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Programmer job title hierarchy shown with videos

The corporate landscape of software development is littered with different job titles, positions, names for people who all essentially write computer code. Does your job title reflect your work description? I have attempted to assemble a hierarchy ladder, from beginner to master, and included relevant videos to keep things interesting. Have fun ;)

Computer Programming Enthusiast

This is where we all start out, programming video games in high school, University, or on a weekend. There is no formal education, or we are in the process of pursuing a degree, probably in computer science. Amazingly enough there is a music video about hobbyist QBasic programming.

Every bit, every byte that I program is right.
Though you may be in denial, all of my programs compile.
Every loop that I do, is that much better than you.
Haven’t you heard, that I’m a QBasic nerd!

Music video is 3:30 long.

Code Monkey

With little responsibility beyond crunching out pieces of code that meet required specifications, code monkey is actually a paying job. Computer science students gladly jump at such an opportunity, in hopes of escaping the dreaded QA positions, or worse yet – technical support. Though in reality this digital age equivalent of an assembly line worker makes for the first step of the programmer ladder that involves actually touching any code, and is preferred to be over with as soon as possible.

Code Monkey get up get coffee
Code Monkey go to job
Code Monkey have boring meeting
With boring manager Rob

Jonathan Coulton’s code monkey music, video animated in World of Warcraft by Mike Spiff Booth. 3:50 in length.


The midpoint, generic term hastily applied to anyone writing computer programs. Actually programmers are likely to hold a computer science degree, have some responsibilities, creative freedom, and possibly too much time on their hands. Windward Reports: Cubicle War 2006, 2:00 in length.


The title implies a step above programmer, though the semantics are iffy. My guess is that this has to do with developing new ideas, as oppose to programming solutions to problems.

Steve Ballmer has four words for you: Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers!. Though you are allowed to skip after 15 seconds, as the “song” essentially loops itself for 3:00.

Software Engineer

Fancy title to impress the ladies, or manage a large software development project. Arguably one doesn’t need to write any actual code, just the specifications. Though in other places it takes someone with a computer engineering degree to write ultra efficient, low level code for embedded circuits. Clearly the title covers a lot of ground. And a large paycheck.

Out of Rocketman, the movie – a 2:15 clip with some awesome Software Engineering action.

Look, I’ll show you. I’ll do the same calculations using what we like to call “the right way”


Returning to the love of computer programming art, hackers simply push the systems to their limits.

2:30 Battle Programmer Shirase AMV

Hissatsu! Double Compile!

Personal experience so far

So far my own job titles were Engineering Services Developer, Web Developer, and Software Developer. Oddly enough all three jobs were essentially the same – create web based application in Ruby and MySQL or PHP and Oracle. I suppose since I did work mostly independently in each case, a developer is a suitable fit. Hmm… not bad for a University student.

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Uhh... nothing else appears to be relevant enough.


  1. Posted by Steve-O | September 19, 2007, 5:21 pm

    I, myself, want to become a game/software developer, but I have decided to take a computer programmer analyst course in college (which is essentially a 3 year advanced diploma course with coop dedicated to software development.)

    I have a question, if you don’t mind answering it. Do you feel that you need a university degree to get into the industry or do you think or know of anyone who has a college diploma that works in the industry. If you could give me your insight on this, I would really appreciate it. :)

    Reply to comment

  2. Posted by Tony | September 19, 2007, 7:30 pm

    You don’t have to have a University degree. Both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have dropped out of universities to start their companies. What I do think, is that it would be harder to market yourself to others, unless you have something better to show for yourself that is. Co-op work experience in excellent in such regard.

    Reply to comment

  3. Posted by Steve-O | November 14, 2007, 7:44 pm

    Thanks Tony, you have made me feel somewhat better about my future. :)

    Reply to comment

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