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I know this has been asked a lot, but I'd like to know what to present myself as on my CV and to future employees.

I'm 24, and began as a C#/ASP.NET developer after graduating from University in 2010 (I studied Computer Science). Since then I have worked for a relatively small software development house (about 8 employees), and since early 2012 I've been essentially the most senior .NET developer (the others in the company have more experience but only in drastically different/outdated languages, and are just learning .NET).

My roles there are designing and developing applications. I don't usually write the specs, but the specs are essentially the customers requirements - all the technical details including the design of the database and application are up to me. I also have 3 MCTS certificates and I'm working towards an MCPD.

As I've essentially only got around 3 years experience, I'm a bit unsure of how to present myself - clearly I'm not what most would constitute as 'senior'! Would you class me as a software developer, or something more?

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marked as duplicate by gnat, Robert Harvey, Caleb, JeffO, Martijn Pieters May 16 '13 at 22:45

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Whatever you choose, I would suggest that you not use "engineer" in your title, unless you actually have an degree in software engineering. In many places, you can only call yourself an engineer if you have passed an accredited engineering program. – FrustratedWithFormsDesigner May 16 '13 at 20:18
Have you seen this well-known post: "Don't Call Yourself A Programmer, And Other Career Advice" – bernie2436 May 16 '13 at 20:22
3 years is probably “junior” even if you were writing code 24/7 solving complex tasks. – user11408 May 16 '13 at 21:19

4 Answers 4

You are an energetic and eager developer

I would not put senior because if a developer of 20 years was looking at your resume they would throw it in the trash.

You may think you are senior but odds are someone with 10+, 15+, 20+ years will have seen things and done things that you haven't gotten to see yet with 3 years.

So go with energic and eager, I think that best describes your current position. Wow them with your ability and work hard. Eventually you will earn the right be a senior developer.

Just my 2 cents.

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I would go with .NET Programmer. That's where your experience lies, and is an accurate description of what duties you performed.

I would also include that you trained other developers in .NET technologies and did other 'senior-like' things. This shows you weren't just a bit-pusher, and might be a good fit for expanded responsibility.

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I'd not use the word “programmer” because it is a piece of hardware that flashes digital circuits :-) – user11408 May 16 '13 at 21:21

There are no hard and fast rules for what makes a "software engineer" or "senior developer." These terms will have different meanings in different firms, different industries, different job markets and different geographic regions.

Instead of asking: "what makes as senior developer?" I would ask: "what are the expectations of the people reading my resume? What are they looking for? How can I title my resume to make them most curious about me?" If you are applying for a highly technical programming job (ex. writing compilers) where the people reading your application have 20 years of development experience and PhDs then calling yourself a "Senior Software Engineer" maybe off-putting. But if you are applying for a job at a local web development firm, then calling yourself an "Experienced Business Developer" might pique their interest.

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Create multiple versions of your resume, each with a different job title, and test them by sending them for job applications. compare the responses.

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