One reason I thought writing a blog would be good is that it would document my software engineering story to become a Senior Developer. That was always my ambition when starting out as a Junior Developer – to become good enough to be recognised with a fancy title.
An industry standard for Senior is probably 5 years experience, but that’s just a rough guide. I mean, 5 years of consistently being bad shouldn’t get you promoted. I’ve written about Performance Reviews in the past, and stated how the process never seems to work, or not for me anyway. So I think it’s been more like 6.5 for me.
Recently, I reflected on my promotion from Junior Developer to Developer in the blog Comparing to Others, and that was to build up to this one. Obviously you can tell from the blog title and the words that I have written so far – I have been promoted. Senior Developer. So let’s reminisce and discuss the movements over the last year or so
A few years ago, I was working on our upcoming software, but I was asked to return to the previous software I worked on, with a strong hint I would be promoted. In my performance review, my manager Chris then made some excuses why I couldn’t be promoted and hinted it should happen in January 2021. But in January 2021, Colin got promoted and I didn’t. He moved from Senior to Principal, so there should have been a free role available. My team members think I am a far superior developer to Colin, so how does it make sense that he is now 2 ranks above me?
My team members started being annoyed. I had people say to me they were frustrated I wasn’t being respected. Even Colin said he had been talking to the Head Of Development about how insane it is that I hadn’t been promoted.
everyone “technical” thinks you should be a SeniorColleague Developer
and all the Spanish think I am a SeñorMe
I changed managers and my new manager said he would look into my claim that I was underpaid and would try to find out how to come up with a solid plan to also get me promoted. However, I had a performance review with him, and in the review, he read out the feedback my previous boss gave me, although Chris’ notes were vague. So he asked me to explain the “unprofessional comments”. I explained that I have a running-joke where I state “the project is in ruins” when theres a minor change to the scope. It’s an exaggeration and purely in jest, although someone in the team has raised a concern about it. I was really grateful for his response because he laughed and said the person that complained was wrong to do so. However the reason why I panicked when he first brought it up was – I remembered that I responded to Chris’ question on Slack a few days prior with the text “lololololol”. So I then realised that I hadn’t taken Chris’ comments on board whatsoever.
Months went by, and my new manager assured me he was trying his best to promote me but was just getting pushed back by managers. Eventually, after another team restructure, I changed managers again.
In my first one-to-one, my manager asked if there were any concerns I had with the company. I stated that I was underpaid and was getting overlooked on promotions so dropped hints that I would be looking to move on. A week later, he calls me and said he was “absolutely shocked” at how low paid I was so would be taking it to HR urgently because we can’t afford to lose great developers like me. He managed to get a £5k payrise although HR still insisted to underpay me for 2 months before they actually gave me it.
Another month went by and he confirmed I would be promoted. I stated in the past, HR don’t allow big payrises so would probably say I’d already had one and reject the request. He assured me he wouldn’t stand for that. He kept his word, although yet again, there’s a compromise. I get a further £7k but have to wait 6 months until they approve it. HR are just the worst. You would think they would know how to make staff happy. That’s their job, yet they treat people like numbers and not humans.
The good news is that I finally get a good salary and it matches the respect I get from colleagues. It’s not even a change in responsibilities either, so I got £12k extra for doing exactly the same job as before. I probably should have been on this wage/role at least a year beforehand though. Don’t get me wrong, I was grateful for my previous wage. I always remember the times I was unemployed and have known many friends to struggle on low paid/part-time jobs. It’s just frustrating knowing someone could easily join the company and be on a much higher wage than you, and sometimes you even hear underperforming colleagues boast about their higher wage.
The thing is, in the past, our performance reviews have changed several times and we have tried: filling in a form; interviews; filling in multiple spreadsheets and forms; manager’s opinion only – and you could say none of them have worked out for me. It was only when I essentially hinted at leaving did I get the promotion. It shouldn’t be this way. Great people can leave, and the most confrontational get their way. Surely, that is the worst system.
I think I can easily be happy with my job title and wage now. I shouldn’t be complacent because you never know what the future will bring. Maybe one day, I could even come up with an idea about how to fairly appraise people, because we obviously have no idea, and I’m pretty sure it’s a common problem in the industry.