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Never Call Yourself Junior/Mid-level/Senior Developer

Lesson's Master Action

  1. Ask your boss/colleagues/clients to stop labelling you "entry/junior/mid/senior". If it's written on your contract, ask to remove it. If it's not possible, change your job. This is important, because labels sink into your subconscious mind.
  2. Stop labelling other developers.
  3. Repeat every morning: "I am the developer who is giving exceptional value to the world. Because of that, I live in abundance and I don't care whether people label me junior or senior."

Do you know the 4 deadly developer labels?

They're Entry-Level/Junior/Mid-level/Senior.

If you want to be average and poor, label yourself with one these titles.

Otherwise, stop it.

In this lesson, we will cover:

The Real Meaning Of 4 Deadly Labels

This labelling (entry/junior/mid/senior) is a product of small thinking.

People like to title themselves, because they feel significant by doing that.

Significance (or validation) is one of the 6 core human needs.

Do you know what's funny about these labels?

There's no definition of what entry-level/junior/mid-level/senior means.

Think of university degrees. Let's say you have a Bachelor degree, and you meet a guy who has a Master degree.

Does it mean the other guy is more intelligent? Does it mean he is richer than you?

Might be. But if you think it's a rule - you're insane.

Why It's Toxic To Label Yourself

If you call yourself entry-level, junior or mid-level, you're belittling yourself in the eyes of "senior" developers.

You're subordinating to their authority.

As an Unbeatable Developer Academy student, you should never subordinate to any other developers. Because you're working in alignment with the Universal force - that's the only authority you will ever need.

What happens when you label yourself anything lower than "senior"?

You adopt a subconscious thought that you can't do something that seniors can.

The problem with this, as Henry Ford once set into stone: Whether you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right.

Did you accept a lower salary just because you think you need 5 more years until you reach that "senior" role?

Congratulations - you think like masses do.

Did you notice that masses are not rich, and masses don't provide exceptional value for the world?

Now let's look at the other side of the medal.

If you call yourself senior, it's toxic too.

Because you think you are better than other developers. You let your ego speak. You trap yourself into being "authority".

You become comfortable about your life.

When you feel comfortable:

  • You're not setting goals as big as you could
  • You're no more pursuing dreams as big as you could
  • You're no more thinking as big as you could
  • You stop giving exceptional value to the world

Feeling important is the product of small thinking. Let's take a look into what small thinking generated over the years.

Common Fallacy #1: Your Boss Will Tell You When You're Senior

Most developers will try to prove you that conditions of "seniority" do in fact exist.

They say: you're senior when your boss says so. Or when your colleagues call you senior.

If you believe in this, you're subordinating to the thinking of your boss or your colleagues.

Who are they to determine who you're in life? Why do you think they're more superior than you?

Nobody can tell you who you're in life, because everything you see is a creation of the Universe. Nothing is bigger than the Universe, hence nobody has more power than it. When defining who you are, only listen to yourself. Never subordinate to other people.

Common Fallacy #2: Without Senior Developers, Your Project Is Doomed To Fail

Some people say: if you do not have at least one senior developer in a leadership role on your team, your project is doomed to fail.

What?!

How about Pieter Levels then? He doesn't know more about coding than a fresh college graduate, but he's leading a team and making over $600,000 per year.

Most developers who call themselves "senior" earn only a fraction of that.

If you want to lead, you need to:

  1. Have a clear vision
  2. Have faith in your vision
  3. Understand people

That's it. You don't need any "senior" labels. And you don't need to know everything about your programming language.

Common Fallacy #3: If You Know Only PHP, You Can Never Be Senior

Some people say that PHP has horrible coding practices, that's why you can never be senior if you know only PHP.

Who decides what is a good coding practice? C++ developers?

"Good" or "Horrible" is always relative.

  • For the backend, I never did anything else than PHP
  • But it didn't prevent me from building great products powering $10M+ businesses
  • And it didn't prevent me from becoming a successful developer

Your customers don't care if you're senior or junior. Most of them don't even want to know what these words mean! They don't care if their product written in PHP, Go, Java, C, Python, or whatever language.

All they care is that the product works. And all you care is to charge money for it!

After all, you're smarter than most developers, so feel free to use PHP... Because you don't want other people to label you "senior" anyway.

Why Experience Doesn't Matter

Now let's talk about the final nail - illusion of experience.

Imagine 2 developers. The first one has 3 months of experience. The second one has 10 years of experience and 20 different certificates.

The first guy can easily give 100x more value to the world than the second one.

Pieter Levels and many other developers proved this by their own personal experience.

Do you know why it's easier to become a millionaire with no experience?

Because experience becomes a burden if you don't handle it properly. 

Experience makes you think that you already "know" what works and what doesn't.

So you don't even bother to try when you "know" something doesn't work.

But this is just your perception. Wise people know this:

I know one thing; that I know nothing (Socrates).

In reality, everything changes, so you can never know what works and what doesn't.

From my personal experience, acting as a child with a fresh mind usually brings the best results.

If you want to become a millionaire, experience and technical skills doesn't matter at all.

It only matters if you want to gain 10 different certificates and be appreciated by your colleagues having the so-called "senior" status.

But this shouldn't bother you at all, because anybody who uses any of these 4 deadly labels is a product of small thinking.

As an Unbeatable Developer Academy student, you must only take advice from people who think bigger than you. Never listen to those who think small.

Master Action

To take immediate benefit of this lesson, I ask you to do the following in the next 24 hours:

  1. Ask your boss/colleagues/clients to stop labelling you "entry/junior/mid/senior". If it's written on your contract, ask to remove it. If it's not possible, change your job. This is important, because labels sink into your subconscious mind.
  2. Stop labelling other developers
  3. Repeat every morning: "I am the developer who is giving exceptional value to the world. Because of that, I live in abundance and I don't care whether people label me junior or senior."

Addressing Doubts

The steps outlined in Master Action might sound silly.

But I take them seriously, because what you put into your subconscious mind, materializes in the real world.

Your subconscious mind is responsible for your beliefs. Beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, and your values become your destiny.

If you're still not sure if you should stop labelling yourself or others - think about how those labels are toxic for you and other people around.

Tomas is former CTO and expert developer with 12 years of experience.

He helps developers uncover their full potential at Unbeatable Developer Academy.

His mission is to help 100 million people achieve more freedom in their lives.

LEARN MORE ABOUT TOMAS

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