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Compensation  >>   "Principal Consultant" - Appropriate Job Title? Search Discussion Posts
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"Principal Consultant" - Appropriate Job Title?   
Posted: 06/16/2009 03:07pm   269 Views

Our Comp team is working with our IT division on formalizing a "Principal Consultant Program" to provide an alternative career path for a few, key information systems professionals who may not have the interest and aptitude for traditional IT management roles, but who have a proven technical track record with a high level of expertise across two or more domains.    

Some have suggested the term "Technical Fellow" for the incumbents, however, my research has determined that the "Fellow" title is representative of a level above what our program is intended to be.  Principal Consultant / Sr. Principal Consultant appears to be fairly consistent with the market place when referring to a 10 - 15 year experienced IT professional with skills at a significant expert level.  I often see "Principal Software Engineer" or "Data Architect, Master".  

Would you agree that "Principal Consultant" is an appropriate job title for such a position? Any recommendations?


"principal consultant" job title? response  
Posted: 06/16/2009 08:04pm  

suspect there's a bug in the system, because I've been unable to respond to the post and am therefore putting my answer where I can.

Principal could work, but be advised that Principal is usually associated with an owner of a small consultantcy, as the premier consultant who does most of the work.   Principal frequently means the (usually) single most-frequently employeed asset.  Master implies expertise level beyond Senior which primarily identifies seniority and experience with an implication that Seniors can handle most more complex assignments.  Fellow carries distinguished status, Diplomate is the next step up beyond mere Fellow and Emeritus is a grandfathered super-senior Fellow/Diplomate so superior for such a long period of time that they need prove nothing ever again. Be careful with your adjectives, for they can become very expensive.

Long ago in the chem/pharm industry, principal engineer was frequently a senior PE and principal chemist was usually a veteran PhD.


Discussion Response to principal consultant job title? response  
Posted: 06/16/2009 09:45pm   Revised: 06/16/2009 09:47pm  

I know IT folks like "Principal". What do you think about "Expert"?    


principal consultant  
Posted: 06/17/2009 05:01am  

When I previously worked for a high tech/scientific organization, we used the term Principal and Expert for our IT team.  This was the track for IT professionals who had no interest in pursuing a management career but were considered consultants and experts not only within the organization but were also heavily involved in the external community as well.   These levels followed the traditional Engineer I, II and Senior levels, for example.


principal consultant  
Posted: 06/17/2009 07:04am  

We use the Principal title in our engineering technical career path - have very few and are regarded as THE experts in their discipline/functional specialty both internally and externally.


"principal consultant" job title?  
Posted: 06/17/2009 09:01am  

Many of my client use the Principal job title for that level of job.  Typically the job title, Fellow, is only used in highly technical jobs and most of these individuals have patents and are regarded as experts in their field.



Principal Consultant - Job Title  
Posted: 06/17/2009 03:16pm   Revised: 06/17/2009 06:44pm  

Definitely need to call the Orkin man, since there's "bugs" in the other posting (although I originally defaulted to my standard assumption: Operator Error).

I thought I remembered a somewhat similar upstream posting. http://www.worldatwork.org/waw/community/discussions/discuss.jsp?did=5595

And after a quick look, I found that my former employer actually codified two additional levels for these type of high level individual contributor positions: Senior Advisory and Consulting. So for our organization, Consulting was the highest level technical position, at the individual contributor level. It was so high and so unique that the job description really didn't contain any description about the nature of the work. I seem to recall that both of these two positions could only be filled by the approval of the organization's Site Chief Engineer.



Principal Consultant - Job Title  
Posted: 06/17/2009 04:11pm  

Thank you for your input! It is very helpful.


Principal Consultant - Job Title  
Posted: 06/17/2009 07:39pm   Revised: 06/17/2009 07:41pm  

 here is one more in case you run out of titles:

"Supreme Leader"


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