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am I a Senior Programmer?

Ashok Mash
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 13, 2000
Posts: 1936
Sure this is a stupid question, but I have to ask this here.
I am wondering when some one should sell himself as a Senior Programmer? Is it purely based on your expertise, or experience or is it the leadership skills that matter? Or do I need to earn it at current workplace before moving on to another firm?
I have 5 yrs experience in total, but 2 years before, to come over to this country, I had to undersell (responsibility-wise) myself a bit.
In last two years, I worked for as many firms with designation as Software Engineer/Developer. I can see loads of graduates working with me doing the same job that I do (of course they need couple of months training and mentoring).
So million-dollar question is, how correct is it to sell myself as a Senior Programmer to a new firm? Especially since I haven?t earned that title here at my workplace? :roll:

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Reid M. Pinchback
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 25, 2002
Posts: 775
Well, I think there are a few issues here.
1) What is a "senior developer" to you.
2) What is a "senior developer" to a prospective employer.
3) Does it help you in the job hunt to identify yourself in this way.
I'll go to #2 first. For different employers, the relationship between title and actual job responsibility varies. In some places, being a "senior" anything is a big deal, but where I work now "senior" is smack in the middle of the career ladder.
For #3, if your concept of senior differs from the person sifting the resumes, I don't know that it helps you to refer to yourself that way... or any way for that matter. I'm inclined to give the facts, and be cautions with the interpretation. E.g. "developer with 5 years of experience in ... looking for ...".
For #1, if you were going to call yourself that, then you'd best be able to explain why. In any career progression, 5 years total experience is positive, but not particularly unusual. "senior" should mean something more than the passage of time. You should be prepared to justify to an interviewer what it is about your skill and experience that causes you to think of yourself that way.
Having done a reasonable amount of resume sifting and interviewing, anybody who can't speak effectively to what they themselves put in their resume gets sorted into the "no" pile pretty quickly.

Reid - SCJP2 (April 2002)
Jessica Sant

Joined: Oct 17, 2001
Posts: 4313

"Ashok M"
Adjust your displayed name to meet the JavaRanch Naming Policy. Particularly it should be a first name, space, FULL last name (not initial).
This is your final warning. If you do not change your displayed name, your account will be disabled.
You can change your namehere.
Ashok Mash
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 13, 2000
Posts: 1936
Originally posted by Jessica Sant:

This is your final warning. If you do not change your displayed name, your account will be disabled.

Thanks for that reply Ried. Well, as you said, it all depends on what the recruiter needs from the candidate. In my case, if its expertise on J2EE and the domains that I have experience on, I am game, else if its mentoring etc, not my piece of cake. Thanks again.
Display Name modified to full name. Thanks Jessica.
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subject: am I a Senior Programmer?
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