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Political Power Comes From Speaking with One Voice

System administrators go by many different job titles. Network Admin, Network Engineer, Sysadmin, Computer Technician, etc.

When a campaign requests money from you and asks your title, what do you write?

I propose we all write the same exact thing: "Computer System Administrator"

It matters. It really really matters. Campaigns do data-mining on the various job titles people put. A 10% increase in donations from "doctors" is meaningful. Donations from twice as many [insert job title] than [insert other job title] is meaningful. When we diffuse our political power by dividing our donations between different job titles it hurts our political influence.

I know that in the past I've written everything from 'System Administrator" to "author" to "Software Engineer".

This political season, and from now on, I will always record my title as "Computer System Administrator". It isn't a perfect explanation of what I do, some would say I spend more time writing code that doing real system administration. But I feel that to the people working on political campaigns, who aren't the most technical in the world, the phrase "Computer System Administrator" is clear and concise.

If we all consistently use the same phrase it will have an impact.

In the US the election season is starting to heat up. Yesterday was the last primary. Between now and election day you will undoubtedly receive many MANY many emails asking for money. Whether you agree with my politically or are one of the bad, bad people that disagree (I'm kidding! Really!) let's all agree to do this.

I'm Tom Limoncelli, a computer system administrator, and I vote!

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in Professionalism

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4 Comments | Leave a comment

Specifically regarding the phrase to use, I do concur. It's actually the same form of the profession name I used in a public bio that was requested from me last month. Sounds like we at least have a mini-consensus started here. Though I do look forward to hearing if you get any differing opinions and seeing what dissent might look like on that.

You mean "Computer Systems Administrator".

I think the singular form is fine. If you operate heavy cranes, even if you have 10 different cranes you might operate at any given time, you're a Heavy Crane Operator, not a Heavy Cranes Operator.

I prefer "System Administrator" to "Computer System Administrator". The systems that we manage are human-computer systems. We may not format humans, but we install procedures in their workflow.

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