I get a daily newsletter from the CodeProject which always has at least one great article or comment to read through. Today’s was no exception and the timing couldn’t have been better. Last evening I had yet another discussion concerning what “I was” in terms of my current work position. Although I spend a good deal of time writing and optimizing code, I’m repeatedly told we do not have any “programmers” on staff at my company. That’s cool.
Don’t call yourself a programmer: “Programmer” sounds like “anomalously high-cost peon who types some mumbo-jumbo into some other mumbo-jumbo.” If you call yourself a programmer, someone is already working on a way to get you fired. You know Salesforce, widely perceived among engineers to be a Software as a Services company? Their motto and sales point is “No Software”, which conveys to their actual customers “You know those programmers you have working on your internal systems? If you used Salesforce, you could fire half of them and pocket part of the difference in your bonus.” (There’s nothing wrong with this, by the way. You’re in the business of unemploying people. If you think that is unfair, go back to school and study something that doesn’t matter.)
Instead, describe yourself by what you have accomplished for previously employers vis-a-vis increasing revenues or reducing costs. If you have not had the opportunity to do this yet, describe things which suggest you have the ability to increase revenue or reduce costs, or ideas to do so.