In general, what's the difference between a "Vice President" and a "Director"?

My company is about to have both a "Vice President of Software" and a "Director of Software", which seems a bit bizarre and redundant to me. I'm wondering what the industry perception of these titles is, and how they relate to each other in a generic corporate hierarchy.

In my case, both positions would be writing code.

  • Sounds pretty superficial to me if they're not actually managers. I would expect both positions to be managing team leads who in turn manage teams at the minimum. – Andrew Bartel Jan 17 '14 at 16:14
  • Well, in this instance the Director will report to the VP, and the Engineers report to the Director.. At least, according to the org chart. – Yeraze Jan 17 '14 at 16:16
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    No one with those titles should be writing code - ever. Senior managers have no business writing code. It is their job to mange not to code. – HLGEM Jan 17 '14 at 16:36
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    This seeems like a question that your mangement should be able to answer. The titles are not universal. Its odd that somebody with those titles are writting code. – Donald Jan 17 '14 at 16:39
  • It might help if you indicated the approx. size of the company, and even what are some of the other VP and Director positions. There does appear to be a bizarre conflict though: If it is a very small company, with both of those people writing code then the titles are grandiose. If it is a large company, with a VP above some Directors, how/why are they still coding? – Martin F Jan 17 '14 at 17:03

This answer addresses the typical expectations in a corporate type environment. Your specific company could be set up completely differently.

Typically its is about the organization structure. A VP will be the business head of the company and will have several directors and/or managers reporting to them. Their role is typically to set the business direction, help prioritize projects, interact with business partners and customers.

The director role is more of the operations position. The director will have several managers or teams reporting to them. It is the directors responsibility to make sure that business priorities are being advanced and that the resources are in place to meet all of the objectives set out by the CEO, President, and VP. In smaller organizations the Director will also act as manager and will have the additional responsibilities of overseeing and development of their teams. In a larger company the director will not act as a manger, but rather only have the management responsibility over the managers.

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