What exactly is a junior developer?

I mean what it depends on?

I ask because some colleagues have told I'm not junior but I have a junior role at my company

I don't even care and I don't like these classifications of devs but when someone asks me if I'm junior I actually don't know what to answer

I thought it was getting crazy when I read about ninja developer role but let's not talk about it

PS: I have been coding for 5 years now if it matters

  • 3
    I don't know about all these classifications, but if you still have the label junior after 5 years maybe ask for a promotion :)
  • 11
    Junior: new person to programming, generally first 2 years of devLife,

    Mid: that guy has managed to stop asking 100 questions a day and is able to deliver projects on their own without much supervision.
    Generally around the 4-5 year mark I'd say.

    Senior: you can do anything, you are mentoring juniors, and pointing mid devs in the right direction when they do get stuck.

    *this is a rough, and non legal binding guide.
  • 1

    "What exactly is a junior developer?"

    Someone who is new, fresh and has <1 year of practical experience. Just like you getting your driving license after which you are not an experienced driver.
  • 1
    I would say there is no junior in dev environment. There are people who asks more questions and those who ask less. And that's not dependant to that how long they have been developer.
  • 0
    @JohnnyBvo just to clarify, I've been 2 years in my current job, other 3 years I was in startups.
  • 5
    Ahh, this topic... So many variations... So many labels... Here's how we classify it, without any years needed.

    Pre-junior: Someone who's just starting. Can't do a thing solo. (yea, new category since academies introduced it.... fuck them)

    Junior: Someone who can do the job but needs help. Asks around 100 questions a day, can't find simple solutions due to lack of knowledge. Leaving unattended - fucks your project.

    Mid: Someone who can work solo. There's no 24/7 supervising needed and you can semi-trust him. Asks a couple of questions a day, usually gets things done by himself.

    Senior: Someone who is sufficient enough to work alone. Does not need to ask questions unless he knows that somebody has knowledge of it. Mostly can google anything that he needs. Also the key factor of becoming a senior - is the ability to help juniors and guide them in the correct way. Bonus: Understands what is his business needs, not just a coding monkey.

    Harsh but worked very well so far :)
  • 3
    @potata pre-junior? I call those interns.
  • 1
    @akamaru unless the work that you did is truly unrelated I would count those years as experience and use them to my advantage. If you have the feeling that you are not junior anymore you could always ask. The funny thing is that people who ask for promotions really do get them faster.

    That being said, I have no clue about your situation in particular and my previous comment was only semi-serious :)
  • 1
    By the way, personally, I've grown thru all 3 stages. Tho it was quick but I'm pretty much flexible as fuck and give no damn. I'm the guy who gets the job done :)


    My start was asking a lot of questions, making mistakes that costed money for our business. Quickly I learned that I need to adapt and search more + learn more.

    Then when I went into a mid role, I asked specific questions and as a result - I got direct answers. Specific questions included project details and were 90% not even related to coding anymore. This was the point that I was left alone to work. No supervision, just regular commit checks.

    And lastly, I've entered the senior role. From here, I know people who know specific things. I rarely ask questions about coding because I can google them out. My days of supervising - are over. I'm responsible for my own actions. On top of that, I take responsibility for 3 more juniors that work below me and help me out. I'm their mentor and trying to grow them to our needs.
  • 1
    @C0D4 Same shit, they can be called whatever but their main goal is not to code but bring coffee to seniors! (joking ofc.)

    In any case, that depends if the internship is a common thing in your country or not, I just named them pre-juniors because they need a lot of teaching for syntax, not problem-solving. This visualizes a lot if you compare time spent teaching them how language is written rather than how a problem is solved (like we do with juniors)
  • 1
    @potata 😂 yea those guys. Guess its region specific. The ones that you wish knew something but you end up making them do data entry instead.
  • 1
    @C0D4 We like to call them:
    Monkeys on demand.

    A bit harsh but... It will take a while till they get out of it and if you need a repetitive task to be done - you call the monkeys, since... It's a low chance to fuck up.
  • 3
    With everything said here I'd say I'm Mid and I'll go for that promotion :D

    Thanks for clarifications guys
  • 0
    @potata I can't say I would trust them for much more so, yea monkey works too.
  • 2
    @potata According to this I can easly be 3 year of expirience senior. Soooo hrmm...

