8 Reasons a job title based promotion is of value

My company just promoted me from Associate Software Developer to Software Developer. They didn’t give me any money with it so what’s the big deal?

First, congratulations on your promotion and, yes, I really mean it. Certainly, getting a raise along with your promotion would have been a really good thing, but don’t minimize the value of the title change just because it has not yet yielded cash.

To get the white elephant out of the room first, let’s begin by discussing your pay and then talk about the real value of your title change.

From a cash perspective, there are a number of reasons that the company may not have given you a raise at the same time they gave you the promotion can be for any one of the following reasons:

  • Some companies try to conceptually separate the money from performance and promotion by giving them at different times. They do this to emphasize the importance of being motivated to do your job beyond simply the pay check. If you think that this is simply a convenient rationale to not give you a raise, watch the Dan Pink on motivation.
  • The company may not have the money right now to give people raises, but your manager thinks you're doing great work and wants to give you some recognition.
  • Your manager may be positioning you for a bigger raise during the next salary planning cycle. In most large companies, job titles are tied to salary ranges. Generally speaking, the job title Associate Software Developer is connected to a lower salary range than a Software Developer job title. This is important to you because the lower you are in your salary range the bigger salary increase you will be eligible to receive.

Certainly a little extra cash is always very nice, but don’t underestimate the value of a promotional change in your job title. There is real short term and long term value related to your promotion.

The short term advantages include:

  1. Your manager recognizes the good work you are doing, otherwise, you wouldn’t have gotten the promotion.
  2. Others within your company (your manager’s manager, Human Resources, etc.) have recognized your increased value to the company or they would have not allowed your manager to promote you.
  3. The change in title, based on internal company politics, may give you additional political clout, allowing you to work on more interesting projects.
  4. The more senior job title may position you to learn new technologies. For example, if you are programming in Java, you may now be eligible to take a training class in Oracle Database Development.

From a longer term perspective:

  1. Additional cash may be coming your way in the near future as described above.
  2. Upper management may potentially be positioning you for future bigger promotions.
  3. Having the higher level title may position you to act as a technical lead, allowing you to direct the work of more junior software developers, potentially those with your old Associate Software Developer job title.
  4. Should you decide to leave the company at a future time, having a promotion on your resume illustrates to those reading your resume that you old company liked you. This point alone makes you more marketable to other companies and helps you build a positive professional brand.

As a final bit of advice, try to look at your career more holistically and long term. You obviously do good work or you wouldn’t have gotten promoted. Continuing on the path of producing quality work and being recognized for your efforts can bring you far as a technical professional. Keep up the good work and your job titles, job responsibilities, and cash in pocket should continue to grow.

If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at eric@ManagerMechanics.com or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom.

Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to build your professional brand.

Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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