I'm supposedly a senior software engineer, but I don't feel like it


@onlyme thanks for checking in. Things are a little better. I recently had my 1 year anniversary at my job and have always gotten pretty good feedback in reviews. (We do monthly “mini-reviews” at my company)

But I still feel underqualified. One of my coworkers is almost 10 years younger than me and he is just such a self-starter. He has taken responsibility for several projects after some other coworkers left the company. I’m so jealous of him, he’s really smart. Right now we’re both senior software engineers, but I know he’s going to get promoted way before I ever do (if I ever do at all), and it makes me not just anxious, but mad. Not mad or anything against him personally, just mad at myself that my anxiety is getting in the way of my career progression.

So, things are a little better but still kinda sucky.


small steps in the right direction. great! go on further!


Find the type of task you fear being assigned then do it on your own time.

The reality is developers who don’t code for fun ( or at least the need to improve) in their spare time never get to that “Senior” , “I can do anything in my specialization” level of skill and confidence.

If your not willing to part with your spare time, and you get hit with a nasty task you just can’t do, out source it or use your years of exp and connections to just job hop.


Thank you. Your reply to someone to guide them is really appreciated. I am a software engineer and need some guidance. How can I post my question and request your answer? I am new to this forum.


You just did :slight_smile:
Post anywhere on the forum and someone is bound to answer sooner or later


Firstly Thank you for all your kind words and the good job you are doing, I’m sure a lot of people who read your answers would be greatly benefited.

I’m 27m from India working on IT Infra. I had been suffering from depression disorder since my age 13 till my high school. Later, with continuous psychological therapy sessions and medications, slowly I came out of it. I’m now married to a wonderful person I loved and hardly think about depression.

However, since an year seeing the ups and downs of IT market in India and continuous lay offs happening here, let me tell you the current condition in India with respect to resource management, companies feel over experienced resources say more than 12-15 years of experience as a burden and they are the first targeted for layoff. A per with 12 years of experience would be roughly 35+ years old and that is the age he would have highest responsibilities in life especially in India. Say, a house loan, kids studying in schools etc. Due to huge population and high competition and high availability of resources, there are hundreds and thousands of freshers they hire with mere salary and to replace him. I have started feeling anxious about my future thinking if I’ll also face this situation 10 years down the line with the current skill sets I possess.

The reason I feel this: I’m 5 years experienced by now and working as a Qlikview Qliksense admin which I believe are the highly emerging BI technologies in the world. But since I started my career and for previous 4 years I have only been working on SAP BO App support and very low level admin activities. However I think I’m good in management, like process planning and management.

If you see I have never worked on development ever in the past 5 years. I have been applying for few jobs lately and have been consistently been rejected during the screening, the reason is they are expecting skills with development and admin.

I’m from a non-cs background and have never felt programming is my cup of tea, whenever I even try to write a simple code, I feel I’m worthless say it is C, python, SQL or even scripting related to Qliksense on which I administrator. But I feel that I really need to come out of this and start learning development/programming.

I need your advise on how can I build up a career in IT so I’ll have a job for next 30 years of time. How can I start very basic programming and become expert or an architect with management in long run.

I would be most thankful to you when I hear from you. I really appreciate your advise in advance.


Unfortunately, I think this is one of the biggest problems in web development. It’s hard to get exposure to different technologies if you have an employer that isn’t staying up to date in the latest trends. Unfortunately, sometimes the only way to get around this is to take a new job and hope for the best.


No way man! 12 years of EXP that says alot about you. Do not doubt yourself my friend!


I don’t think you should worry too much. You would be amazed at the lack or programming ability exhibited by the average senior engineer, technical director and CTO. Most of the ones I’ve seen:

  • Don’t know how to build large systems.
  • Build large systems when only small systems are needed.
  • Are just learning and then applying design patterns by rote.
  • Don’t have a clue about the big picture or the small picture.
  • Struggle to code a solution when given a specific task.
  • Haven’t been coding for 12 years, probably much less.

Most don’t want to “learn” anything unless its something that reinforces their position. By that I don’t mean it solves a problem. It’s normally just random new or obscure stuff so they can stay in the zone of appearing to know more than everyone else and acting out the teacher.

I found myself in an extremely similar situation. What I found after a few months is that all of the design patterns were a scam, completely unnecessary, poorly implemented, the architecture was a joke, the senior engineer seemed to struggle with basic maths and had accomplished nothing but massively over complicating what should have been a relatively simple system.

I had actually learnt a lot of that stuff in my degree yet used little of it or cared because it’s YAGNI. A lot of “design patterns” are just giving names to basic solutions you’ll come up with on your own for a given problem. These people sound all impressive but it turns out to all be show. They implement design patterns for the sake of it. Just to build an ivory tower of complexity to shut out others and maintain control.

It’s better to be under confident than over confident. You’ll at least be sure to bring yourself up to the level.