Designations such as junior, senior and expert in the software industry

The duties of the various job maturity levels in the IT industry and what to expect from them.

Job titles in IT

A few days ago, I found an article with a presentation of “prefixes” of job titles in the IT industry. The text provides very descriptive graphics and text on the topic. The job titles imply a maturity level of the titleholder. Based on this, the text then addresses the expected solutions depending on the complexity of the problem.

We are all junior, senior, and expert

Right up front: a nice model helps to explain a complex issue. In practice, there are rarely absolute states. You are always an absolute beginner in one field and an expert in another. Just about every technique has a half-life and gradually becomes obsolete.

The article came back to me today when I was having a similar discussion. The point was that when introducing a new piece of software, everyone involved would basically be starting from scratch. A pre-existing expertise in the subject area addressed by the software should speed up one's progress process. Nevertheless, everyone starts from scratch and then gradually acquires expert knowledge.

Thinking back to my first versions of “Lobster _data” solutions, I can very well understand this. In some cases, I threw the solutions away 3 times and only the fourth version felt usable. This is part of growing and learning.

Visualization of the possible relationships between problems and solutions (simple and complex respectively).
Visualization of the possible relationships between problems and solutions (simple and complex respectively).

Problems and corresponding solutions

The graphic above describes the different possible starting situations. I have redesigned and translated them according to the source.

From a “junior” in a certain field, one can only expect complex solutions at the beginning. If the latter deals with a complex problem, new problems will probably arise first. A new tool or even additionally a new subject area might overwhelm everyone.

With a little experience and knowledge, the article author assumes that a senior solves problems on the same level (simple/ simple, complex/complex) they arise. Easy requirements have already been understood, and they are also easy to implement. For complex topics, a senior still tries 1:1 adaptations and the result will be accordingly.

Only when an expert has mastered the topic and the tasks, really simple and good solutions can be expected. During the implementation the issue is understood and with the learned methods of the tool suitably and without great “technical debts” to create.

You only become an expert by “doing”. There is no shortcut, you have to go through it. Mistakes and setbacks are part of it.

I like this graphic, I'll be sure to use it again.

The path from junior to expert with the different main tasks.
Presentation of the path from junior to expert with the various main tasks. Leadership is left with guidance and targeted control.

The journey to the Expert

I'll go over the different growth stages of each role below.

As a junior, everything is open. You should learn everything you get. Things need to be tried and everything is still new. Try every button and look in the documentation for clues to a potential solution entry. You will often fall flat on your face, but you should get right back up. Communicating with experts, you can ask questions, helps a lot.

Seniors already know their way around. They have seen most parts of the system before and know what is hidden in which corners. With each project, they fill in more gaps in their knowledge, delve deeper into various topics or experiment with different approaches.

Experts are a valuable source for passing on their own knowledge. They can serve as role models and take the lead in the future development and design of the system. They can easily identify trends and their implications.

For Leadership, the key here is then to have and show an understanding of the specifics of each degree. To show the way and encourage individually.


Originally, I didn't want to write that much about the article. In any case, I find the source very stimulating. It gives me food for thought, and I haven't even covered all the topics yet.

In practice, of course, everything is much more complex and dynamic than you find it formulated here. For the future, the following applies: constant further training, being curious, wanting to learn and having fun with it. Nothing remains and is guaranteed.

I would like to encourage the following thoughts here:

Where am I right now? What could be my guiding star for the coming period? What personal goals could I derive from it for my work? Do I possibly have a certain responsibility that could be derived from it?


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