I’ve had sort of a hate-hate relationship throughout my career with the title of junior developer. Wait, that’s too nuanced. Remove the “sort of” — I’ve just had a hate-hate relationship with the term.
This isn’t a job title you should accept, unless you have your back against the wall. A prospective employer might say to you, “congratulations, we’re offering you a junior developer position!” Treat this equivalently to “congratulations, we’re offering you a position at $10,000 below market value!” or “congratulations, you’re on your own for health insurance!”
If you’re hard-up, take it. But keep your job search going full throttle, and keep your current “junior developer” role off your resume. If you don’t have mouths to feed and rent to pay, take a pass.
Why? Well, I’ll get to that.
Junior Developer Title on My Mind
Last week, unprovoked, I tweeted out my opinion of this title. I don’t need to rehash that tweet here, since I’ve already explained my stance here. But I got a thoughtful and reasonable question in response.
Can I ask what your reasoning is? In the past we’ve taken on people with no development experience & called them “junior”, & the day they get to drop that word from their title seemed to me to be a positive celebration of their progress in learning. But open to new perspectives.
— Russell Dunphy (@rsslldnphy) April 1, 2018
I didn’t respond to this because I’m terrible at Twitter. In fact, I didn’t actually notice it for days and then I got busy. I thought to respond at that point, but then I realized that I’m enough of a blabbermouth that I’d adjudicate myself much better in a blog post of 1,000+ words than I would in a tweet of 280 characters or fewer.
Then, coincidentally enough, someone mentioned me in another tweet (that I also didn’t notice for a while).
Got some responses. Need more! RT for reach. #DevDiscuss
— Jose Gonzalez (@JoseGonz321) April 4, 2018
“How do you reward junior devs that are kicking ass?”
My initial, off-the-cuff thought? Stop calling them “junior devs,” for God’s sake. But I didn’t get the sense that was appropriate for the conversation.
Instead, I think it’s appropriate here, in a post telling you not to accept this title.