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Programmer career tree

Programmer career tree

Just wondering what would be the "normal generic" career tree for a programmer is ?

I see it starting as

1)Junior Programmer
3)Senior/Lead Programmer
Where does it lead from there ?  


F, G + yeah reached 50

RE: Programmer career tree

I think it depends where you want it to take you.  I read a good post a few days ago somewhere about "developers vs. programmers" I'll try to track it down.  

Assuming you mean "developer" (According to the article I read the other day anyway, has a more diverse skillset including being able to communicate with users to determine requirements/identify bugs, do some testing, etc...) there are any number of ways you could go.  Development Manager, Systems Architect come to mind.  You could also go more towards the business/ systems analysis side and focus on workign with different users to identify their needs.

I'm sure there are loads of other titles, depending on what kind of company it is and how big an IT staff they have.  With a bigger company you'd of course have more opportunities to specialize.

At least I hope this is true.  I dont' want to be going to school for nothing winky smile

----signature below----
Majority rule don't work in mental institutions

My Crummy Web Page

RE: Programmer career tree

I don't put much weight in job title levels.  Some companies may actually increment the title based on ability and skillset progression.  Still others might increment based on seniority whereas others might hire someone in at which title matches the rate of pay the company is willing to pay.  A company who's main business is to sell software and employs hundreds  or thousands of programmers might be a different story though.       

RE: Programmer career tree

I used to be a programmer/analyst before I was a programmer, then developer, now software engineer that programs. Forget about titles and go where your happiness and the money takes you.

"Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana."

RE: Programmer career tree

I think the blog entry Alex is referring to is

There was another article that I read a while back that explained the career of a developer. It was actually geard towards managers being able to accept that people are going to quit, but it really showed the mindset of a true developer.

The jist of the article was that when a developer starts a new job, they have a business value of 0. As they learn the business processes and begin to contribute their value shoots up very fast. At some point, they reach the apex of where their value will start to plateau. At this point, there's two choices. They can either move into management or they can find a new job where there's a new challenge.

Keep in mind this was not focusing on what they referred to as "Maintenance Programmers". Their definition (and I agree with them) of a maintenance programmer is a person who is content doing the very minimum to get by. These are the ones who put in their 8 hours, then go home and don't think about code.

So, in my opinion, the career tree of a developer has on branch...and one branch only. And that is Developer! When you reach a point where you're not learning anything at the company you're working for and you're not truly being challenged...continue your Developer position at a new company.

Unless of course you want to do managment...then you need to let the owner/upper manager know thats what you want and find out what's required.

im in ur stakz, overflowin ur heapz!

RE: Programmer career tree

So far in my career, I've been:

Software Developer
Project Manager
Software Developer
Senior Software Engineer
Principle Engineer
and now I'm back to Consultant.

That's the day job.  In my night & weekend job, I have the simple title of "Owner".  smile

So I don't worry too much about titles -- you have to take the company into account.  Some old-line companies are much more rigid with titles, while others are more flexible.  What's important is showing an increasing degree of job responsibility on your resume.

Chip H.


RE: Programmer career tree

Thats a great article (I forwarded it to some friends). However it's not the one I read :(. The one I had was more about managers dealing with the fact that there's really only 2 choices for a good developer...quit or move in to management. I just went through my sent items on my msn account and counldn't find it. I must have forwarded it off of my RSS account. I'll check that later and see if i can find it.

im in ur stakz, overflowin ur heapz!

RE: Programmer career tree

that would be good if you could find that one macleod, thats pretty much what I've done is move to management as there seems to be no further way forward.  


F, G + GNBM soon

RE: Programmer career tree

My "normal generic" career tree was:
CAD Draftsman
CAD Draftsman/AutoLisp programmer
CAD Draftsman/constructor/AutoLisp programmer
AutoLisp programmer
Medieval wood- and boneworker (no joke!)
Web programmer.

Although I call myself "application smith" nowadays, I always called myself programmer, even if this included database design and maintenance and object oriented architecture. There are way too many fancy names for programmers. I onced worked in an IT company that had all different job titles, but none of them was "programmer". Yet programming was the reason for existence of that company. So I am a programmer. Probably the very last one...


+++ Despite being wrong in every important aspect, that is a very good analogy +++
   Hex (in Darwin's Watch)

RE: Programmer career tree

Chance...unfortunately, moving to management (in my opinion) takes you out of development. There's so much more you have to deal with and can't keep up with the technologies (that's what your staff is for). If you're not seeing a path ahead of you in management, then I would consider moving back to development. It's possible that you took the jump in the thoughts that it was the natural course of events...but it really isn't. In development, the natural course is to learn more and keep yourself challenged. That typically means only staying with a company for a couple of years. There are exceptions to this like consulting jobs, where you're being moved from one job to another and/or very large programming houses that have multiple product offerings (like Microsoft). When you reach the apex with these types of places, you just move to another division. Which, by the way, is what Microsoft does. They have a time table of moving people around from one division to another...which is why they don't have the brain drain taht smaller companies have.

I took the jump to management for a couple of years and hated it. At first it was nice, but then I started getting more and more tied up in the "management side" of it and I couldn't focus on technology. I'm not saying management is always's just not for me. I don't mind being a lead developer, but the actual "manager" part, I will never do again.

im in ur stakz, overflowin ur heapz!

RE: Programmer career tree

quite happy to make the move, still have quite a bit of hands on , problem is don't really have a job title, my role is a third tecnical analysis, a third development, a third project management.  which is across several global sites


F, G + GNBM soon

RE: Programmer career tree

I don't really care what they call me.  I've been programmer, developer, software engineer, all doing pretty much the same thing.  As long as it is not management and I can keep my hands dirty, I'm not too bothered.

Some people don't ever want to get their hands dirty again - everyone is different.

In some companies, team leaders are just project trackers.  They are so far removed from the problem that they don't really understand problems anymore.  In others, they are technical leads: teddy bears you can talk to when you have problems.

Some companies don't have Seniors, Principals, Consultants etc.  Instead they have Grade 4, Grade 5 etc.  When I was at ICL in the early 90s, they had 24 engineer grades and 6 management grades!

RE: Programmer career tree

Yeah, I wouldn't worry about a job title. If the company doesn't have one, then that means they probably don't put a lot of stock into titles. I personally don't either :). 9 times out of 10, if someone asks me what my title is, I make up some nice sounding BS and feed it to them. One time I used "Generic Opensource Director". It took them several minutes to figure out I was messing with them :).

im in ur stakz, overflowin ur heapz!

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