I work for a Canadian company that for a combo of management stubbornness and the robust remote job market taking Canada's brains south, we have absolutely no senior engineers left. None. Besides my team lead who no longer codes, there are just people with about 2 years experience or less.

The last left two months ago. I checked my boss's calendar and there are no interviews lined up, so either it is not urgent or they just can't hire anyone.

In the meantime, the development team consists of juniors using frameworks they have never really used. I am writing stuff to a "it seem to work" standard in Angular, a framework I have never used. Another junior who mostly used nosql before is now writing SQL. It was fine when there were senior engineers to help catch the stupid stuff we are doing, but now nobody has a clue what is going on.

I already switched jobs a year ago so I am reluctant to switch again already, but unless they get some better skilled people, I have nobody to really learn from except Udemy.

  • 3
    You don't receive the training you need to grow your career. That is sufficient reason to switch jobs. One year isn't that short, in particular if the job market is hot as you describe.
    – Roland
    Jun 11, 2021 at 7:25
  • Did you mention these issues with your manager? This might be an opportunity for you to try and get some company subsidized training and certificates under your belt.
    – skippy
    Jun 11, 2021 at 12:23
  • 2
    "I already switched jobs a year ago so I am reluctant to switch again already" You're reluctant to avoid wasting time and committing career suicide. 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, it's all the same in terms of employment time, but crucial difference in terms of your growth. No one is going to care that you leave, other than your current employer, if you can explain why.
    – Jonast92
    Jun 11, 2021 at 13:55
  • 1
    This sounds like it could be a very special kind of org dysfunction/crisis - one that creates an opportunity to accelerate your own growth. In a way that might not be there in normal times. With the staffing situation you describe, the path in front of you is clear, provided you do the extra work to master the technology before they hire anyone.
    – Pete W
    Jun 11, 2021 at 14:26

3 Answers 3


This sort of boils down to two separate issues.

Issue 1: what is the minimum length of time you can stay at a job, without looking like a job-hopper on your resume.

For software developers in the current market, I think many would say 1 year is the minimum. Note also that job-hopping is a pattern of short stays, so if you have only a single less-than-1-year stay on your resume, it won't necessarily signal "job-hopper" -- that one short job was an exception, and you can explain it.

That said, the longer you can stay somewhere, the better it looks.

Issue 2: how can you become less uncomfortable working in an environment where you don't have guidance from those more experienced.

You will need to do this until you have stayed there long enough -- whatever length you decide will make you not look like a job-hopper.

Part of this is just managing your own expectations. You and your fellow juniors are going to be writing not-the-best code, making rookie mistakes -- it's unavoidable. If management knows there are only juniors left and isn't hiring seniors (right now), then you have to accept that, in some sense, management is okay with this (right now). So don't worry so much about it.

I am writing stuff to a "it seem to work" standard in Angular, a framework I have never used.

Sadly -- and I say this as a senior developer -- a lot of the time, "it seems to work" is more or less the highest standard you can reasonably hope for.

And that standard, honestly, doesn't come from exquisitely-written code and exhaustive knowledge of the technology in use. It comes from understanding the problem correctly and having sufficient tests.

If the test suite is exhaustive enough, and reflects what's actually needed, the code can be absolute rubbish, and the thing will still work. Which is, at the end of the day, what the business needs to happen.

Having said that, the more you know about the tools you use, the easier it is to reach that point. But always remember that even seniors use StackOverflow to get solutions to their problems. (Constantly!)

  • 2
    "If the test suite is exhaustive enough" If the team is composed entirely of junior engineers, how would they be able to tell I'd the test suite is sufficient at all, let alone exhaustive? It's not really something typically taught in university. "It seems to work" implies to me that very little if any automated testing is being done at all.
    – nick012000
    Jun 12, 2021 at 9:05
  • 1
    Agree with the above. A prime example is the junior writing SQL - do they have any idea what SQL injection even is, nevermind how to protect against it?
    – tddmonkey
    Jun 12, 2021 at 11:03
  • @nick012000 "It's not really something typically taught in university" Yes, I know -- that's why I made a point of mentioning it in this answer.
    – B. Ithica
    Jun 13, 2021 at 6:18

Speak to your boss. It is possible that they have been told not to hire anyone due to any number of reasons. Or, they may be trying to hire but no decent resumes are coming through. Or, they may even not be aware that a lack of seniority in the team is a problem, in which case you have brought it to their attention.

The point is, you don't know until you speak to them. In the meantime, your team has been given a bunch of business requirements for software that your stakeholders want you to build! You have a great opportunity for personal and professional development by taking ownership of your own growth. Regardless of the lack of seniority in the team, the requirements still exist, the software is still needed. This is an opportunity to deliver software, and you should grab it with both hands!

Generally, people learn fastest through failure. If you are exposed to more failure due to lack of seniority in the team, there will doubtless be invaluable lessons you can take away from that.

  • When the senior engineers were picking up the failures that was good, but failures found by customers as the seniors are not there - not so good...
    – Solar Mike
    Jun 11, 2021 at 8:15
  • 1
    Agreed @solarmike however my point was about OPs personal development, not customer outcomes.
    – numenor
    Jun 11, 2021 at 9:56

Tell your managers about your concerns and make them aware of the potential technical debt that the team is building up due to no senior direction. Ask them what their plans are to replace the developers that left. - You are allowed to ask this.

If you think your growth is being prevented or you aren't happy with the companies future plans, then start looking for another job, and hand in your notice when you get a new offer.

No one can tell you how long to wait, you have to decide that.

Don't worry about "job hopping". Employers with an ounce of sense don't assume short stays are due to job hopping. I've seen developers with 20 jobs at 3 months each.. they aren't job hopping. They were contract positions.

IE. Your application won't be ignored due to short stays. You will get the opportunity to explain them (and you have a very valid reason). As a junior it is expected you will have a handful of short stays and probably won't even be questioned about it.

If you're a mid-level or senior and have 2 handfuls of short stays, you may be asked about it, but there are perfectly valid reasons you can give.

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