I am currently working as a "Senior Software Developer" and possibly will be promoted as a "Lead Software Engineer" very soon. My current employer is moving the focus out from software development to cyber security, thus they are not getting more projects on software development. So I was looking for some other opportunities and eventually found a position for a better salary than my current salary but the role is "Software Engineer".

Will this obvious title degradation affect my career?

I understand titles do not matter, but I am also aware that HR people when it comes to my possible future jobs may raise a concern over this one. How do I overcome those questions if they ask anything on such a title degradation?

  • 2
    What is your location? Because that matters a lot in how people view titles.
    – Borgh
    Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 14:01
  • 1
    Do not only tell them the titles you had in the past but also your responsibilities. Did you manage bigger projects, did you design complex systems, did you train juniors, etc. Context matters: Have been a lead developer of a team of 20 devs is more impressive than been a CTO of a startup without any employees. Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 14:43
  • @Borgh I am in Malaysia
    – Cloe Azuku
    Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 14:52

5 Answers 5


No, it doesn't. At a very small company, you could have a title such as 'IT Director', but if you moved to a large company you might be just a 'Software Developer'. Neither of these titles will pay your mortgage - your salary will. Recruiters are more interested in the quality of your resume rather than the titles themselves.

  • The inventors of UNIX at Bell Labs all had the job title "Member of the Technical Staff." Some Bell Labs people, those with Nobel Prizes and the like, were called "Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff."
    – O. Jones
    Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 15:15

Does it matter? Maybe even at the company. In some companies, pay increases and the like depend on title.

And when you switch, how much a title matters depends upon company/industry. I used to work for a companies where titles ment little, so I didn't care. Now, when searching for projects as IT Consultant, I often talk with people that have zero knowledge about IT, and I kinda regret not having better titles to throw around.

If you actually get the position offered, you can negotiate. And one point you can ask for is that they put that title (Senior Software Engineer/Developer) onto your contract. That way, you can switch and also keep your title. If asked for a reason, simply state something like: I am already a Senior, so I want to keep that.


What matters are 1) your achievements, and 2) your brand. A nicer title might contribute to your brand, but will do nothing for your achievements. Focus on those, with a caveat: if your role and responsibilities match a bigger title in your company, then you will have to make an argument to get not only the title, but also the compensation and benefits that specific company associates with it.


I do not think that this is something to be concerned about. The key things are the content of your role. In your CV for example, you can show and display exactly what you did with clear examples of increasing responsibility to back it up.


Many companies are aware that "seniority" it not something hard. You can earn it by sitting at a job for x amount of years, or because they hired people for Junior and had to give older employee that title.

Engineer is something more tied into reality. You know, like having test for engineer. They don't have to be academic test but it's assumed that if company hire someone for such position they check knolwedge and abilites in same way.

In Poland we had a title craze few years ago. A janitor was "regional manager for keeping flat surfaces clean", a babysitter was "compliance controller for OSHA" and so on.

Also HR realized that some jobs are just "title stuck". So can do your job very well but there are just no prefixes you can earn.
So distinguishing experience had to be based on WHAT you've been doing and not how somebody decided to name that.

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