Title Inflation in Tech

Employee churn in tech is a big problem I observe during my career. I believe it was a problem far before I even started working and it will be a problem for the upcoming years. Side note: I choose “churn” over “attrition” as I feel it fits better regarding resources [1] [2].

With the effects of the global pandemic, churn slowed down for a period. When employees did not feel safe to move on, they decided to stay in the safe harbour. Also companies, due to lack of clear vision, decided to stop or slow down hiring. The new setup caused burnouts, physical and psychological stress to employees more than ever. And since summer 2021 the inevitable arrived. Some name it as Great Resignation [3] or Great Reshuffle [4] [5].

Those circumstances drive the situation something I would like to call “title inflation”. Of course, this term was not coined by me. [6]

Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash

Title Diversity in Tech

There is no standard career path in tech. Job titles, expectations, salary levels, required experience levels and responsibilities vary hugely between companies. You can see a comparison of FAANG job titles in levels.fyi [7].

Promotion Decisions

I can count three different decision methods for promoting an employee. I will not discuss which method is correct or wrong here as this post does not aim to explain promotions in general. But let me briefly explain the methods I have observed and dive deep into the last one.

Butt Time [8] promotion, this promotion is solely based on years of experience (YoE). It reminds me of the promotion in an army. During my career, in some companies, I saw this method as the only method of promotion. E.g. after graduation one is a junior engineer, two years in the job they become an engineer, after two more years they jump to senior and so on. And for some companies, I saw this in the first steps. For instance, you start as a junior after two years you become an engineer and further promotions will be competence-based.

Competence-based promotion, in this model, companies have “somewhat” clear guidelines for each role level. E.g. a senior engineer should be able to lead a project across multiple teams etc. In theory, this method seems perfect, only the ones who deserve the next step is able to make the jump. But in practice there are gaps. How do you monitor an “ability to lead” for instance? How do you prove that? Some companies have methods like 360 evaluation, some companies put this burden on the engineering managers they prepare a case and ask for approval, some companies require engineers to apply for promotion then a committee evaluates. Still, I believe this is the best method even though the practical difficulties.

Marketing-based promotion, this model is the most elective one for the technically best engineers I saw. Most of the good engineers I met are humble, do not brag or show off. Unfortunately in this promotion model, the ones who show off get the next level. Even if they only achieve smaller things than the others. They have two great skills, business acumen and marketing which leads them to promote themselves in and out of the company finally letting them get to the next level. This can be mixed up with the competency-based model, but the difference in my opinion is the output produced by the engineer.

Promotion as a solution to churn

As Great Reshuffle hits the shores of tech companies, they aim to keep the talent in the company as much as they can. Because hiring is too expensive. Hiring means engineering time spent in the interviews, opportunity cost due to lost productivity etc.

Companies started to increase the salaries and benefits of tech employees, but hey they can not give XX,XXX€ salary to a senior engineer, that bar is too high for this level. Then they decided to give out promotions Senior Engineers are becoming leads, architects or principals. So the company can match the monetary expectations.

And this resulted in what I meant with “title inflation”. In some interviews or in some companies we see Senior Engineers who can not draw a solution, Principal Engineers who can not design a system or leads who can not communicate with their team.

Also, we see this method as a way to speed up talent acquisition lately. Due to the Great Reshuffle, some companies just throw in title and compensation packages [9] to convince candidates.


On one hand, I don’t want to lose any colleagues due to the fact they want more money. On the other hand, I don’t find it correct to promote incapable engineers to the next step until they collect the necessary experience.

This brings me to a solution offering, which is raising the salary bands for the existing roles. This solution highly depends on my belief that most engineers do not really care about titles. As I said titles vary hugely in different companies so being a Senior in Company A or being a Principal in Company B may not have any difference as long as they earn the same.

In contrast, I can understand the employer. When it comes to “competitive salary levels” the sky is the limit and there is a border where the value provided by an engineer becomes less than their cost. So they can not keep raising the bands.

I really wonder what will the future bring in sense of titles and their expectations? What do you think?


