Bullshit Tech Roles (satire)

Bullshit Tech Roles (satire)

In any sufficiently well-funded or otherwise successful tech company, a set of new roles will inevitably emerge—so crucial and revered by our industry that they’ve practically transcended the need to produce any tangible work. These roles specialize in the fine art of enabling others, in the hopes that, one day, the actual builders might be enabled enough to deliver products to customers.

I’m talking, of course, about the agile coaches and scrum masters, the architects and platform engineers; the growth hackers and data-driven researchers. These vanguards of innovation are vital to any team that wants to maintain a perpetual state of being maximally enabled, well-informed, and facilitated to perform their work.

Let’s begin with the often underappreciated roles of agile coaches and scrum masters, the only people in a company actually certified™️ to set up the correct processes and tools to run an agile team. This, of course, is paramount for implementing agile—the popular software development philosophy that explicitly tells us to avoid focusing on processes and tools.

Agile coaches and scrum masters are professionals whose primary job is to ensure all work in teams is performed in sprints, with daily stand-up meetings to guarantee everyone is constantly enabled. This allows the velocity of a team to be meticulously measured in story points, which no one quite understands, but hey, at least we’re definitely data-driven.

Surely, without their meticulous facilitation, teams would be left wandering aimlessly, unsure of how to break down their work into JIRA tickets. Their presence ensures that everyone stays aligned and that every team member is reminded of their blockers and sprint goals every single morning. Because nothing screams productivity like a daily stand-up where everyone takes turns saying, “no updates from my side.”

Next, we have the architects. These exceptionally gifted, usually very senior engineers haven’t touched any production code in the current decade. They are often found in their natural habitat, PowerPoint, where they sketch out their grand visions of future systems and envision platform rewrites for actual software engineers to implement.

Their role is to think so far ahead that their ideas become completely theoretical, creating software designs that are so advanced, they may never actually be implemented. But that’s not the point. The point is to have a shared vision, to inspire, to draw boxes and lines that will one day guide the hands of actual engineers who might one day understand what they were trying to convey.

Then, there are the platform engineers. A demanding role with zero responsibility to deliver anything of value to customers. These unsung heroes dedicate their time to building and maintaining the internal tools and infrastructure that supposedly makes everyone else’s job easier. Yet, their true skill lies in making things so complicated that only they can understand and manage them.

They manage infrastructure, design intricate CI/CD pipelines, common libraries and tools that add layers upon layers of necessary abstraction, which they insist must be adopted and standardized across all teams. The result? All teams having to learn and depend on custom in-house tools so complex that even the slightest changes require a detailed consultation with the platform team, ensuring their perpetual job security.

And then we have the growth hackers, the avant-garde marketers of the tech world. Their job is to come up with innovative ways to “hack” company growth, often resorting to questionable methods that straddle the line between clever marketing and outright deceit. They dive into data, running A/B tests, tweaking landing pages, and optimizing user funnels to squeeze out the tiniest incremental gains.

Of course, the real growth usually comes from the core product being genuinely useful, but why let that overshadow the need for an entire team devoted to marginal tweaks and vanity metrics?

Data-driven researchers are the prophets of the modern tech age. Armed with vast amounts of data and research, they uncover profound insights such as “users prefer faster load times” or “clearer buttons improve user engagement.” Their work truly brings scientific rigor, managing to bring impressive-sounding numbers and great data visualizations to argue for any side of a decision, usually the one they already went with before doing any research.

These bullshit roles are the pillars upon which modern tech companies stand. They enable a culture where productivity is constantly measured, documented, and discussed, albeit often at the expense of actual productivity.

Without them, who would ensure that calendars get filled with back-to-back meetings so that everyone is too busy to notice no work is getting done? Who would write all the documents and Slack messages, ensuring no detail is left unshared or undiscussed? In doing so, these roles truly create a seamless, endless flow of communication, although one might argue that less talk and more doing might yield better results.

But where’s the fun in that?

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