Why so many senior positions?

Hi everyone and happy new year 🙂

I've been looking for a job working with ruby on rails for about a month now, and I could be wrong about this, but it seems like 80% of openings on LinkedIn are looking for senior-level candidates. I've been programming for about a year now so I'm looking for something more entry level or even mid level because I believe I'm capable.

But my questions are: am I estimating it correctly? Is the ROR job market far more heavily recruiting senior level candidates? If so, is that the current norm for most fields of developing? And lastly I understand everyone is different, but any obvious tips for finding the right gig?

Much Love Stay Safe

9 thoughts on “Why so many senior positions?”

  1. The prevalence of senior positions is an industry wide problem. It comes from companies wanting talent without wanting to make the effort to grow talent.

    IMO, which at this point 20+ years in I am disconnected from the entry level market by … well ~20 years … so take it with some reservation, you won’t find the right gig. Find a gig, use it to learn more and develop more skill. Then find a better gig, and repeat.

    My first job was shit.
    My next job paid better and was less shitty.
    Same for the next job.
    Then I found a job that I actually liked, and was there for three years before I found an even better job that paid even better.
    Then I left that job for a 30% increase and that job absolutely sucked (director level).
    But, it set me up for my next job which pays almost as much as my shitty job, but I like much better (technical work, no management)

  2. Everybody wants a capable senior who can lead and handle anything thrown at them. Juniors are much more risky.

    Think of it this way- a car slams through your living room wall and now you need it repaired. Who are you going to hire? $15/hr for some kid that’s in college, or $50/hr for a seasoned expert who can lead a team of people and get it fixed quickly and properly.

  3. You can also applied to senior job.

    I did it with one year experience. They wanted a senior dev because they are mostly mature enough to not run after their work and they autonomous we don’t need to always ask them what to do exactly.

    But if the company as only one developer I can understand they are looking for a senior dev because they don’t have time to manage a junior.

  4. i’ve noticed also that Rails in particular has a lot of more senior positions. I suspect that in recent years new startups are opting not to use Rails and to use other frameworks, further making Rails a more senior-needed role

    When i got my first rails job i had built a web app for car repair that made a little over $2k, but i would say i was wayyyy better at doing interviews than other entry level engineers. I had come from a non engineering background so i think that helped a lot.

    A CTO of a small startup gave me a shot and i busted my ass off in that position to prove he didn’t make a mistake.

    To get your first job you not only have to be decent at coding, you also need to learn about sales, from a job getting perspective. That means learning your cold prospecting to warm to getting the interview and getting really good at the interview itself.

    Often noob engineers try to get into the market but all they focus on is studying coding and “clicking apply to job” and then they strike the earth cursing why they can’t land a job. It’s hard yes but you can’t get the big bucks if you’re doing bare minimum

  5. I think there’s also a problem of title inflation in some companies. In the last place I worked for, there were more “senior” developers on the team than anyone else, and all except one were no more experienced than a mid level developer.

    I believe it was because of a toxic work environment where management were desperate to keep the developers they liked so they just promoted them.

  6. I feel that the problem is a very human one, and is prevalent across all industries, except ones with a limited supply of people.

    Consider it from the employer’s point of view: they hire a junior with zero experience. most juniors are x10 less productive than a good senior employee. after 1 year, when the junior gets around to being half productive, then junior up and leaves because he’s found a better paying job down the road. What does the employer end up with? the loss of a year’s worth of wages and a half finished job with little to show for it.

    staffers leave for better pay, generally as soon as it can be had; and this very tendency of human nature makes employers less inclined to invest in inexperienced people: this investment cannot be secured. that’s why they always invariable ask for experience so that staff can “hit the ground running”.

    but the real value of developers is the ability to realise what is valuable, and to do the most valuable things first, or to otherwise identify and solve tricky problems, at low risk and high yield.

  7. There are so many reasons why companies prefer confirmed and senior programer.

    1. Because they don’t want to pay for juniors’ mistakes. Schools teach some skills but they don’t make their students business-ready developers. It means that the junior developer will complete their training at the expense of their first \~2 companies.
    2. Because a senior developer will be autonomous and efficient way more quickly.
    3. Because they are not equiped to train a junior developer. Companies usually provide a supervisor/manager, rarely do they provide a mentor with teaching skills.
    4. Because it’s often a losing (money) bet. Most of the time, a junior does their first foray at a company and by the time they become somehow efficient, they go looking for new challenges and a better paycheck somewhere else.
    5. Because it’s easier to select a profile based on concrete past jobs achievements rather than on a feeling that they might become good at their craft one day.
    6. Because companies do have a high risk of death if they do the wrong move. Being a CEO, who would you invest your company (money, clients satisfaction, …) on?
    7. Let’s be honest, it’s also because of us senior developers. We would rather work with other experienced programers because we can learn from them, because reviewing their work is less painful, because we have more reasons to trust their work in production, etc.

    My take on how to find a good job:

    Your first \~2 jobs as a developer, focus on learning. Go work with A players teams in small companies. Suffer and learn. Forget about money.

    If you’re lucky, you’ll find on the way a company with a shitty boss or a poor team spirit. It’s best to experience some things early in your career.

    Also, always be positive, constructive, never sell yourself as a junior developer but as a passionate developer. Show them that your best skill is that you know how to learn by yourself. They should read between the lines and understand that some people learn in one year what others learn in 3.

    A final piece of advice: make sure you’ve walked every step of the way from \`rails new\` to putting and app in production (with the system administration that goes with it) because that’s really a good point in your favor to mention during an interview.

  8. Expand where you are using Ruby. For example, metasploit framework is a tool used by pen testers. Its written in ruby. Also, chef, an automation tool we use the shit out of in devops… is a ruby DSL.
    RoR specifically seems pretty niche. You may find something better if you cast your net wider.


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