I don't really know what I should be feeling right now.

So its been 2 years at my company and im still considered a junior dev. There's a pay freeze, meaning there's no chance for me to move up the ladder.

And yet, as of today, I am being asked to head up both the design AND development of a prototype file cloud sync engine that will replace our current sync application that's been worked on for 4+ years now (yeah, its legacy). And I'm 100% on my own, at least for a while, untill someone else comes around.

I still reside under the title 'junior dev' and am paid as such. I don't mind challenges, but this just feels like a bit much. Heck, I'm sure maybe I could even do it too, but I don't feel like im being compensated or given a higher title to reflect that sort of responsibility. I've tried to tell my manager I don't feel comfortable with this, but they've insisted I head this up.

I feel kind of locked up inside, I don't even really want to start working on it because I feel angry that I would be given such a huge project to do all on my own, while being called a junior, and without anyone to fall back on.

What should I do? Do I refuse the responsibility? Do I see it as a challenge that will help me grow? Or do I see it as an exploitation?

  • 3
    advice would be GREATLY appericated
  • 5
    How permanent if at all is the pay freeze?

    If talking is not an option then a scare might be a factor. In some circumstances they are more scared about you leaving than them being able to just fire you or something like that.

    Do you have a good trust based relationship with them? I would speak up and state that this is not something I am ok with since it is unfair, demotivating and not even compensating enough for you to dictate the time and effort required to work on it.

    You are in the magical land of Canadia, how hard is it to find work somewhere else as a dev?
  • 6
    It sounds more like exploitation. They call you a junior while giving a totally independent task. It's not a junior level of responsibility at least.

    I guess, you should seek another employment if they firmly refuse to compensate you fairly.
  • 5
    @AleCx04 From what I can tell, its fairly permanent. I don't see any signs of them wanting to remove that restriction.

    To be honest, it would likely be easier to find a new position then to discuss payment. It's fairly easy to find a dev job over here provided you have a background, but the challenge is finding one that treats you respectfully and has seniority / team you can learn from (aka not highly outsourced).

    I have spoken to my manager about it when the idea was proposed, but he seemed to insist on it just being a prototype and thus being 'easy' work. I wouldn't consider it easy to design, integrate, and head development for this - and its something I wouldn't want to do as a 'junior'.

    I guess I'm just unsure if I am I just being defiant here, or am I justified in how I am feeling.
  • 6
    @Owenvii You are not wrong, nor are you being defiant. There is a difference in handing out tasks to test the employee in terms of considering him for advancement and flat out ignoring said advancement opportunities to go ahead and exploit them. It is completely demoralizing and unethical for them to do so. And I am not speaking as a disgruntled dev, but as the senior developer in my institution as well as the head of my department. What they are doing is wrong, shady AND unprofessional.

    Line up interviews, seek outside employment AND bring it up to them once you have at least 3 other places secured. Tell them that you do not see it as easy work since you are not of the type that does not give 100% and that at the same time you do not feel comfortable in committing with senior level work without the proper title as well as the compensation.

    If your manager had a backbone he would have said these things for you, but alas here we are.
  • 2
    @AleCx04 Thank you for the advice. It certainly gives me something to think about, regarding what I want to do going forward..
  • 2
    They shouldn't be doing this, but I recommend you go with it. Juniors get more assigned to them to give them a taste of more responsibility quite often, but not to this extent.

    Do a good job and next time they ask you to explain that you have proven you can do it, but as a junior you feel it shouldn't be expected and so ask for a promotion.

    There is a big difference between mid and senior, but for me junior needs hand holding and that's the difference between junior and mid. If you don't need hand holding you shouldn't be on junior pay.
  • 1
    I've seen plenty of juniors at two year level. Unless you did something dev related prior or are really gifted I don't see medior/senior level quality or project management happen.
    Giving a junior a project like that without support is total bullshit. If you did nothing that got you noticed before it could be a test to promote you to medior but if I where you I would say least ask about it and there plans with you.
    You could say you feel comfortable doing so but that this is not a junior task and wasn't an evaluation after the first deliverables. If satisfied you can continue as a medior. (This is still bullshit upper management but at least you prevent exploitation).
    Perhaps ask your manager for a working prototype operating system; it's just a prototype so it's easy.
  • 0
    @Owenvii by the way use the question button/tag the next time 😉
  • 0
    Sure, politely refuse, giving the reason that that part of work is out of your responsibility given the current job title and salary.
    The management will always complain and that's fine, just stick with your intent of moving up despite the freeze, because this is plainly abuse of their position, which they can't afford given that you're right.
  • 0
    Why not use existing solutions ?

    Like this one seems to do exactly that and runs on premises if needed

  • 0
    @hjk101 this isn't to boast for internet points, but don't underestimate OP dude. I can't claim with any proof that I'm decent but I have 3 years experience and I'm an architect at a small company. I self taught by reading every book I could like Eric Evans DDD, and many many others as well as committing to at least 1 hour learning in my own time 6 days per week, for 3 years now.

    You can learn a lot in a year if motivated a lot.

    By that logic I was a junior for a year, mid for a year, senior for a year and now architect.
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