[1] https://lattice.com/library/turnover-vs-attrition-decoding-two-of-hrs-most-important-metrics
[2] https://sprigghr.com/blog/hr-professionals/employee-attrition-vs-employee-turnover/
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Resignation
[4] https://www.forbes.com/sites/markcperna/2021/11/09/4-ways-the-great-reshuffle-can-help-us-reimagine-the-employer-employee-dynamic/
[5] https://www.businessinsider.com/ceos-burning-out-joining-great-reshuffle-2021-11
[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Job_title_inflation
[7] https://www.levels.fyi/?compare=Netflix,Google,Apple,Amazon,Facebook&track=Software%20Engineer
[8] https://linearb.io/blog/improve-developer-productivity-with-brain-time/
[9] https://twitter.com/rakyll/status/1456673672849068039

Personal 2021 Summary and 2022 Expectations

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

I usually have a master plan for the upcoming year and visit my status from time to time to review my goals. Unfortunately, 2019 and 2020 were not planned at all. I had to start my life in a new country with a new job in a different domain than my expertise. So I was not able to decide on any goals.


There are different camps while setting goals. I know about the SMART and OKR, and I believe on a personal level setting SMART goals are sustainable and the OKR method is more suitable for groups or organizations.

Let’s shortly recap what SMART means,

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time bound

My goals for 2021 and 2022 perfectly fit into the SMART framework, as they are clearly described, they have a numeric target to measure, they are not impossible, they are relevant to the categories I will mention shortly, and they have a deadline of 31st of December.

2021 Status

Around the end of the first quarter of 2021, I revisited my notes and my expectations from the year. It was still under a pandemic’s shadow yet I felt the need for a more concrete plan and goals for the year.

I can categorize my goals into different buckets I have career goals, personal branding goals, financial goals, personal development goals. I will not share my exact goals for the year, but until November 2021 I had 9 goals. In November I added 2 more to the list thinking that I may achieve. All in all, I had 11 goals for 2021 and 5 of them are failed.

Still, I am happy with the outcome. I learned my capacity, shortcomings and development points. Looking at the success fail ratio it may seem otherwise but the successful ones were way over the target. Which let me rediscover my interests and strengths.

Looking forward to 2022

As I said I reviewed my outcome for 2021, and I am happy to see that content creation becomes a habit for me again. I really love to think, write and share my learnings or findings. So I can add some small things into the global knowledge hub, the internet. I have also seen that after a long day at work, I am usually exhausted to create a technical tool or script. Actually, I want to stay away from the keyboard after work some days. Reading and learning is always a great asset for me and I am happy to grab a physical book to read after a long day.

In the light of those discoveries, I decreased my tech creation goals and increased the content creation goals. I also increased my reading and learning goals to the next level. Since I changed my professional path to management, I have lots of new things to learn and there are a lot of good books to read about becoming an engineering manager.

So in 2022, I have 11 goals from start. These goals may evolve, new goals can be added during the year. Categorywise my goals are

  • Career development: 3 goals
  • Personal development: 1 goal
  • Personal brand / content creation: 5 goals
  • Financial: 2 goals

Of course, numbers are just quantitative, qualitative properties of those goals differ e.g. I strongly believe 3 goals of career development is much harder than 5 goals of content creation. Hence numbers above are not meaningful without knowing the goals themselves yet I would like to keep my goals personal.

Thanks for reading so far! If you want to share your goals feel free to comment if you wonder about my goals’ status. Let’s wait for the end of 2022 post 🙂

Remote Work is Different with Pandemic

Before covid started my current and past employees were provided remote days as benefits. Usually, there is a weekly or monthly quota that an employee can work out of the office per week or per month. To be honest, these days were good, staying away from the disturbing effect of an open plane office to do some focus work. Or meet a colleague in a coworking space to work on a shared project.

Then the covid hit, all work shifted from offices to homes, working hours blended into resting hours, social interactions stopped, some were able to stay healthy some unfortunately caught covid. In the end, all our lives changed and I can not say all the change was good.

Photo by Alexas_Fotos on Unsplash

First, we lost the human touch, although I strongly believe that our job requires being in the flow and harmed by any disturbance (I love this Monkey User comic btw. to the point.), human beings are still “social creatures”. We can get highly motivated by some small talk, getting updates about a peer’s project, having a coffee chat over the new technology, drinks over a successful project etc. And these were all stayed back in the office, it is a quite low possibility that you bump into a colleague in your home.

Meetups and conferences were stopped. So not only the colleagues but also network touch was lost. Visiting a co-working space became an old memory, the only place to see other people was a supermarket for some time, which was kind of a post-apocalyptic movie scene and it still is.

Then arrived a series of meetings, all the companies I worked for had the same problem: there were never enough meeting rooms. During the pandemic setup, we finally acquired an unlimited number of meeting rooms. There were no limits, all you have to do is create a virtual space and share the link. Also, experts were suggesting to “overcommunicate” to be able to succeed in this new setup. So we created more meetings, we tried to simulate “bumping in the corridor”, we set meetings back-to-back as there was no walking distance from one Google Meet link to another Zoom link. And finally, that caused “Zoom Fatigue” for some of us.

Then the border became blurry between work and rest, I will be honest here some did a good job to keep the boundaries in place. They simulated commuting via some routines like walking around the block before and after work. I personally, tried to track my time and not work overtime also splitter my work environment from the rest of the home by moving my desk into the storage room. Still sometimes when an idea appeared, a notification chimed on mobile I went into “my office” to work some more, or some friends / colleagues did not realize the time and worked more than they anticipated.

Office ergonomics has been lost. Initial reaction to pandemic WFH was quick and mostly unplanned for. Employees were at home working on a dining table, working from the couch, having meetings from the closet as their partner was also in a meeting in the living room. And those places are bad for the health. Some of us got lucky, our companies spent enough resources to let us have a decent setup at home. And I will be honest again, my current company is one of them which provides a good selection of office equipment to us.

And burnout arrived for some, due to the accumulation of all topics above. Unfortunately, some arrived into a burnout state. Again I will talk personally, there had been days where I was not feeling productive and there were days where I was doing a good job. So although I am not a health professional, I suppose I didn’t hit the burnout levels luckily. I do not believe that people who burned out were the weak ones and others are stronger. We, all, have different circumstances and different environments so the effect and reaction differ from person to person of course. I only say I was lucky.

Next steps as far as I can see companies are starting to announce their post-pandemic work models. Some of them already called employees into the offices, some announced they are moving to a fully remote model, and some offer a hybrid work model. In my opinion hybrid model is the one to combine the best and the worst of the other two options. With some days spent in the office, colleagues can regain the human touch and collaboration opportunities, while doing focus work at home. There won’t be a need to redefine the borders between the work and the rest, and the home can be a home again.

What do you think about the future? Do you prefer a 100% remote work or a hybrid one? Share with us in the comments if you like.

My takes from System Design Interview by Alex Xu

System Design Interview by Alex Xu

Since 2015, I am attending interviews as an interviewer for recruiting new talents, for the selection of new partner companies etc. And since 2019 I am conducting interviews for my current company. The topics I interview for are usually General Tech and Culture Fit. I enjoy also system design and thought I can also help our company by taking over a few System Design Interviews hence I started to prepare myself for the next step. I saw “System Desing Interview: An Insider’s Guide” by Alex Xu is suggested for interviewees to prepare for upcoming challenges so I thought I should give it a shot to sharpen my skills and understanding of the system design domain.

The book starts with the basics like designing for scaling, back of the envelope calculations then suggests a framework for system design and provides 12 different system design examples. I took some notes and also recorded some resources to read further.

Let’s look into the suggested framework for system design. It’s a four-step framework and actually, I found it quite useful to have such a structure.

