Software and Career Progression

One of the most appealing aspects of software development is career progression. One could begin as a tester or in customer care and find themselves moving up before they know it. Here is a look at possible career milestones, evolutions and progression for software developers.
Obviously, these are guidelines, so your own personal experience might differ, depending on your own career path, who you work for and how the industry evolves.

Early Career

We’ve talked before about jobs to apply for when you qualify. In that post we advised graduates to look out for titles like Junior Web Developer, Junior Software Developer, RPA Developer and Frontend Developer.
These kinds of roles tend to require 0-3 years of experience.
These are the kinds of roles you can expect early in your career, unless you’re a founder. The great news is that the vast majority of tech companies, big and small, promote from within.

First Promotions

At the risk of sounding redundant, the first promotion for a Junior Software Engineer is the role of Software Engineer. The average salary for a Software Engineer in the EU is a healthy €44,600 and generally, you would need at least 4-10 years’ experience under your belt for this role.
Along with a better salary, the promotion should prove more gratifying too, as a Software Engineer’s daily duties are more creative than that of a junior one. They also have a greater say in what happens during a project. This makes for a more enjoyable and challenging working day.
Following that, the next step in a career ladder is a Senior Software Engineer or Architect, which has an average salary of €56,888 and usually requires 7-10 years experience. This person might be in charge of a team or a number of projects. You might be required to develop entire products or applications, write complex code and likely will supervise staff below you and help them to problem-solve.


Many Senior Software Engineers are happy to stay in that role for the rest of their career. It’s varied, challenging and fast-paced. Plus the salary is healthy and often rises in increments as experience accumulates.
However, should this person want career progression or to change direction, they are faced with a number of choices: Lead Developer, Architect or Manager (Product Manager or Project Manager). Like many trades, management is a logical trajectory for Software Engineers.
Generally speaking, the more you progress, the less actual programming and coding you’ll do. Your duties become more people-oriented (building and managing teams) and macro (project management). It’s tricky to speculate on these salaries, but estimates range from the early 60s to 80s for salary range (depending on experience, candidate, and company).
Of course, if you become a founder (like some of our graduates have), the sky’s the limit regarding salary. We’ve written before about founders and the success they’ve found late in life. Whether that’s worth the risk and financial security is up to you…

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