I'm a young (27 yrs old) analyst programmer that has recently been promoted to a senior title and assigned to R&D.

[Optional Drama Start]

My previous duties were to participate to C#, Winforms applications development. I was specialized in reverse-engineering, .NET alterations, interfacing with obfuscated libraries, etc. I was respected.

Now in R&D I'm part of an HTML5 development team in which I play the role of a total newbie. I don't like web applications for their programming look and feel, performance, high-levelness, etc. Also, I must admit, that I've been somehow affected by the bias towards web developers that's been roaming around the people I used to frequent. Website development was said to be for people that 1-studied multimedia 2-were too lazy for a bachelor 3-can't handle to much programming logic. OK that's judgemental, but the point is I feel that anyone can do it. It's very ordinary to me.

[Optional Drama End]

Recently I heard I'll be doing plain HTML5 applications for a while (long) as R&D related duties aren't a prioriy. I don't like web development. That's why I was thinking of re-orienting my career towards C++ as it touches much things I like: performance, 3D, hardware, etc...

So I'm currently a "R&D Senior Analyst Programmer". Not bad, but what should I expect when switching to C++. Should I let go my senior title for that. I mean, I'm currently not a C++ grandmaster and won't be able to yield as a senior from day 1.

The question in context: Should one allow his title/salary to be downgraded when moving to another programming language or should one insist keeping an equivalent title/salary? E.g. (Senior).

Edit: Added salary in the question.

  • Personally, I feel titles are overrated. One job I had, the title was literally what was in the job posting J2EE Developer. Another I had a title that even I didn't fully understand, nor did anyone I ever interviewed with. Don't sweat the title. It makes a very minor difference on the resume, and rarely makes a difference in pay/benefits (depends on the organization). Don't get down on yourself about web programming either. It's ok if you don't like it, but it is also one of the fastest growing and highest paying fields within computer science. Sep 25, 2014 at 17:30
  • 1
    Very related question (identical?) - workplace.stackexchange.com/q/3347/2322
    – enderland
    Sep 25, 2014 at 17:45
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    Those who think that web development is something that "anyone can do it" I would say the same about C++. If, however, we ask whether "anyone can do it well"... now we're asking a useful question and the answer is the same for web development as it is for C++ development: no... only practiced and disciplined developers can do it well
    – Dancrumb
    Sep 25, 2014 at 17:56
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    Lets face it at 27 you aren't a senior in anything even if you have the title. And if you think web dev is easy you aren't doing it right. (ANd I say that as a database specialist not a web devloper, but my datbases support web applications that are much more complicated than any win form app I have seen.) Frankly you come across as an arrogant snob.
    – HLGEM
    Sep 25, 2014 at 18:17
  • It's true that quality product equals quality programmers. Also, people need to have better programming skills nowadays as websites are getting more and more complex. We're far from the plain old HTML websites. Fact is still that these titles are accessible with less formation.
    – Olograph
    Sep 25, 2014 at 18:51

1 Answer 1


If you move to a job that you are not currently qualified for at the same level as the current job, then yes you might have to take a title cut or a salary cut to get the job.

Why should I pay 100K (number chosen at random)for a senior person when I am hiring a trainee? Now you might not have to take as big a cut as someone who is truly right out of school as you have proven you can do programming work even if in another field. So if I would pay a senior 100K and a person right out of school 50K, then I might offer you 75K. Now that might be in line with your current salary if your current specialty pays less well than the one you are moving to. But it could depend on my budget, if I only have a budget for a trainee position, then you have less negotiating room. If I was planning to hire someone more senior but couldn;t find one I wanted, then I might offer you more knowing you will take longer to come up to seed than someone with experience. It might also incvolve if you are bringing something from your prior experience to the tabel that would offset you being a trainee like specific domain experience.

As with any job change though, you need to balance what they are willing to pay you against what you need to have to pay your bills. If you can afford the cut and the job will take you where you want to go, then it is a possibility. Many people I know have done this to move to a more lucrative field. You can also negotiate a pay raise after X number of months after you have proven yourself. After all I would expect an experienced dev to get up to a more senior level in a new field faster than a new dev.

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