  1. Understand the problem and establish design scope
  2. Propose a high-level design and get buy-in
  3. Design deep dive
  4. Wrap-up

Time allocation suggested by the author per step is

  1. 3 – 10 minutes
  2. 10 – 15 minutes
  3. 10 – 25 minutes
  4. 3 – 5 minutes

This time allocation would allow a candidate to complete a design in around 50 minutes and would provide some additional time for Q&A in a 60 minutes interview. From my perspective suggested framework and time allocations would work in an interview setup.

Let me summarize each step with one paragraph, then I can provide my thoughts, notes and feedback about the book.

Understand the problem and establish design scope

Nobody would expect you to design the new Facebook or Netflix in the short time of an interview. So asking clarifying questions, setting up the boundaries of design and noting down the assumptions are the way to start the design. All those steps should be discussed with the interviewer, get their ideas about the important parts of the system to design and get their approval on the assumptions.

Propose a high-level design and get buy-in

This is the step where the interviewee should lay the foundations of the system and provide a blueprint with the collaboration of the interviewer. Doing some back of the envelope calculations and depending on those calculations system size and components should appear on the design. This step should not include details like data format yet but should have a storage layer for example.

Design deep dive

This is the time to think about handling the load, choosing the correct data store, scaling the API servers etc. Depending on the discussion with the interviewer, you should focus on a few key areas and deliver a detailed design and even a few implementation details if required.

Wrap up

In this last step, you should go the extra mile and tell about the flaws in your design and how it may be improved, what can be expected to change in the business in the future and how the design can evolve to cope with those changes.

My notes and thoughts about the book

  • There are some mistakes or not so best-practices in the book e.g.
    • Author claims NoSQL should be chosen to store massive amount of data, this is open for discussion. A technology selection should not be justified only by data size but also use cases and requirements.
    • In one of the API design sections, author does not follow the REST best practices and uses verb in the URL
    • Author claims a scale-up would not help with the load, in my experience it helps.
  • Back of the envelope numbers are great shortcuts during the design time.
  • There is an unfortunate use of magic number in the book while calculating peak system load. There is no explanation of why we use this factor to multiply our assumption.
  • 12 different system design examples backed by real life resources are really handy and informative.
  • There are some missing information, for example author says “token bucket is memory efficient” but does not explain why and how. Or while discussing quorum of a distributed system author overlooks possibility of a Byzantine Fault.
  • Reference materials are useful, almost every section I noted down some of the reference materials to read further.
  • In some designs there are security flaws which may cause data leak, which have been overseen. Though this can be defended as security is not in the scope and time is short. Still I believe security should start in the design phase.
  • Also in some designs sections, author does not follow the framework they suggested.

All in all, I got some fresh ideas and a good framework for system design interviews from the book. I would consider recommending this book to mid-level engineers who are looking for different aspects of system design and would use a few real-life examples. For me, a 10+ year engineer, the advantages of reading this book was limited.

Thanks to Alex Xu for putting all the effort and collecting those examples in a well-structured format. And thank you for reading this blog post, feel free to comment or share this post if you find it useful.

Monthly Challenges : June ’15 Weight Loss and Standing Desk

Hello all,

I had two challenges for June and luckily I completed both of them.

1. Lose 3 kg.s in a month.

This one was easy, I will not get into details. I was 87.6 kg.s, I cut off eating junk food, I began to count my steps and put a target of 10.000 steps daily. And at the end I was 83.8 kg.s. I’ve reached and passed my target.

2. Work on Standing Desk

This was the real challenge. Actually,  when I am working at home, I am already using my DIY standing desk,  but I am working at most two hours at home. So it is not challenging.

Standing desk in the office has at least two challenges. Which are a) convincing manager and colleagues, b) really standing for 8 hours straight.

For the first part, luckily we were moving to a new office, I had the most isolated part for myself. So I will not get too much attention 🙂 And my manager is an open-minded man, he is also very friendly (once we were colleagues). Convincing manager was not that hard. It took more time for my colleagues to get used to me 🙂

Second part was hard sometimes. When you google ‘standing desk’ and read some blog posts about them. You will see some tips, which come true when I experience it. First of all just standing and working like that is not possible. I often transfer my weight from one leg to another, take some small walks in office, have some small sitting pauses when I am taking notes or a friend ask for some help.

