My Ideal Software Engineer Career Path Chart Based on Suffering

Senior Brogrammer
2 min readAug 9, 2022

“Every software engineer is one production outage from a promotion or a new career”

Impressive if you think about the computer didn’t fall backwards

Organizations have been struggling for decades to distinguish grades for hiring/promoting software engineers. Does an engineer deserve to be senior based on contributions, ownership of projects or design skills? How is that different from a staff engineer? Several managers and engineers will put heads together to create a document to answer these questions, but only get it partially right. I’m hear to show Hanshew Engineer Career Path of Suffering Ladder to flip the status quo on it’s head. Heh, you could even say I’m disrupting the hiring industry.

My Career Ladder of Suffering

So as a precursor, these are day to day things that can occur in a engineers day from inconveniencing to ruining it.

Intern/Junior: Never suffered a production outage or caused a production outage. Coding experience primarily comes from college or side projects, where code works 100% of the time.

Associate: Suffered a few production outages, made a change that is complained about frequently and had a couple ideas shutdown in a meeting.

Senior: Suffered enough production outages causing balding and wrinkles, made a project that is complained about frequently, and slowly considering management.

Staff: Suffered through the near end of a company, made a tool that is complained about frequently, and decided management wasn’t for them. Got annoyed with a third party library bug they fixed it themselves.

Distinguished and Above: Almost suffered the end of time, but fixed the bug with a date time library. Scheduled 4 meetings every hour, somehow attends them all. Several complain about projects created by them years ago before the company switched directions by investing in crypto.

Ideally you follow this very detailed chart above to determine which one of these descriptions fits a newly hired/promoted engineer. Since suffering is a key metric in determining an engineers ability, the improvement made afterwards is the only viable way to figure these things out.

(Hope you enjoyed the parody chart, thanks for the read)

Senior Brogrammer