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Traits of a Senior Software Engineer

For a long time, I wanted to compile my list of qualities of a senior developer. How do you become one? What do people expect from a senior developer? This post is my first attempt.

There are many angles to approach the topic. Here are some of the sources I found interesting:

In this post, I'm writing down my answer. I wish I wrote it a couple of years ago to compare how my views have changed. I'm sure I will give a different answer in a couple of years. Here I just list the points, and I plan to elaborate on some of them later.

Important Senior developer traits (2021):

  • Hunting for business knowledge - actively search how the product works, how users interact with it, why it works as it does;

  • Being able to discuss without raising the voice;

  • Express opinions and support them with arguments;

  • Gut feeling - listening to your intuition;

  • Remember stuff - writing down, documenting, keeping lists of things, organizing information inputs and outputs;

  • Knowing the processes of working with people in Software Development;

  • Knowing the next step and the one after that;

  • Pushing a task till the end or passing it to another person;

  • Changing processes when needed (supported with an opinion and arguments);

  • Looking at things from the team point of view;

  • Seeing people as collaborators and contributors (or at least parts of a solution), not obstacles;

  • Solving the unsolvable problems;

  • Experience in putting out fires;

  • Experience in breaking things (build, CD, production).

Cover image by Valeria Cerbu on Unsplash

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