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For some context, our team looks as follows: We're 1 manager (also our best developer, he's responsible for servers, pull requests, DBA, IT architect etc etc), 1 teamleader, 1 senior dev and 5 new developers.

Out of these 5 new developers, 1 of us started 2 and a half years ago, 3 of us started at the same time 2 years ago, and one of us started a few months ago. All of us were juniors that had more or less never worked in development, only through studies or home projects.

The "oldest" of the new devs, and 1 of the people that started 2 years ago have received promotions to "Senior" positions. There was no intermediate of just being a developer, they jumped straight from junior to senior. These promotions are a result of them leading their own project and delivering on them more or less by themselves. Their promotion included a pay raise, the title and an NDA to not talk about the specifics.

More context: When we looked for these jobs I had assumed it would be the same kinds of junior roles that friends and aquaintances started out with, but without going into specifics we're pretty much doing all parts of development right off the bat: writing user stories, specifications, talking to colleagues for more specs, the development, the testing and to an extent the pull requests (that the manager still signs off on most of the time). In sweden we have 3 "difficulty levels" of programming that the Union (and my company) used to determine wages. As juniors naturally we're in the lowest bracket, but the scope of our work is definitely in the second difficulty level which also implies a significant pay raise. Im fairly certain this is the reason the colleagues that got promoted to Senior had to sign an NDA; because despite receiving a raise they probably did not match the market standard for the work we actually do (now). This is the first of my tin foil hat ideas and might be completely unwarranted, but NDAs regarding wages seems very off to me, I sure as hell didn't have to sign one the first time.

Having now completed a few of these projects myself without major issues (I have made some critical errors that cost us a lot of time as a result of just developing for the first few months, instead of doing my due BA research that would have been required), I'm suspecting they're going to offer me the same or similar deal they've offered to my colleagues that have already been allowed to switch to the "Senior" title. (The only change in respsonsibilities is that we always need to have at least 1 Senior on site. In day to day work there's almost no difference in what our tasks and assignments are). It seems a little bit like they'd want to give us the senior title with lower pay, so we won't look for junior jobs that have lower pay, and can't really look for senior jobs with higher pays because well.... we're not seniors. This last sentence is simply me putting my tin-foil hat on again though, overall I have no idea if that is part of their motivation.

My question is: Can this hurt me? When I was looking for jobs I saw some of the meme-level positions that wanted juniors with 7 years of work experience but my understanding was that being a senior is closer to that number than it would be to working for 1-2 years. I don't care too much about the muddied responsibilities or their pay technically not meeting market standard as I have a great opportunity to work with a ton of different systems here and the experience I'm getting is way better than "difficulty level 1" which would be strictly bug duty or classifying tickets etc. But I feel like it would seem extremely shady if I were to switch jobs in say 1 more year and my CV would say senior, as most people with that amount of experience are still classified juniors.

Is this anything I should care about when it comes to strictly the title change, or is it something I'm overthinking that really doesn't matter at all in the grand scheme of things? All the context is just because I know some of you on here are amazing at spotting red flags or have had similar experiences. Overall the company seems good, they matched the union wages even though i asked for less on the application and the teamleader and manager are trying their best. It's just that the whole concept of boosting juniors to seniors after as little as a year seems like it could have consquences down the line, but I'm not sure if my concerns are warranted or how normal/rare things like this are.

Thanks for reading <3

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  • @JoeStrazzere Good, that's what I want to hear! Because to me it would have seemed extremely sketchy if someone with 2 years of experience TOTAL rolled up and introduced themselves as a senior dev. Surely it could be interpreted as overestimating your ability, working for a friend that bumped you up or even just straight up lying? It doesn't seem to be the case though and the whole debate around what "senior" implies might just be a part of the interviews after that point. The promotion itself obviously wouldn't hurt me anyway, so maybe the question was more about omitting it from a CV.
    – Tony
    May 5 at 14:22
  • Union? What country are you in?
    – Xavier J
    May 5 at 16:45

1 Answer 1

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There is little consistency between employers. I have see the removal of Junior after just a year or two. I have seen the addition of senior just as quickly. Other companies expect 5 to 10 years of experience to change titles. Your company appears to have two levels (Jr/Sr); I have seen companies with as many as 5 levels for each job category.

A note about the word Junior. I was told many years ago if there are only two levels it should be X and Senior X, that way a persons title doesn't look like they aren't fully qualified. That makes some sense. My first real job when I was in college was as a Junior Data Assistant. That has two words that denote less than full quantification. I was made an engineer once I graduated.

Unless I have experience with your company it is never clear what the qualifications are for promotion in a candidates former companies. I have to decide when reviewing your resume if your experience and performance rate you qualifying for the position I have open. Then you decide if the salary I am offering meets your needs.

Don't let the title of former, current, or future jobs concern you. They have no meaning outside the specific company.

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  • So basically there's no reason for worry. That's great to hear! If the deviations are this big regularly that definitely removes almost all concerns, as the part of the interview where i have to explain my credentials / cv has always been one of my strong suits (and the cv/credentials themselves the weak one hehe). I'll leave the question open until tomorrow afternoon, but if we don't get any big objections I'll take this answer as is :) I guess I was duped by the people that pour their life and soul into getting a better title, somehow convincing myself that that must make it matter. Silly!
    – Tony
    May 5 at 13:19

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