Shoes are really important when you stand all day long. Hard soled shoes will make your day a nightmare, some people use yoga mats to soften the floor. I choose more soft soled shoes. This way my feet don’t cry for help.

I also built my standing desk in office, so it is a DIY standing desk like the one at home. This have some pros, like I have two spare shelves to put my notebooks, pens etc.

My DIY Standing Desk
My DIY Standing Desk

Now, I am happy with the result.

Have a look at also my post on LinkedIn about standing desk : https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/130746977
Leave comments, keep in touch.

Android : MAKEIT Rehber Project


Last night I developed a new Android application for inhouse use of my company. Since we are a small company which aims to get bigger, our population keeps growing. This brings some problems with it. For example, some older employees don’t know about newcomers and their contact information.

One day I needed to call a new employee and I realised I don’t have her contact information. And before that point I was not aware of situation. Then I decided to make a phonebook that reads information from a shared file on internet, which our HR will update when somebody joins or leaves the company. So every employee would have every other’s contact information.

This is how MAKEIT Rehber was born. – Rehber means phonebook in Turkish. – Yesterday night I developed the first version of application, where the contact info was hardcoded, then added reading a remote file, then I added sending SMS or Whatsapp messages directly and lastly I added my own open source library : tellal to send notifications through MAKEIT Rehber. This notifications can be just new version notifications or something about company.

There is still some development to do. But it has more than enough abilities now.

Below you can find a screenshot.



Thanks for reading, please do not hesitate to ask your questions or comment on my posts in the comment area you can find below.

Have a nice day.

Project Management


There is a good project management article on the internet. Which takes delivering baby as a Software project and share which role thinks what about the project exactly. I believe it is really close to daily life projects, we have in enterprise companies, where we have an obivous line and knowledge difference between project roles. Here is that article.

Have fun!

  • Project Manager is a person who thinks nine women can deliver a baby in one month.
  • Developer is a person who thinks it will eighteen months to deliver a baby.
  • The Onsite Coordinator is one who thinks single woman can deliver nine babies in one month.
  • The Client is the one who doesn’t know why he wants a baby.
  • Marketing Manager is a person who thinks he can deliver a baby even if no man and woman are available.
  • The Resource Optimization Team thinks they don’t need a man or woman; they’ll produce a child with zero resources.
  • The Documentation Team doesn’t care whether the child is delivered, they’ll just document 9 months.
  • The User Interface Team will design a baby with three arms and one leg and ask if it can be done.
  • The Quality Auditor is the person who is never happy with the process to produce a baby.
  • Tester is a person who always tells his wife that this is not the right baby.

Test your SQLs online

Nowadays I am trying to answer questions about SQL, PL/SQL and Oracle on StackOverflow . You can see my profile card below :

 profile for Canburak Tümer at Stack Overflow, Q&A for professional and enthusiast programmers

Recently I am seeing a new web site link in answers, while I am navigating through as much questions as possible. That site called SQLFiddle where you can create an online database and try your codes.

Screenshot from web site
Screenshot from web site

As you can see above it is pretty simple, and it is really easy to use. There is different products and different versions for some products you can choose between. While I am writing this post, exact list was like below:

  • MySQL 5.5.30
  • MySQL 5.6.6 m9
  • MySQL 5.1.61
  • Oracle 11gR2
  • PostgreSQL 9.1.8
  • PostgreSQL 9.2.1
  • PostgreSQL 8.4.12
  • PostgreSQL 8.3.20
  • SQLite (WebSQL)
  • SQLite (SQL.js)
  • MS SQL Server 2008
  • MS SQL Server 2012

Jake Feasel, creator of SQLFiddle, explains why he built the site as :

I found JS Fiddle to be a great tool for answering javascript / jQuery questions, but I also found that there was nothing available that offered similar functionality for the SQL questions. So, that was my inspiration to build this site. Basically, I built this site as a tool for developers like me to be more effective in assisting other developers.

