I was reading this question where the original poster say it is his/her first job. But the (at the moment) only answer points that he is ready to take senior position. I was surprised because in the question it clearly says that is the first job.

Which are the characteristics of the Senior positions?

Reading from other questions and answers seems that the time working on a subjects matter, as well as being in related positions or in the same position in different cultures/companies. It is also clear to me that the senior positions involve more responsibilities and decision-making.

I am looking for a common and broad accepted description about what means being a senior or a senior job.

Edit: I am interested in Bioinformatic field or in Biotechnoloy related positions. And not so on programming specific descriptions.


2 Answers 2


Unfortunately, "senior", like so many other words that imply better somehow, has gotten diluted. If you're really cynical, then "senior" means about as much as "deluxe", "grande", and "turbo".

To answer the question more directly, as a job seeker you have the right to expect "senior" to mean:

  1. More advanced than whatever the entry level version of the job is. There must be at least one, preferably a few levels below a senior person. These are not necessarily managerial levels, but levels of responsibility and higher level decision making authority. For example a senior engineer probably wouldn't be the political boss (wouldn't be doing salary reviews, etc) of junior engineers, but would have higher level authority over a design.

  2. Expected to help grow junior people. Part of the responsibility is not only to watch that junior people are doing the right job or a good job, but to help them learn their jobs. Not only should you be using a fraction of your time to deliberately mentor junior people, but also be available as a go-to resource for those junior people.

  3. Be included in some higher level discussions regarding overall direction, not just handed well-defined tasks others have already decided need to be done.

  4. Take a fraction of your time to look around, think a few levels higher, and possibly find things that could be done differently. This is the opposite of just doing what your told and not asking any questions.

How senior (according to the above points) senior really is in any one organization can vary. Partially due to the dilution of the term "senior", there may be other levels. For example, nowadays a "principal engineer" is a more senior "senior engineer".

As with any term like this, it's a rough guide at best. You need to look carefully at the text of any job description, and don't be afraid to ask questions if what you're interviewing for doesn't seem to match the writeup for the job on the web site.

  • For the syndical view I would say it also implies the price (salary) mark up similarly found on items marked with "Deluxe", etc. (IE you should be paid a fair margin better than a junior would) May 30, 2014 at 13:46
  • 1
    I agree this is pretty much what I expect out of a senior job but it seems that most senior positions could and probably really should be just name level positions. What most employers want is an experienced employee that can work on their own, rather than someone to take on senior level tasks as you have listed. May 30, 2014 at 16:01

In the company I work for, a description would be

  1. Junior - responsible for 1-5 servers/workstations, working on one task under the direct supervision of someone in a mid or senior position, implementing a process improvement under the direct....
  2. Mid-level - responsible for up to 2 junior, 5-10 servers/workstations, working on multiple tasks open beyond two days with limited supervision, discovering/reporting potential process improvements
  3. Senior - responsible for supervising up to 10 junior and/or 5 mid-level personnel, directing and being responsible for the work done on multiple tasks, developing a process improvement

This is just one perspective on a broad topic.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .