I'm about to receive an offer that is quite aligned with my experience, and the pay is excellent. However, I'm concerned about the implications of the title change based on my career trajectory.
At my last employer, I was started as a Staff Engineer and quickly promoted to Engineering Manager. There is a strange, almost unspoken situation here with many engineering organizations where this is considered a lateral move, but I was met with "congratulations on the promotion" nonetheless. Either way, I was very excited for this role change, I consider myself someone that is much more interested in this part of the job--even if it is truly lateral.
Anyway, I was ultimately responsible for technical direction, project management, and people/performance/career development for several direct reports. Of course, I was also still knee-deep in parts of the codebase that had a large impact.
This new role in front of me shares many of the same responsibilities. I will be accountable for direction, planning and people leadership. I will also be coding about at least 50% of my time, a slight increase from around 30-40%, but that feels like semantics.
What is really throwing me for a loop, which I hope you can help me with--is that the title is just "Senior Engineer." To me, the responsibilities go far beyond where I've seen this title before, but the company has assured me that they have a uniquely flat model where everything I've mentioned before is expected even at this level.
On to my concerns:
- The pay is right, more than I made as an engineering manager or staff engineer. This is significant.
- I do want to continue my track as a people manager. I really enjoyed this role previously. I'm concerned that going back to an individual contributor role officially, even if I'm unofficially still performing this task, will raise questions and set me back career-wise for that next time I'm looking for work.
- Taking the people management track out of the equation entirely--I'm going from Staff Engineer to Senior Developer. Again, the responsibilities required of me go beyond what I saw other Staff Engineers previously be accountable for at previous employers. Does this matter at all? Should I care about this?
Overall my main concerns are how this will impact my career on title alone. The responsibilities seem to be 1:1, perhaps even more than what I've ever done previously. Will it be reasonable to expect people to read past the title on my resume/LinkedIn? Or is that flexible enough where I can put a more applicable/generalized title without being sketchy?