Many big companies have a technical career ladder usually with something like:
- Junior Developer
- Semi-Senior Developer
- Senior Developer
- Principle Developer
- Senior Principle Developer
- Partner Developer
- Distinguished Engineer
- Technical Fellow
You want to move to the next level? You have to prove that you are worthy. This gets into a many waste
EMC, my current employer, has a better attitude towards levels. It basically boils down to: "its not your business!"
In other words, nobody knows and pays much attention to the title/level. Why it is better? Because titles are basically like belts in martial arts.
On average, this is probably true. In other words, if you take 100 green belts and 100 brown belts, pair them one with another, then most of the matches will be won by brown belts. It is still possible that the overall winner will be a green belt! Especially if this is previous boxing champ.
The point is that having a title does not make the person into a kick-ass developer. There might be lower-titled developers who are much more capable, but simply younger and didn't advance enough yet.