I saw this in Microsoft job application. Is this means something higher than Senior or it's just a description?

  • 10
    They guy is either really good and will blow your mind, or has seen couple of tutorials online. Jul 19, 2016 at 11:39
  • 9
    A company that wants to show how cool they are. They usually pay less.
    – paparazzo
    Jul 19, 2016 at 12:17
  • VTC: ask the company who posted the job. A broader question on "wizards" and "ninjas" is answerable but that's not what OP is asking.
    – Lilienthal
    Jul 19, 2016 at 12:24
  • 28
    It means don't bother applying unless you can assemble a adventuring group that includes at least a thief, a fighter, a cleric and a dwarf.
    – JasonJ
    Jul 19, 2016 at 12:53
  • 6
    Means they are a lifestyle company, which means long unpaid overtime, requirement to spend all your social time with your co-workers, low pay and lots of empty promises. Jul 19, 2016 at 14:01

5 Answers 5


I can only assume it means an in depth understanding of C#, the .NET CLR and runtime.

"Wizard-level" is not an official thing, anywhere and would mean something different for different people.

In the same way that "Senior" doesn't really mean much - it doesn't tell me how competent someone is in a specific area, just that a company (or several companies) decided to give them that title.

  • It also tells a lot about the office culture in general. They'll probably use a lot of memes to describe things.
    – Dan
    Jul 19, 2016 at 17:01
  • @Dan - not necessarily. Could just be how HR or the recruiter went ahead with the job description. Doesn't tell you anything about the office culture.
    – Oded
    Jul 19, 2016 at 17:13

Wizard relates to magic, so it's supposed to mean you can work magic with the language, i.e. you have outstanding skills.

In some companies, Senior relates to years of experience, sometimes a mere 1-2 years makes you Senior. Wizard is different and implies it only cares about skill, not time. By asking for Senior people with 5-10 years experience you exclude some exceptionally talented graduates, and include some exceptionally untalented people.

If you continue that line of thought and consider that people with 0-2 years of experience are usually much cheaper than people with 5+ years of experience, such an ad is most likely targeted at young people with a very good grasp of the language (e.g. from open source projects) but little professional experience.

  • great generic explanation.
    – UmNyobe
    Jul 19, 2016 at 14:00

It's someone trying to be clever, funny, and/or cute.

What they mean is that they want someone who can produce product quickly and appears to have exceptional skill.

The problem behind it is that anyone who calls themselves a "wizard" either still lives in their parents' basement, or is remarkably impressed with their own mediocrity. Two concepts to be familiar with: Dunning-Kruger Effect and Expert Beginner. A company advertising for a "wizard" is neck deep in the "bad" side of the Dunning-Kruger phenomenon, and likely due to the "Expert Beginner" mindset.

While this post references software development, this phenomenon is present in all vocations. It just is (or rather was) tolerated in tech more often. This is mainly because our presence in business is just barely out of its adolescence. In the mid-90's, computers started to drop in price and development languages became "accessible" enough to let people with talent create systems that actually helped businesses work with far less expense and effort.

An example: Anyone old enough to remember Word Perfect? It took a whole company years to build that software. Today, anyone with Visual Basic and a long afternoon can produce a functional equivalent.

In a very short timeframe, all the "easy" tasks that could be handled with software were, and a lot of people became very valuable to companies even though they had what would rightfully be called "limited skills." That's part of the reason "Enterprise" software gets such a bad reputation, and a valid reason.

But we're 20 years down the line from that time. Professionalism has taken root. Skills are required and expected, not seen as exceptional, and people working in these fields have "settled down" to realize it is an actual profession, not a hobby, and a lifetime plan for skill development is required.

This company, or at least the person who wrote this ad, is still in the 1998 mindset.


What you are seeing is the term "wizard" used in slang.

used with a subject matter to refer to a person with deep, expert knowledge of that subject matter.

"We're looking to hire a Unix wizard."

It's a little unprofessional, but it's a way to refer to someone who's very skilled at something, and is especially prevalent in programming.

In short, it doesn't have an 'official' meaning, but the closest interpretation would be 'high-level competency'.


It's fluff. The language itself has a vast, vast function library that keeps growing with each release. The external libraries available to use with it are legion. (This is what I do)

"Wizard" trivializes what a highly experienced developer on this platform might do in a day, which means the person who wrote the job requirement is probably clueless. It's like applying the same title to someone who's spent four years in undergrad and six more through med school... very demeaning.

Usually with this type, what they wanna offer in salary is nothing magical!

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