When it comes to applying -- I apply anyways for roles that ask 2-3 YoE (junior dev roles). But when it comes to referrals I don't want to ask someone for a referral that I'm totally underqualified for.
Is it reasonable to think that if I have a master's in CS adjacent and BS in CS I am considered "qualified" for roles that ask 2-3 YoE + bachelors?
For context I do not have any prior full time work experience
I personally think it's okay (a Master's usually does take ~2 years after all), but you can derisk it by asking the person who's referring you.
This is a communication technique I refer to as "Always give them an out." It helps a lot with being polite and not unintentionally exerting pressure on someone. So let them know that if they're not comfortable referring you to a role that has 2-3 YoE, that's 100% okay and you won't take it personally (and thank them for their time obviously).
This is the same advice I give to people who are afraid of asking for 1 on 1s from a senior/respected peer. If you let them know that you understand that they're very busy so it's perfectly fine to decline your meeting invite, there is really no cost IMHO of asking (the worst thing they do is say no).
For general communication tips, I recommend this: Alex's Guide To Effective Communication
@Alex thanks for the insight. This feels game-changing to me. It sounds so obvious in hindsight but I had not considered it before!
I'm glad it was helpful! One of my general playbooks for life:
If you truly champion these principles, you will develop a strong network and go very far in life and career.
We gave a masterclass about this here: [Masterclass] How To Build Deep Relationships Quickly In Tech