I have worked in Education for my entire career, and as I prepare to retire, I was reflecting on all of the changes in technology that have occurred during my 35 years as a working woman. Like many colleagues my age, I started out as a teacher before computers were even in the classroom. Many of us went into technology in our districts because we were “good with spreadsheets.” We may have gotten a stipend or worked part-time as the tech person for our building. As technology evolved, so did we.
I am currently managing a project where we are creating software to compile data from our districts, so they can easily view salaries and positions to help them with hiring decisions. It exists in spreadsheet format and has been around forever. (I imagine it was probably created many years ago by a teacher who was “good with spreadsheets.”)
I received an email last week that listed all of the technology positions that exist in our districts according to the spreadsheet. This does not include any Instructional Design/Educational Technology positions, but is focused on what we call IT professional positions. There are 36 different titles. We were asked to narrow down the positions to 4-6 IT professional positions that are found within most districts. It was decided that it would be easiest to group them by area of responsibility. Here is a small sampling of the list:
IT Categories Titles
Network/Telecom: Network System Administrator, Network System Manager, Telecom Manager
System Administration: Systems Specialist, Systems Administrator, Systems Tech, Computer Systems Analyst
Data/Student Information Systems: Data Manager, Database Administrator, District Data Specialist, Student Information Specialist
Technician/Support: IT Help Desk, Tech Specialist, Hardware Specialist
Programmer/Developer: Application Support Specialist, Web Development Designer
Secretary/Support: Tech-retary, Program Assistant, Administrative Assistant, Tech Aide
It is a challenge for school districts to determine a salary for an IT position vacancy. When research is done using tools such as Glass Door or Payscale.com, salaries are compared to those working in the private sector and are typically higher than salaries districts are able to offer. Does this mean that school districts are then forced to hire less qualified candidates? Based on my own personal experiences over the years, I would say that is not typically the case. However, I have seen qualified staff members leave education to accept higher salaried positions elsewhere.In thinking about how this information is going to be used to determine hiring staff and starting salaries, I decided to look on a popular job site, Indeed.com, to learn what was available. I discovered positions for a Technology Educator, an Instructional Technology Specialist, a Director of Technology, an Assistive Technology Specialist, etc. Finding positions in schools for the IT professionals who do not work with the curriculum or teachers, but instead work with data, or keep the network and equipment up and running was impossible.
While uniform job titles might help simplify the process of assigning the appropriate salary to each position, it would not solve the issues school districts face. For now, there is a spreadsheet they can use to see what other districts in their area are paying their IT professionals. This at least is a starting point. Hopefully with the development of the software we are working on we can at least make that process easier and more effective.
Until something better comes along, we can always use the Silicon Valley Job Title Generator
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