Mario Peshev published a great article that looks at where the WordPress community stands on job titles and skills. Peshev explains why titles are out of control and how they don’t match their expected skill sets.
The problem with a number of general titles is that they are overused and it is no longer clear what the real meaning and level of expertise is. Moreover, they are so general, that it’s easy to be fooled into misusing them, seeing how many people just tag themselves in those categories.
I find it fascinating we’re having conversations on what people in the WordPress ecosystem call themselves. This is a big problem for people looking for WordPress experts who are routinely let down, because the people they’re hiring don’t actually have the skills required to get the job done.
In some ways, the conversation circles back to the idea of having a WordPress certification program. With a certification program, a document would clarify a person’s proficiency in WordPress. However, I think it opens up a new can of worms and isn’t the only solution.
Comparing a Corporate World to WordPress
In a typical corporation, titles are clearly laid out and each one has a set of skills attached to it. Employees know what they need to learn to get promoted to the next level. Employees also know the skills a person has with a particular title due to standards that dictate how it’s earned. In the WordPress ecosystem, titles are not earned, but rather, routinely made up. For example, I’ve used WordPress for more than seven years and consider myself a WordPress Tinkerer.
Peshev outlines three distinct problems with the lack of standards, best practices, and business know-how in the WordPress community.
- Serious clients can’t find experts since everyone is an expert.
- Experts don’t get approached for larger systems (due to (1) ) and their time is wasted by people with the wrong perception of expert.
- The lack of satisfied clients and contractors means fewer customers are willing to invest in WordPress, fewer contractors are able to dedicate time back to WordPress, and there are fewer products developed as a result of WordPress driven projects.
When looking at the big picture, the situation is a mess. It seems everyone has a WordPress title with no clear way to determine the skills that back it. Outside of some sort of regulation, I don’t see how the situation can improve. Perhaps the community can rally together to create a list of titles and assign appropriate skills to them? If you use a title to express your skills and knowledge to potential clients, what is it?