What is the job title hierarchy amongst software engineers?

  • Possible Duplicate:
    What does the suffix after software engineer/developer job titles mean? (i.e. Software Developer III)
    work advancement titles

    I've been struggling to understand job hierarchy in software engineering.

    The system is further complicated because of the lack of consistent naming conventions when assigning roles: for example, some companies just have a "senior software developer" position while others have Software Engineer I, Software Engineer II, Software Engineer III, and so on.

    Even in the top level positions, we have things like "Principal Software Engineer" vs. "Staff Software Engineer".

    What is the standard hierarchy for software engineers? Is there a generally accepted pecking order?

    why was this moved to programmers? I see several similar questions posted on stackoverflow?

    Your question was migrated because Stack Overflow is for questions about implementation: questions about the profession and conceptual issues are for Programmers. More info: What's the difference between Programmers and Stack Overflow?

    If you care about this, rather than about your actual work, you are doing it wrong.

    @rjmunro: It's always good to have an idea of where I'm standing and where I want to go..thats why I asked.

  • Chris

    Chris Correct answer

    9 years ago

    Wikipedia gives a good overview of corporate titles and under the hierarchy for Information Technology companies you have the following:

    • Chief Executive Officer
      • Vice President
        • Senior Project Manager / Senior Product Manager / Senior Software Architect
          • Project Manager / Product Manager / Software Architect
            • Project Lead / Senior Team Lead / Senior Technical Lead
              • Module Lead / Team Lead / Technical Lead
                • Senior Software Engineer / Senior QA Engineer
                  • Software Engineer / QA Engineer

    While each company will have it's own naming convention and resposibilities for a role, they do seem to fall within this basic hierarchy.

    Hope this helps you out some.

    I concur there isn't a standard, but this answer comes closest to answering the question in my mind.

    Wait, no juniors?

    I disagree with the notion that "managers" of any sort are somehow "senior to" engineers. This conflates reporting structure with seniority, and doesn't reflect actual practice in any company I've seen.

    I don't think that they're implying that 'managers' are senior to 'engineers' but that as you go up in the hierarchy they're on par with them on each level. As in a Senior Project Manager has equal responsibilities as a Senior Software Architect and equal ability to dictate specific things in their area of specialties.

    @chris: Your answer is exactly what I wanted to know. Just one more thing..I understand that Principal/Staff Software engineer is different from Software Architect. Does one have more seniority over the other?

    While I do think seniority does have some play in getting these roles, I think what each specific person does while in the role is probably much more important. An engineer is said to execute the principals of design, while the architect defines the enviroments, the standards and how other applications interface with each other.

    I believe you have missed CTO?

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