I saw a similar question to this from someone about how to determine their job title, and I felt that my question was different enough to be justified. So here it is:

I have worked as a developer for a small company for several years.

Before that I also did development (though fairly shoddy, as I was very inexperienced) at another company for a couple years.

At my current company I am mostly given assignments with very little oversight, and expected to bring them to completion. I'd say I have a decent amount of knowledge of correct architecture, I can code pretty well, and I've written plenty of stuff on the side too.

Viscerally, I feel like I can justify the title "Senior Engineer" or "Senior Developer", but my company doesn't have formal job titles. I've been updating my resume recently and thinking of looking for a new position, and I'm not sure if I should put developer or senior developer on my resume.

How is this normally determined in a situation like this? Is there any real criteria? I know that HR departments typically have SEII and SEIII for people at about my skill level.

How do I translate this into a title on a resume?

Note: I only do software development and architecture.

EDIT: Also I am self taught - I do not have a CS degree (though I do have a degree, though I doubt that's in anyway relevant).

EDIT 2: Would the question better be titled, "Should I call myself a senior developer or just a developer on my resume"

  • It's a very small (like smaller than just about any company I've ever worked in), very informal company. – Joe Smentz Oct 2 '16 at 23:05
  • This is a company with 3 people. – Joe Smentz Oct 2 '16 at 23:16
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    @joec: The principle is exactly the same, no matter what the job duties. – keshlam Oct 3 '16 at 3:01
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    @JoeStrazzere: in my current job (80+ employees), we also don't have any formal titles at least in the IT department (20+ employees). Everyone has just "Developer" in the payslip, whether he would be a Senior Architect or Software Engineer in some other companies. Just the Line Managers have sort of a title (by necessity, I guess), eg. "Head of <department>". Edit: But it's also not unusual to have gibberish titles as official titles in the (startup)scene here, like "Ninja Coder" or "Master of Everything". – Juha Untinen Oct 3 '16 at 4:54
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    @JuhaUntinen Is it strange to call a teacher with 30+ years of experience just a teacher? Is it strange to call a doctor with 30+ years of experience "just" a doctor? I think you are mixing up two different things. – Brandin Oct 3 '16 at 19:01

You don't worry about it. Nobody cares about job titles. Describe what you do, not what label it may or may not have.

  • So I should just leave titles off of my jobs entirely? – Joe Smentz Oct 2 '16 at 23:40
  • You probably could use descriptive names rather than official titles without anyone noticing or caring. Interviewers want to see what you have accomplished and what your skills are; job titles rarely convey that in any meaningful way. – keshlam Oct 2 '16 at 23:44

Call yourself a Software Developer or 'Web Developer' depending on your skillset. The title isn't as important as what you actually do, so itemise your skillset because that is what people will be looking at in detail.

It's fairly difficult these days to qualify for many jobs without a relevant degree, and if you were with a small company you'll probably have better luck with another small company. Bigger outfits tend to prefer people who have both formal qualifications and whose careers were in similar companies working as part of teams.

  • I think demand for developers is very high in my area (at least in my particular stack), as I have no shortage of recruiters contacting me. I want to move to a larger company and am somewhat set on that goal if I take another dev job. Web Developer might be a good choice. – Joe Smentz Oct 3 '16 at 1:50
  • I just have had really, really, really, really negative experiences with small companies and have no interest in working for any anymore. – Joe Smentz Oct 3 '16 at 1:59
  • Is it really a problem not having a Computer Science degree if you've been a developer for years? – Joe Oct 6 '16 at 14:54
  • In many places it is, lots of people have over a decade of experience, but for some that experience is worthless, too many cowboys in the industry. – Kilisi Oct 6 '16 at 19:39

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