Definitions

To complete the application, you will need to pull data about employees across four 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 numbers 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. Please review all three sections before submitting your data.

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, and 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
  • Web analysts/search engine optimization professionals with technical specialization and coding expertise

Category B: IT Engineering and Support

  • IT engineers
  • 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 who are 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 who are 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, and do not entail the management of a technical product or people
  • 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 percentages at four 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.

In the application form, you are also able further distinguish employees at the executive and senior level who are in a Technical Individual Contributor (IC) track. This distinction is for companies that have well-defined dual career paths, and will not apply to all organizations. For this measure, please consider your career path structure, not just current reporting relationships.

The four levels are defined as follows:

Executive-level 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 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 managers and contributors

This band includes employees who have achieved deep technical expertise and experience and who are in 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 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 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 contributors

This band comprises first-level contributors in the 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.

Definition of Prior Year and Current Year data periods

Because we measure year-over-year improvement in the representation and advancement of women technologists, all participants must submit data for two 12-month data periods. In order to ensure comparability, all applicants must submit data for the following periods:

  • Prior Year Data period:
    April 1, 2015 – March 31, 2016
  • Current Year Data period:
    April 1, 2016 – March 31, 2017

Data for both years must be submitted no later than Wednesday, May 10, 2017.

Now that you understand our definitions, review the specific metrics we collect.