Software Engineer Titles Ladder

The Full Software Developer Title Ladder

For reference, based on ChangeLog’s Software Engineer Title Ladder, here’s a listing of software engineer titles in order of progression.

  • Junior Software Engineer
  • Intermediate Software Engineer
  • Senior Software Engineer
  • Staff Software Engineer
  • Senior Staff Software Engineer
  • Principal Software Engineer
  • Distinguished Software Engineer
  • Fellow
  • Senior Fellow

The Most Common Developer Title Ladder

Most companies, especially smaller companies and companies that don’t care much about their software developers, have a ladder that looks like this:

  • Junior Developer
  • Intermediate Developer
  • Senior Developer

Before the Developer part it’s usually Web, Software, Frontend, Backend, User Interface, Fullstack or some other qualifier.

Alternative Titles

Some companies will call their intermediate or senior developers one of these titles instead:

  • Software Architect
  • System Architect
  • Software/Web Developer (notice no prefix like junior or senior)

It’s basically title padding and an easy way to keep people happy and to enforce hierarchy.

The lack of a prefix also makes things look fairer than they are and lets the company get away with not precisely defining exactly who is a junior, intermediate, or senior.

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