one of those hilarious “it could only happen in HR” stories. But we’re not a big office and I’d run the risk of exposing personal information about an employee, so scratch that idea. Next, I dug through my humor folder, where I save stuff that tickles my funny bone, to see what popped. I had a reminiscent chuckle over this unattributed list found on a forum a while back.   Rules Left Out …

20 Secrets of the World’s Greatest Coaches

Posted on by Leave a Comment

20 Secrets of the World's Greatest Coaches Cleaning out some old files I came across a handout from a coaching workshop I attended some years ago. A single sheet of paper with the heading “The Coach’s Toolbox” and a list: Twenty Secrets of the World’s Greatest Coaches.[1] Heartfelt Coaching by woodleywonderworks, Flickr The page included a scorecard with the obvious intent of allowing participants to score themselves (from 1-5 on each attribute). It was blank. I’m not sure if that means I was uncomfortable scoring myself when I received the handout, or …

5 Top Corporate Succession Fails

Posted on by Leave a Comment

Pirate Bold. Wikimedia Commons, public domain In spite of the fact that succession planning is identified as a critical and strategic component of HR management, even major international corporations often get it wrong. Here is a quick review of what we consider to be some of the more damaging succession fails in the past few years. J.C. Penny Ron Johnson was brought in to J.C. Penney as CEO to preside over an attempted company makeover. While he was busy abolishing price markdown sales in favor of a “Fair and Square” pricing strategy and attempting to turn …

HR Technology Trends to Watch

Posted on by Leave a Comment

Aside from managing core HR data, Human Resources and technology may seem like an oxymoron at first glance. But in today’s tech and media saturated environment, managing data is only the beginning. At SHRM 2013, the SHRM Special Expertise Panel shared the following current and emerging HR Technology Trends. And one trend is crystal clear; HRIM is not just about employee data anymore. 1. HR Data is Secure in the Cloud The cloud is a secure place to do business. Even the U.S. Federal Government manages payroll and other government business in the cloud, as Amazon was happy to …

Next Page
The Latest from Workplace Tribes
Change Happens February 09, 2016
Vulnerable Doesn’t Mean Weak February 04, 2016
Who Mentors the Mentor? February 02, 2016
Bridging the Workplace Generation Gap – Necessary or Not? January 28, 2016
Customer Service: It’s All in the Recovery January 26, 2016
Intent Versus Impact January 21, 2016
No Excuse for Workplace Bullying January 19, 2016
The Dangers of Speed January 14, 2016
Busting 5 Common Productivity Myths January 12, 2016
The Future of Leadership Development January 07, 2016