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I've been working as a Software Engineer for 8 years. I have not specialized on any language or technology, as I've been unlucky with my assigned projects and almost all of them used different languages. I could consider myself a Senior regarding general experience, but maybe not regarding technologies. Right now I'm looking for positions as Software Engineer.

My question is, with my experience, is it good to aim for a Senior position as my next step? Or maybe a better question, do you think someone with my experience would be fit for a Senior position?

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    Whether you're a fit for a senior position depends on how good you are, not how many years you've done at the grindstone. – Philip Kendall May 7 '15 at 22:19
  • @PhilipKendall this answer seems to suggest that it's not as straightforward "Most companies want to hire people that have had their failures paid for by previous companies, that is why they require N+ years of experience..." – gnat May 8 '15 at 10:11
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    "Senior" is an unbelievably squishy term when it comes to this field. I'm out looking for a new position myself and have run across openings where it means more than two, five, ten or 15 or 20 years. Disregard the title and look at the requirements. – Blrfl May 8 '15 at 11:14
  • @PhilipKendall, If only that were true in all cases. Try working in defence contracting, where education/experience requirements for each engineering 'level' is very specifically laid out. – James Adam May 8 '15 at 13:30
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The major difference between a senior and junior developer isn't the number of years, nor is it the specialisation in any given technology. It is the ability to analyse the problem you are facing, break it down, perform whatever research you need and resolve it yourself. You don't have to go a more experienced person to solve it for you.

This doesn't mean you can't go talk to an expert in a given technology if you need their input, but they aren't solving the problem for you. YOU are doing the analysis, identifying the potential solutions.

You are the person that people come to talk to if they can't solve their problems. Does this happen, title notwithstanding? Most people have become senior developers in reality before they ever get allocated the title. That's what moves you into the more senior roles - a demonstrated capacity to act as a senior developer.

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    Yep. This sums it up nicely. In my case, I was hired in and intermediate-senior capacity right out of college since I had been doing FOSS C/C++ development since childhood and had already managed some small projects. If you can convince people you really know what you're doing, are self driven, eager to learn new things on your own without being asked, and can pass that knowledge on to others, you're well ahead of the competition. – Cloud May 7 '15 at 23:33
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    I think number of years is also a requirement though 8 years is about the minimum to get the sort of experience to have a chance to be considered a senior. More realistically unless you are the super star 10-12 years is more likely just to get the breadth of experience needed for a senior position. That said I got my first senior position with just 4 years experience. I was not really ready for it and it showed. 10 years later it is evident to me why. – IDrinkandIKnowThings May 8 '15 at 12:39

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