Hi everybody so I've been working like Application Engineer for the last 2 years in one of the best known companies in my country.

My position was not quite developer like it more consisted in resolving bugs and deploying the software on the cloud and some bash scripting so here is what I have experience with:

  • Linux
  • Microservices(Docker and Kubernetes)
  • Git
  • Attlassian Suite
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • SSH
  • some Javascript
  • some React and NodeJS

This is all experience on the job.

I've also built some freelance projects using vanila JS. So my goal is to become Full-Stack Dev or at least to start at the front-end so I've been learning full time as I quit my job the last three months here's what I've been learning and i can say that I have good grasp on CSS, HTML/5, ES6, React, NodeJS.

I started applying at the beginning of the week and already got four interviews for the next week.

So my question is: Do you think that I should be asking for more money than what Junior developer makes considering my work experience? (Jobs that I applied have listed more than 1 year experience)

  • 1
    Oh poor soul... first thing you need to learn is it is no longer possible to be a real "full-stack" developer in 2020. UI/UX is already TWO jobs, and you want to add backend, backend framework, AND DBA (RDBMS and NoSQL) to that? Companies hiring for "full-stack" are looking for a Many-in-1 deal: one person to do multiple jobs.
    – Nelson
    Commented May 15, 2020 at 5:04
  • Hi Nelson thank you for the quick answer isn't NodeJS considered backend framework I also forgot to mention that I have SQL Experience writing queries and also some MongoDB experience. Do you think it's better to apply for front-end positions only? Commented May 15, 2020 at 5:07
  • Thank you for the answer. Commented May 15, 2020 at 5:26
  • May I ask what your base education is? What did you do before you worked? 3 months self-teaching is not very impressive if you go against "junior developers" that are expected to have a professional full-time multi-year education.
    – nvoigt
    Commented May 15, 2020 at 7:09
  • 1
    I think the CS degree is a big point missing in your original post. Feel free to edit it in to make sure everybody gets that.
    – nvoigt
    Commented May 15, 2020 at 7:33

4 Answers 4


I'm a Solution Architect and have been in the software development business for about 25 years now - I've seen it all, I've done most of it, and now I hire other people to do it for me.

(I didn't intend this to be a wall of text when I started writing, but hey, enjoy!)

So what am I looking for when I hire a developer - that depends on the position, and I mostly hire mid- to senior-level developers.

When I look for a junior, I'm looking for a developer at the lower end of the price bracket because I'm looking for someone I don't expect to be able to work alone on most complex tasks - they should be able to grow into the position and eventually into a mid-level position, but its going to take some time to get there. Junior developers are like potted plants - they need feeding and watering and looking after and they will grow nicely.

When I look for a mid-level developer, I'm looking for someone I can throw complex tasks, often multi-ticket based, at who will catch them and work on them with minimal interaction after that point - mid-level devs are often the workhorses of development teams. They know what they don't know, and they know what they need to know to get the task done - they go off and learn what they need to in order to complete the work. They will ask good questions, and they will take the answers and run with them. They can come up with reasonably accurate estimates on work and tickets. They will produce good acceptance tests, good documentation and won't take much time to come up to speed on a bit of the puzzle they haven't worked on before. A mid-level dev is like a fruit tree in its prime - they've been nurtured and now you are reaping the fruit.

When I look for a senior developer, I'm looking for someone who will work with me in defining the work that needs to be done - they will look out for the gritty implementation details while I set the larger picture and identify the moving parts which need to be built. They will mentor the junior devs, and work with the mid-level devs on more complex matters. A senior developer is like an old oak tree - they've been around long enough to know what works, what wont, and they've seen it all.

Basically, what I'm saying is it doesn't matter what cool things you list on your CV - that might get you in front of me, but it won't get you the job as a mid-level developer. Your tool set is not necessarily my tool set, or the tool set that you will be working with when you come on board.

You might need to adapt to new ways of using the same tools, you might need to speak up about how to use something in a better way, you might need to learn brand new things. My job in interviewing you for the position is determining what you can do, not what your CV says you can do.

I'm not going to ask you how good you are at something, because I've had devs say they are the best thing since sliced bread and subsequently couldn't work out how to butter that bread. I'm going to ask you questions to determine how well you are likely to fit in, how well you are going to grow, what your analytical skills are like and what your general attitude is. I'm not going to give you a test based on what you say you know on your CV.

