About 18 months ago I was hired at a fairly small firm as a junior developer. Because the firm was small often developers have to wear a lot of hats. So I had to do development on the front end, server and database. The company at the time had two lead developers.
Eventually the firm went belly up (about 9 months in) and we transitioned to new management but the same staff (with the former owner becoming our development manager). On top of that when we transitioned, the two lead developers we had quit. So we officially had no lead developers.
Because I was the only person left with any understanding the product, I was made an ad-hoc lead developer. So, I became responsible for integration, module design and a bunch of new technical tasks. I also was a project manager and often had to assess people with MORE experience than me. (I was in charge of juniors who had been at the company longer, but who were new to the product.)
So, I'm at a point in my career where I'm comfortable but I am curious about if I had to change jobs, how would explain this? My actual competency with code is that of a junior, but because I've been put into a position out of necessity, I am considered a Lead. (It went from ad-hoc lead to permanent full time lead).
My concern is: If I were to apply to a new position, and I put my current firm as a reference. When they call my development manager will say my position was a lead developer. Then the company I'm applying to will wonder why is a lead applying for a junior position?
How do I manage / explain the discrepancy?