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How many years does it take for most software engineers to advance to senior level?

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Mid-Level Software Engineer at Taro Communitya month ago

I'm at a medium size software company, but still sometimes I find it really hard to get promoted if I don't fight for or create a golden project in the org. With almost 5YOE approaching, I still find myself struggle to advance to next level in my role. People I worked directly on my project are both at least 2 levels above me, they're at Senior II or Staff eng level.

I am now in a really awkward situation where I don't know if I should just interview at other similar level company for senior position or change teams internally.



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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    a month ago

    The # of years to get to Senior Eng depends very much on your team, your company, and your projects. So don't feel bad if you feel like you're not advancing as quickly!

    I'd answer this question by combining:

    1. A frank discussion with your manager about your progress toward promo.
    2. Your level of enthusiasm and ability in finding a meaty enough project.

    With 5 YoE, there's a decent chance you can actually land a senior role directly if you interview well. It's harder now in 2023 compared to 2021, but still possible if you spend a bunch of time in interview prep.

    Also consider going to startups which will be more lax about the senior role. If you go to a series B/C startup, you should be able to land the senior role, and after you spend a few years there, you will by default be assumed to be Senior or Staff.