How to use

So let’s talk about how to use SQLFiddle,

First of all, you select the product you want to use from combo box on top-left corner, next to site logo. Then you should create your schema, in left editor you can create tables and insert data to your tables. When you are done with coding click Build Schema button to run your code. Now you have your tables and data. You can write your queries in the right editor and run them. Results will appear below editors.


There is a limitation with MySQL, that Jake Feasel explains in About page. On the right editor you can only use select if you are using MySQL, with other products feel free to use all DML operations.


There are around 12 different log-in options like G+ and OpenID. When you login to site, you can see your Fiddle history, and your favorite fiddles. There is no other advantages of logging in yet.

That’s all for today. Do not hesitate to comment.

P.S. I am preparing new ODI post but I am really busy with my work these days. So follow my blog for updates.

Online Tools for Productivity

Hello all,

Today I am going to write a non-technical post. The online tools I use for productivity in my college and work life, which make my life simpler and easier. All the tools I will mention below have free plans or demo versions as well as they have premium, or paid services.


      For mailing, my first choice was GMail, which has been developed and  served by Google. It was a huge thing to have 2GB inbox space when GMail first published. I remember around eight years ago when I first heard of it. There was only one way tou subscribe to GMail, which is getting an invitation. Since these days, it became an public service, Inbox space enlargened to 10GBs and still growing.

GMail then had more abilities, and integrated to new services like calendar, docs and etc.






Outlook.com is the new e-mail service of Microsoft. And I am pretty happy with this account and web mail interface. It is easy to use, has a clear interface, and nice features. Microsoft is going to turnover all hotmail        accounts to outlook until the end of June 2013, says rumors on the web. Also it is nice that nowadays there are lots of options for e-mail addresses you can take. For example your_name.surname@gmail.com may be taken in gmail but it is quite possible to find your_name.surname@outlook.com address available. Also as Microsoft Office Outlook is a well known software, this e-mail addresses seems more professional.


Meetings And Collaboration


For meeting appointments I use Doodle.com. You create a survey including times, send invitation to attendees, then they check their available time. So you can find a suitable time for all to make an appointment for your meeting or other event.


Scriblink is an online whiteboard, where all the attendees can add/drop something to the white board. Attendees can also chat in the chat pane.





Google Docs is like an online Office tool with Spreadsheets, Presentations, Word Processor. You can view, edit and share documents via Google Docs. It recognizes and opens all common file extensions we use in daily life.





Skype is the software I use most for video-calls. It has chat, voice call and video call abilities, with conference support. It is easy to use and has ability to call phones also.








Dropbox is a well-known file sharing tool. I also use it for sharing files between our project group and also publishing files through internet for public download.


Facebook groups,  we use Facebook Groups for really small project groups for innovative discussions, sharing videos and photos and ideas between our group. As everybody uses facebook on a daily basis nowadays, it is an easy and secure way to update whole group via Facebook. Also you can share documents and files, which is a great plus. And the most useful ability is to make your group hidden and closed.


Other Utilities

Evernote.com  It is the most used utility for me, I use it on my Android phone and my iPod to write notes on the way. And use its web interface to check and edit my notes. I have all kinds of information on my evernote like new blog posts, project topics, my home’s utilization bills, etc.

Creately.com  This is the website I use to draw. Drawing ER diagrams, workflows, GANTT charts etc. is very easy with using creately. So it is useful and light-weight.

TeamViewer Remote control is a need in IT environment, using my computer at home form work or from my mobile device is easy with TeamViewer. Some times you need something from your personal computer, or you need a connection without proxy servers, then TeamViewer works for me.

Google Calendar  I am an android user. So I have an integrated phone with my Google account, which leads me to use Google Calendar for my appointments, it is nice to have a synchronized agenda in my pocket all the time.

Hootsuite.com This is a social media center for you. In free plan you can add up to five accounts, and control all accounts through online dashboard. It is nice to have all social media in one screen, control all your virtual presence, develop your personal brand and image.

That’s all, I am using these tools to get my productivity and collaboration boosted. Try them and comment me, or comment the online tools you like most.