Mid- and senior-level developers have a different mindset to juniors - they know when something is iffy or out of place, they know where to look for issues, they know when the code being written is bad, and they know what to test and what to document. They have experience to draw on, and they will do that regularly.

A mid-level dev will happily go on an on-call rota to fix P1 issues out of hours (with remuneration of course) with minimal support - a junior dev will be out of their depth and require support most of the time.

A mid-level dev will often lead a development team on smaller projects and produce good results.

Does that sound like you? Are you ready to take that step up, accept more pay but at the same time more responsibility?


Get more money? Perhaps. Skip it? No.

There are definitely companies where you would be a junior+ developer with your devops experience (particularly the smaller ones where deployment is handled by developers) but you haven't spent much time doing 80%-100% of what a software developer does, namely designing applications and writing the code for them.

Your skills would be worth a small premium, but not a level skip.

  • Thank you for the answer Matthew I also have degree in informatics which I didnt mention because I don't think it matters I have been building native iOS applications for the last two years from the ground up mainly as entrepreneur attempts some of which did pretty well but I cant say that i have much knowledge as I googled what I needed and implemented it in the apps. Do you think that it's good idea to talk about that in the interview. Commented May 15, 2020 at 6:51
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    @ChristianDiorrr definitely worth talking about it especially if it fits with the job description. But I would not get my hopes up that it lets you skip a level. You'd really need to outshine in quite a few areas, not just technological knowledge but also in how you handle yourself, how experienced you are in working in a team and making the right calls. Most companies will rather hire you as a junior and then perhaps move you up faster rather than do that directly on good faith. Unless you'd be very convincing with your CV and the interview I'd even consider it a red flag. Commented May 15, 2020 at 10:50
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    @ChristianDiorrr Remember they have mainly your word and your self presentations in interviews to go on, no proven track record to have done the same position in other companies. So it's quite a bet. That's why it can be a red flag if they do that too easily - who might they have let jump in directly above you in the hierarchy without prior experience? Doing that sometimes when needed / really fitting may work, but if it's done all the time you have way too high a chance to end up with incompetent people in the wrong places. Commented May 15, 2020 at 10:54
  • Thanks for the advice @FrankHopkins Commented May 15, 2020 at 12:01
  • @ChristianDiorrr one additional hint: some companies have somewhat fixed definitions of what a junior and mid level developer is and a career track that outlines how you can climb up. When it is your time to ask questions you can always ask whether they have such tracks laid out or more general what career development support they have and how they decide on promotions and such. This can give you a glimpse in how to move up (more or less quickly) or whether to argue that you already fit the "next" level. Not every company does this though so they might deflect the question. Commented May 15, 2020 at 12:06

Seniority isn't just about which technologies you know, but how much you can affect the business you work for

Even if you have some exposure to a wide range of technologies, that doesn't make you a senior.

Senior developers are expected to be able to do much more than "just" creating features or fixing bugs: they are expected to train other developers, contribute to medium-to-long term technical vision in the company, estimate and size tasks and projects, et cetera.

Seniority also comes with an expectation of (successful) work experience, knowing how to navigate a workplace, building connections and a lot more, way beyond the coding part.

As Matthew said in his answer, you can ask for more money if you can prove that your technical contributions are above the expectations for your level and peers, but that's pretty much it unless the company is very small and manipulable.

It's always fine to negotiate, but keep in mind that you might come across as entitled and out of touch.

  • Thank you for the answer I never intended to be Senior Developer I was thinking of Mid-Level I'm not sure how the levels work as in the company i worked for we got just developers working in the support department and the senior developers working in the research and development department. I'm trying to be like those in the support department as they manly worked on resolving bugs and tasks assigned by their TL Commented May 15, 2020 at 7:12
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    Mid level developers should already show some of the expectations from seniors, that's why they're mid level. For example: being able to design (parts of) systems to be implemented or coach other developers during code reviews, etc.
    – STT LCU
    Commented May 15, 2020 at 7:14

No, because the junior in junior developer is really about amount of experience of applying your skills in a commercial setting, which means your experience of working in a team of software developers on a pre-existing codebase, with functional and non-functional requirements specified by end-users. You don't have any of that yet.

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