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Keff
Keff

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What does being a senior mean to you?

What does being a senior mean to you? What aspects would you say are essential to become or be qualified as one? If you're in charged of recruiting, what do you look for?

You don't have to be one to answer. I'd like to hear from both sides, from people who have a senior role and new developers who are not.

Discussion (23)

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sgcdialler profile image
sgcdialler

Being a senior means being responsible for all the things that you experienced as a junior. As a junior, you have fully-fleshed-out tasks assigned to you. Being a senior means being responsible for doing the fleshing-out, and also being responsible for coaching your juniors as they complete those tasks. If you are asked to assist in interviews, it's your responsibility to evaluate the candidate objectively, both quantitatively and qualitatively. If they're hired, you have a responsibility to help on-board them--to be someone they can ask questions of, and help them start contributing to the team as quickly as possible.

Being a senior also means being responsible for your own development, as a professional, as a mentor/leader, and as a person. I find myself consistently disappointed by so-called senior developers that are possessed of great technical skill, yet also suffer from a dearth of leadership/mentorship ability. In my experience, these types of seniors contribute little more to the team than a reasonably-skilled junior. In some cases, they can even be actively antagonistic, and have a negative affect on the team, both internally and externally.

I think part of the reason the transition from junior to mid to senior happens so quickly in software development is because it is easy to get started on the process of becoming a "senior". However, and again, this is my experience, it's a longer road from senior, to principal, to staff, to fellow. And this ignores the route into a team leader or even management role.

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gerhardengelbrecht profile image
steffyG

Good answer, recently promoted senior. Finding it hard to deal with the ambiguity. I certainly lack some skills but trying to fill in the gaps.

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nombrekeff profile image
Keff Author

I really like your answer, I feel it touches on all the important points!

I have experienced those kinds of seniors from time to time, not that fun to work with!

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mistval profile image
Randall

A senior engineer is independent. You can give them a task, and they will go talk to the right people, do research, figure out a good approach, and implement it. They get stuck very rarely. When working in areas of a codebase that they are unfamiliar with, they will speak to those who know more about it, but they don't have to. They have the skills to figure everything out on their own, if they must. To me, that's the main trait of a senior engineer.

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andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden

A battle hardened developer who has been to war (worked on tons of projects) and back. Gaining lots of experience in the field is what separates a Senior from a Junior. Working on personal projects only gets you so far to reach that extra level you also need to know how to collaborate with different teams.

And go through an entire project lifecycle from conception to production level code and architecture.

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natescode profile image
Nathan Hedglin

I'm a senior developer. Senior developers should have a strong understanding of their technology stack. They should know how to figure out new technologies and solve problems. Seniors need to be able to be a team lead and hold interviews as well.

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nombrekeff profile image
Keff Author

Do you feel being a team lead should be required? Or could a developer become a senior without that particular skill?

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jasoncubic profile image
JasonCubic

When things break I have no one to call and everyone expects me to fix the issue.

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lexlohr profile image
Alex Lohr

Being senior to me means to transcend the purely technical challenges of development and go above and beyond them, both for yourself and your team.

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nombrekeff profile image
Keff Author

Do you mind elaborating a bit? In what sense would you say you go above and beyond the technical challenges?

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lexlohr profile image
Alex Lohr

Above the technical challenges are the challenges to help other developers and teams develop themselves. Beyond them are the challenges of connecting with other parts of your company, eg sales, to learn more about the challenges the technical challenges are embedded in.

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nombrekeff profile image
Keff Author

Cool, thanks for expanding. I could not agree more!

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jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy • Edited on

In most, if not all companies I've been in, it mostly just means being older. The job isn't much different, you're just better at it, and get paid more

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nombrekeff profile image
Keff Author

Interesting, do you think it's a coincidence or do you feel like this might be the case in most companies?

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jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy

Well, I've been doing this professionally for 26 years and am basing my assessment on that. I suspect it's the case in most companies

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nombrekeff profile image
Keff Author

Cheers! Fair enough, I don't have as much experience so I can't know for sure!

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robencom profile image
robencom

A Senior is a developer who is experienced enough to handle all of the task by themselves without any help from someone else.

A Senior is someone reliable.

A Senior "babysits" mid/junior developers (whether that is included in their job description or not).

A Senior can easily be a team lead if needed.

A Senior understand how the company's business is being conducted.

A Senior deserves a bigger salary and recognition.

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yogski profile image
Yogi Saputro

I think senior dev should have these qualities:

  • able to discuss and work on finer details of technical stuff with team members
  • able to communicate engineering impact and constraints with non-tech people

For me, the latter is more difficult. It is like being guardian to avoid headache on team members. Saying "no" to poorly defined features, explaining why small change in database takes couple of weeks. But it must be done.

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nathalia_c_b_s profile image
Nathalia Sacks

From the recruiting side, I feel that being senior is more towards the "problem finder"path. They are also way more independent, mentor other juniors, are great at tech interviewing, have a solid understanding of the business and are able to translate the tech language well to non tech people.

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kennetharvinrodriguez profile image
Ken Rodriguez

For me, being a senior means being the person you needed when you were a junior.

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nombrekeff profile image
Keff Author

I really like this answer!

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gjorgivarelov profile image
gjorgivarelov

It means I am a babysitter.

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nombrekeff profile image
Keff Author

Lol xD