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Most times someone gets the chance for more responsibility and growth in their career they would not know for sure if they can handle it until they are actually doing the work. When things dont seem to be working out, how would one know whether it is because of himself not capable of doing the work due to incompetence, or due to lack of experience? Keeping in mind that there is no one more senior than you at the company for the specific area of expertise.

If you've been given a job that you are not ready/capable of performing adequately, what would be the better career move:

  1. Push hard to skill up in order to be able to perform the job. potential Burnout danger, and then how would you handle the time between being incompetent and becoming competent.
  2. Tell management that you are not ready for the job and they need to hire someone more senior. They may replace you all together.
  3. Look for another job where your experience is correctly matched to your responsibilities
  4. None of the above
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closed as off topic by Mark Trapp Aug 20 '11 at 18:22

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Sounds too localized and too subjective to me. –  DeadMG Aug 20 '11 at 16:52
    
@DeadMG I think the last two paragraphs of his question could be rewritten to make the question more generalized. –  Ivan Aug 20 '11 at 17:07
    
Hi JediMinded, I've removed the too localized part of your question: we can't help you with your particular workplace issues. However, even distilled down to the general question asked in the last two paragraphs, your question doesn't appear to have anything to do with software development. Is there something specific about your situation that requires the unique insights of other programmers to answer? –  user8 Aug 20 '11 at 18:27
    
@Mark. thanks for the tips. I've tried fixing the question up a bit. You'll see I've just joined the site and will work on improving my questions, or at least asking better ones :) –  Jedi.za Aug 20 '11 at 19:03
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2 Answers

There are a couple of parts concerning your question that need to be addressed:

The Peter Principle

The Peter principle states that employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence; which, after reading about your current situation, sounds like it is exactly what has happened. This isn't saying that you are incompetent at programming -- this is saying that you have reached the point where you aren't doing what you are good at anymore.

In order to solve this dilemma, you are going to have to take a step back and talk to your managers so that you can return to doing that you are good at doing.

I also think that lack of experience can be taken as incompetence in this situation; you have been asked to do a lot things which you do not have adequate experience in, making you incompetent at your overall job.

Not Enough Experience in the Workplace

It also appears that there are no longer that many experienced individuals in your team, thus you have to end up learning how to do everything. This could be solved by talking your managers into hiring a Senior Developer, which I'm guessing would help ease the burden of your workload.

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I would talk with management and tell them I either need extra time to handle the learning curve, or they need to hire someone who already has the experience to do what needs done.

I'd make sure they understand that I AM capable of doing the work, just that I need extra time since I am also learning.

In the meantime, keep learning! As you get projects, pick one new thing you'd like to try working with (Repository system, version control, service layer, Factory pattern, etc) and focus on learning all you can about that item and implementing it. Someone to guide or mentor you is nice, but it's not necessary.

As time goes by, you'll start discovering what you've implemented correctly and which were bad choices (usually because bad implementations make you waste time and while good ones save you time)

If all else fails, you have a decent resume to find a new job with :)

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