Definitions

To complete the application, you will need to pull data about employees across five levels in your company’s U.S.-based technical workforce. Pay attention to both the data period and our metric instructions. In some cases, the information you provide will be based on a single snapshot at the end of the data period, whereas others require an average or total number for the year. Some metrics also require you to break out the numbers by a given level or by career path.

Our instructions include general information, these definitions, and metric explanations. Use the Top Companies Instructions and Data Template to prepare your data for submission.

Definition of Technical Workforce

For the purpose of Top Companies, we define the technical workforce as all technical occupations in computing and information technology, all occupations that require deep technical specialization and knowledge, as well as managers, directors, and executives who oversee technical employees and the development and delivery of technical products. Additionally, the workforce is defined by position, not department.

Examples of these positions by broad organizational category include:

Category A: Engineering, Research and Development, and Technical Design

  • Software engineers/developers/programmers/analysts/architects/QA and testing specialists
  • Hardware engineers/hardware systems engineers
  • Electronic engineers, telecommunication/component/computer network engineers/technicians
  • Design and CAD engineers/technicians
  • Scientists and researchers in technical science and engineering disciplines (e.g., computer science, human computer interaction, and interface design)
  • Technical product designers
  • Human factors/HCI/user interface engineers and specialists

Category B: IT Engineering and Support

  • IT systems and data analysts
  • Computer operations and security specialists
  • IT engineer/support/desktop technicians
  • Database/systems/network/web administrators/specialists/technicians
  • Content architects

Category C: Technical Services, Technical Sales, Technical Support, and Technical Marketing

  • Solutions architects and technology consultants
  • Localization and search optimization engineers
  • Technical sales engineers
  • Technical support engineers/specialists/technicians
  • Technical training and learning specialists
  • Technical support specialists in call center
  • Technical evangelists
  • Technical product marketing professionals

Category D: Technical Management and Technical Leadership

  • Technical product managers
  • Technical project and program managers
  • Leaders in charge of managing technical employees, such as team leads, directors, general managers, senior directors, vice presidents, and executive vice presidents of engineering/IT/technology
  • Leaders in charge of overseeing the delivery of technology products and processes, such as general managers or program managers of a software/hardware or IT product
  • Individual contributors whose primary task is leading innovation and technical projects and products, such as principal/distinguished engineers, fellows, and architects

Note: The technical workforce does not include:

  • Positions that are not technical occupations, do not require deep technical specialization/knowledge, or do not entail the management of a technical product or staff.
  • Technical writers.
  • Scientific and technical positions that are not computer related, such as biotechnicians, civil engineers, or aerospace engineers.

Definition of Career Levels

The application form asks you to report representation at five career levels, determined in accordance with your company structure. These levels are mutually exclusive; no individual employee can be counted in more than one level.

Executive-level technical managers and contributors

This band includes technical executives with responsibility for company-wide technology strategy or expertise and/or high-level functional responsibility for a technical product, as well as executive-level individual contributors. Note that technical executives may reside outside of the “technical career path” or R&D/Engineering function but must manage technical employees and the delivery of technical products, lead technical development, project teams, divisions, and organizations within a company, and/or have deep technical knowledge/specialization.

Senior-level technical managers and contributors

This band includes employees who have achieved deep technical expertise and experience, and who occupy senior management positions with significant functional responsibilities pertaining to technical projects, as well as senior individual contributors. Note that technical senior-level managers may reside outside of the “technical career path” or R&D/Engineering function, but must manage technical employees and the delivery of technical products, lead technical development, project teams, divisions, and organizations within a company, and/or have deep technical knowledge/specialization.

Mid-level technical managers and contributors

This band includes employees who are considered “professionals” with established technical expertise. They contribute either as individual contributors, or as team leaders or middle managers. Again, these positions may be found outside of the R&D/Engineering function but are technical occupations and/or require deep technical specialization/knowledge.

Entry-level technical contributors

This band comprises first-level contributors in technical positions, as defined above. Entry-level contributors usually have no supervisory responsibility and fewer years of experience. Their work involves assisting the work of others as well as developing individual skills. Again, these positions may be found outside of the R&D/Engineering function but are technical occupations and/or require deep technical specialization/knowledge.

Internship or Co-Op technical contributors
This band comprises trainee contributors in technical positions, as defined above. Trainee contributors have no supervisory responsibility and are usually gaining work experience and learning through their experience. Their work involves assisting the work of others as well as developing individual skills. Again, these positions may be found outside of the R&D/Engineering function but are technical occupations and/or require deep technical specialization/knowledge. Trainees must receive either financial compensation or course credit for their work in order to be included in the count.

Definition of Data Periods

All participants must submit data for the current year. Prior year data is pre-populated for existing Top Companies participants. New participants will also need to collect prior year representation data.

Prior Year: April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019
Current Year: April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020