All-Star Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul
In basketball there are five set positions: point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, and center. Rather, there were five positions. As data increases our understanding of sports MIT student Muthu Alagappan analyzed just one position – point guard – and found there was actually many “positions.”
When comparing data about [All-Star point guards] [Chris] Paul, [Steve] Nash and [Jason] Kidd, Alagappan found that Paul stood out as a defensive stopper and a midrange shooter, Nash shined as a skilled passer and expert at the pick-and-roll move, and Kidd excelled as a rebounder with some above-average post-up ability, whose shots came mostly from the three-point range. For three players who play the same position, that’s a highly divergent set of skills.
What applies to basketball players can also apply to the rest of us. Instead of “positions” many of us have job titles. Just like Alagappan uncovered more data, we now can discover more about one another beyond a title. I can look at your Behance profile, your blog, your LinkedIn page and learn much more about you and your skill sets than a title could ever convey. Developer Michael Lopp believes that this is one of the reasons that job titles may soon be a relic of the past:
It’s these types of artifacts [like Twitter] that give me the beginning of insight into who you are. It’s by no means a complete picture, but it’s far more revealing than a bunch of tweets stitched together in a resume.
Titles, I believe, are an artifact of the same age that gave us business cards and resumes. They came from a time when information was scarce. When there was no other way to discover who you were other than what you shared via a resume. Where the title of Senior Software Engineer was intended to define your entire career to date.