Ninjas, Rock Stars, and Jedi? Forget the Pseudo-Titles and Use These Instead!

May 14, 2014 at 1:07 PM by Rob Stevenson

Among your regular browsing of LinkedIn and job posting boards, I'm sure you've come across these trendy, Screen_Shot_2014-05-14_at_1.05.50_PMtongue-in-cheek, clever job titles. Coding Monkey, Ruby Ninja, UX/UI Guru. Whether it's an attempt to express individuality or how low-key and fun a company culture is, I think we can all agree on one thing: it sounds ridiculous. Yes, the typical job titles can be stale, but these exaggerated pseudo-titles aren't doing any favors when it comes to describing what an employee actually does. Below, I'll unpack a couple of these all-too-common pseudo-titles and offer some descriptive alternatives.


Instead of :

Data Jedi


Data Inspector

I love my Star Wars as much as the next guy, but really think about the Jedi and decide if you'd want one working for you. They use outdated tools, devote themselves to a magic-centric religion, and every single one ends up dead, dismembered, or exiled. And let's not get started on their evil counterparts.

Data science requires minute inspection in order to notice larger patterns and turn them into actionable insights for your organization. If you use this on a job board, you're more likely to attract someone who's actually spent time in the weeds with data and understands the true goal and process. Replace "Inspector" with something in line with the elicit goal of data analysis at your company, and you've got a title which adequately describes not just the candidate's role but part of the vision of your company.


Instead of:

UX/UI Ninja


UX/UI Gardener

This one baffles me. Ninjas disappear without warning and have a severe tendency towards lethal violence using cruel implements. Further, they're best known for their dark, all-black, face covering garb. This hardly suggests the aesthetic eye crucial to the makings of a top designer. 

Design requires careful planning from wireframe to post production, with multiple iterations and a vision for how things will eventually hang together. Also, competent designers are constantly revisiting and tweaking (pruning, trimming) layouts and workflows to make things neater, sleaker, and simpler. When it comes to designing your site, you want a gardener, not an assassin.


Instead of:

Coding Monkey


Coding Poet

What does the Infinite Monkey Theorem say again? Give a million monkeys typewriters, and given enough time they will write the Ruby on Rails framework for AirBnB? 'Coding Monkey' is not just non-descript, it's downright perjorative. Comparing employees to a base primate performing mundane tasks is wildly dismissive to the talent needed to perform this function.

The best code keeps with Occam's Razor: the simplest answer is the best. Top coders must be expert logicians, and write lines that perform as much as possible in as little room. If you remember spending 40 minutes interpreting a 16-line poem back in high school English, you'll understand the poet comparison.


I'll close with this recent tweet which shows I'm not the only one annoyed with the exaggerated psuedo-titles:

In addition to reeling back against the desire to recruit Rock Stars, Alex gives a thoughtful, humanized recruitment tweet which simultaneously demonstrates a no-nonsense approach and a concern for work-life balance. Top marks, Alex.

entelo webinar