Role Titles For The Software Industry

By Maxi |

Before I entered the job market I had a skew view of how titles work for jobs. I thought that the world was far more organized than how it is in this regard. My first job was a seasonal job in the food industry, and at this time I was really curious how that worked for the restaurant I was working on.

I was surprised by the official titles we ran there. Titles like, "Soup specialist", "Main course chef", "Salad chef". It didn't make sense to me, but it did for the chef. It did for the people with those titles and apparently, it worked at a financial and responsibility separation level.

After 6 years in the software industry, I experienced how hard it is to judge your skillset and your level and place yourself in a new company. If you enter a company by the "traditional" way (recruiter / online application, a battery of interviews) it's up to your interpretation of the job requirements listed on the web in combination with a lot of other different factors having the "opportunity" to be worth of an interview.

If you are already working in the software industry, you currently have a level at work. Trainee, Junior, Semi-Senior, Senior, Principal, Staff, and so on and on. How does this level match your position today at a different company?


I find it incredibly hard to associate titles to my persona. I experience on a daily basis the impact of titles in the ways I interact and how that changes my perspective about someone after I know their titles. Titles are powerful forces that work in an interesting way. They can completely change the weight behind opinions. Especially, where the amount of information you have about someone, it's limited. First impressions stick for a lot longer than we are aware of and knowing the titles set expectations.

Since titles are attached to people I feel we are constantly comparing among peers that we know have the same title. This comparison happens inside your company and also outside. If you are trying to find a good fit for your team for specific seniority you'll be constantly trying to assess what that person did in his previous job that relates to what he/she is going to do in the new role.

Had that person had "Principal" rather than "Senior" in his/her CV, the interview process would be different. I'm trying to be aware of the biases around titles and It seems that I'm failing on not making a big deal out of them.

Our career title, our job title, our Twitter bio seems to have an unfair impact on how we are perceived.

I still don't make up my mind on how useful it's to know the seniority of someone when you read a CV. Not knowing, apparently, it's maybe even more harmful than knowing. Still, the interview process for software developers deserves a whole article on its own.

Today I choose to believe I'm willing to be as conservative as possible with sharing "my titles". Maybe I'm harming my career, maybe I'm dumb.

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