    **deletes old and writes new CV**

  • 0
    @C0D4 Have a little faith in them... Real monkeys can memorize things and do primitive stuff, so why wouldn't a human do that? See, https://youtube.com/watch/... - monkeys nail it. Let's have faith that humans are better.


    Ok... I'm getting out of hand with sarcastic/dark comments. I should stop.
  • 1
    @DubbaThony You'd be surprised :)

    I've been in an interview that stated:

    0-5 years - junior
    5-12 years - mid
    12 and above - seniors.

    I barely made it to junior role but... All the seniors there said that I had way more knowledge than any mid and even some seniors in that company. I was trusted more and... Well, I broke the hierrarchy there. I became a senior at just 4 years of total experience which included.... 6 months in that company :) They were happy with me and haven't heard a single complain.
  • 2

    I started my work in small company where I was solo backend dev, and I had to learn quickly to not get fired. At some point I developed own php framework'ish thing that I feel very comfortable with. I could code a lot of things that boss was just randomly throwing at me. We need this. Okay. We need that. Okay. Done.

    Right now I can do a lot in weekend (ex. last weekend).

    Unfortunately I wasnt ever in proper software house (except as guest but that does not count).

    Fun fact, I had 2 projects going at some point, and bosses needed 3rd one. so they figured they wont overload me and order it externally. They paid over few years of my salary, the project was utterly fucked up by sh, I ranted about it here few times.

    Last weekend he got pissed enough he called me friday that if I want to earn bonus $$ he needs it done on monday.
    (some cups of coffee later) Done.

    So IDK if senior/junior/mid/pre-junior/etc scale in years is revelant at all... hmm...
  • 1
    @DubbaThony Exactly my point. Years are nothing. Personality is.

    We had a junior that we hired as helping hands. 3 months later - he could mentor other juniors easily because he was that keen on work. Since we have hired him - he made 0 mistakes, no stupid questions were asked and even he adapted us to a new code style. Why? Well, because he introduced something we were lacking - structurization. That said, the person worked with us for a year and wanted to go in his own ways. With just 1 year of actual programming experience - he's working as a senior in a different company and leads it's developers.
  • 1
    @potata I think I am senior with 1 year experience acording to your classification :(
  • 0
    @hack That's cool. It's a matter of perspective and acceptance :)
  • 0
    I have around 9 years of coding but all personal projects and never in company so i would say i should apply for junior to get that experience in real scenarios and then get promoted.
  • 0
    It justifies how much they pay you sorta...


    Junior: 80k
    Mid: 90k
    Senior: 100k

    Skillwise I think I was Senior or maybe even Senior++ ... But I still had to start out as Junior as a new grad.

    Junior days were good,.. I don't have to deal with production blowups.

    Senior... Always fixing other ppls shit.... In production
  • 1
    @Haxk20 yeah, I’d say the coding itself won’t be an issue, it’s communicating effectively to understand requirements and working with a team that’s key from what I’ve seen so far. There’s a lot of red tape and BAU responsibilities in Corporate, 20-30% of time you code... everything is what I mentioned above plus support and emails haha
  • 0

    Tbh i think if you spent 20-30 percent of time on meetings and general communication, i would say your company does sth wrong?
  • 0
    @DubbaThony I said 20-30 percent coding

    Also, it’s not meant as a real estimate, just a general exaggeration to prepare new comers to corporate. Most think they’ll be coding the entire time which is not true at all.
  • 1

    Oh.. **facepalm**

    Apparently Dubba cant english or sth.

    I understood it reverse that you spent 70% of time for communicating, sorry ;-;
  • 0
    The definition varies between organisations. In my previous job we only had Developer and Senior Developer. In my current job we have:

    Apprentice Developer
    Junior Developer
    Senior Developer
    Lead Developer
    Principal Developer

    The difference is based on levels of experience and proven competence. Also the top level roles are a lot more about strategy and budget management as well as development. They are official job titles so if you want to move up you need to apply for that role and prove you're at that level.

    But that's just what works for us. I guess it depends if you're asking about Junior as a job title or Junior as in your skills.

    Just tell everyone you're a Developer and don't worry about the specific role too much. I'm a Lead Developer but to others outside my company I mostly describe myself as a Developer.
  • 2
    It's basically me, a dude who doesn't have a job but really wants one without being asswhipped with major algo tasks. 😅
  • 1
    If no one suggests refactoring your code in their code review then you are not a junior.
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