This article is for all the developers, coders, programmers out there who are looking to make a jump in their career after having had a few years in the industry (or you may be just starting out but would like to see the sort of path you have to go on). This article is for those with a simple desire:
What Do We Want?
We all strive to be better at our jobs. What the specifics of that statement may be is up to the individual person. However, most people can agree on a few common things:
- We don’t want to go through life being seen as ‘incompetent’
- We want to be respected by our coworkers
- We want to feel smart and accomplished
- We want to feel appreciated being senior developer
What Is A Senior Developer?
Take a look at any job board and you’ll see a slew of profiles and listings with the title “Senior Developer” in them. But what exactly makes this employee Senior? Usually, someone with this word in their job title has been in their field for a certain amount of time or has a specific amount of work experience. So we were a little shocked when 30% of developers we surveyed in 2016 that identified as a “Senior Developer” were in their 20s. We assume that for many people, seniority is more about expertise within a topic and scope of responsibility, not just pure years of experience. These are the 6 core skills you will need to be considered a senior developer:
5 roles to be a senior developer
- Technical Skills
This is usually the first skill that comes to mind for most people. Hopefully by this point you are convinced that it is a small slice of a much larger pie. Don’t get me wrong, you do need this skill and you can’t fake it. However, you can be smart about what you focus on. Senior developers spend time understanding the WHY of a technology. Why does this problem exist? Why does this framework exist? What problem is this library solving? As a developer, you need to have a good sense of all of the tools and ideas that can benefit the development lifecycle and pick the tools that will have the biggest positive gain on a project.
- Team Skills
This is an often overlooked skill. How do you work with team members? Are you brash and opinionated with PR (pull request) reviews, and contribute to a toxic culture? Or are you considerate, cooperative and encouraging of your team members? Senior developers don’t have large egos. They know they are good, and don’t need to prove themselves to others.
- Client/User Skills
Are you able to talk to a client or user and clearly see what their needs are? When they suggest something to you, do you understand what problems they are facing? A senior developer is somebody that can be left alone with a client and can be a great listener, and then offer advice on what the best steps are to move forward. They are great at forming relations
- Growth Skills
Senior developers are always learning something new each day. That doesn’t mean they spend 14 hours a day sitting in front of a computer reading articles. They are more efficient than that. They are always looking to speak to other developers, ask questions, or explore new topics. They don’t focus on just one skill set.
- Community Skills
Senior developers contribute to the developer community. Whether it be by doing tech talks, speaking at meet ups, contributing to open source, or even writing articles. They are the type of people that share information with the industry. Instead of being in a closed off box of just their working space, they go out and communicate with people in other communities which allows them to broaden their horizons. It’s kind of like travelling: The more cultures you meet and talk to, the more you understand the similarities and differences between people, and the more you start t