Becoming a Senior Engineer

Daniel Marlow on January 26, 2019

Next year I'll be celebrating twenty years as a software professional. I've had the good fortune to work in a variety of industries within the publ... [Read Full]
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Great post! I LOVE all of these points! Especially

the most rewarding part of my career has been mentoring less experienced developers and watching them grow into mentors themselves.
I only recently started mentoring others and for me it was like a drug. Once I started doing it, I couldnt get enough. Now I am constantly seeking out ways I can be a better mentor for others.

A lot of younger devs I think look at Senior Engineers and think the only way to get there is to become some crazy coding rockstar. In reality, yes you have to be good at coding, but that is really only half of the battle.


Thank you. I’m glad you like the post and I hope it’s helpful.

Mentoring is definitely a learning opportunity for everyone involved.


Eleven years behind you, but you've just thoroughly shattered my imposter syndrome for the day. I opened this article thinking "awesome, what can I do to move to the 'senior' level in the broader sense of the term," and walked away realizing I'm already there in many ways!

Of course, I know I will always be more experienced in the next year compared to the previous one, but I no longer feel that recent nagging feeling to go learn a bunch of trendy stuff to be "legit". It's weird I'd even have that feeling, since I've spent the past six years telling other developers that there's no factual legitimacy to that feeling...but there it is.

I will still keep on learning, chipping away at my list of things to master this year, but I now feel a lot more legitimate as a developer!


That’s great to hear. I’m glad you recognise yourself in these words.

Mature engineers become accomplished at identifying the technologies they don’t need to learn and the code they don’t need to write.


Wholeheartedly agree with your post - and I count myself fortunate to have been part of a development organisation where the attributes and attitudes you note were valued and promoted.

I've observed a few of the "10x engineer" in action - and a lot of the time it really isn't pretty. I've also had the good fortune to hang out with and learn from some people who are actually brilliant who could not only code around the 10x engineer in their sleep, but who were also really nice to everybody at every level, and built everybody up. Walking into a room and being greeted by a huge smile from one of those people and a hearty "Hey, it's James!" when I was still a very junior member of the organisation was amazing.

I try to be the person who says "Today's your lucky day" in xkcd.com/1053/ - I've been inspired by those senior engineers and I want to pay it forward.


Great insights, Danial. Thanks for putting pen to paper.


Nearly twenty years on I'm still developing myself as an engineer.

As someone very early in their career, I'm glad to read there's always a strong element of active learning. Great post!


This is a great post. Empathy is so important. All of these points are important.

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