If I were to assess my experience so far, I would classify myself as a Junior Developer. However, there's a lot of 'Senior' job openings that have responsibilities that seem to just fit my skills and capabilities.

How do recruiters define senior staff and when should I try applying for senior roles?

  • 1
    If you meet the responsibilities, why does the title matter?
    – Brian
    May 4, 2015 at 14:15
  • 1
    Do your peers look to you for guidance or advice? Do you have more than the average amount of input into how the work is done? If so, you're "senior", never mind your title.
    – Roger
    May 4, 2015 at 14:54
  • Perhaps I should change the title due to the 2 close votes it currently has. Please let me know if it can be improved.
    – Zaenille
    May 4, 2015 at 15:19
  • 2
    A junior asks questions. A senior answers them.
    – user1220
    May 4, 2015 at 19:17

2 Answers 2


The definition of senior is: "more advanced than junior."

The exact dividing line between the two titles is up to the company and it will vary by job class.

Review the requirements for the job posting, and If you meet all the mandatory requirements and some or most of the optional requirements, then apply for the position.

If they don't think your experience meets their requirements, then the the only thing you have lost is the time it took to apply.

Don't be intimidated.

  • 1
    I agree with the overall response, but this day and age Senior really can mean anything from. "More advanced than junior", "Is a better negotiator", "Is friends with the boss", "worked here the longest", "worked here X years", "worked in this field X years", etc. Like "Engineer" it's liberal use has effectively bankrupt of real meaning in a broad sense. (it's still a valuable title, but only in companies that senior really means something) May 4, 2015 at 15:15

I'll try and give my expectations between junior and senior, not just for developers although that is a role close to my own heart:

A Senior should be

  • Proficient in all aspects of their role (a junior may still be learning some parts)
  • Able to manage their own time and juggle tasks according to their estimates without supervision
  • Able to oversee tasks of junior (or student) colleagues
  • Able to review and correct work of junior and student colleagues
  • Able to make small scale decisions for the team, or be trusted to refer upwards
  • Able to temporarily fill in lead roles, as part of their onward career path.

If you can (or are expected) to do this I'd argue you were senior, no matter how much (or little) experience you have.

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