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I work for a Fortune 500 company and recently wanted a change. I interviewed with this company that is doing some good work and got an offer. The pay/benefits and the work they do is good (in fact better than my current job). However, the title I've been offered is "Senior Engineer."

In my current job, I am a lead engineer (at least that's the job title I have). This new company has a relatively flat structure and they have mostly engineers and senior engineers reporting to architects/managers (who have to be really exp/senior). I may be doing similar senior technical leadership role in my new job, but will the title mean I am taking a step back?

I look fwd to responses from you all on this one.

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    Your current company could've given you "Director of Engineering" but that doesn't really mean much if you get paid less and benefits are worse. – Jack Mar 23 '15 at 9:15
  • It's a small company. Just ask for the title you want. – Bowen Apr 8 '15 at 4:32
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Titles don't mean a thing. It's what you do that matters. When I interview, they ask me "What did you do?" I have gone for interviews over a period of 25 years and I have yet to be asked about my job titles. If you interview me and you ask me my job title, you'll be the first :)

Do they have lead engineers in your new company? If they don't, what are you fretting about? Having said that, you most probably have what it takes to be a lead engineer at the new company and if they actually have lead engieer positions, I don't see what should stop you from becoming lead once you are knowledgeable about your new company's software development workflow.

If you choose to accept the position, you have implicitly chosen to take care of the money aspect first and the title aspect later.

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Titles don't mean a thing. It's what you do that matters. I don't think that you'd be taking a step back joining the smaller company. In a large company, one is a small cog in a large organization, doing a well-defined job. In a small company, even for people with similar titles as in large companies, you'll be doing lots of different things. You'll get a much better feel for the overall development process and how the pieces fit together end-to-end. I noticed this when I switched from large organizations early in my career to small teams in the second half of my career up until now. I also noticed it in one particular medium sized company where I came from a large company but some of my team mates had come from smaller companies. In spite of their youth, I was amazed how much they know about lots of things in the end-to-end development and delivery process.

The experience you'll gain with "wearing lots of hats" in a small company will make you more valuable than somebody who only wore a smaller number of hats in a large company. And you'll also be valuable because you understand the pros and cons of large companies and small companies.

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