Are you working as a junior developer and want to make a jump in your career? … Have you spent a few years in the industry as a developer and have the desire to become a senior software developer?
If you’re one of the coders, developers, or programmer who is looking for the best resources and guidelines to excel in his/her field then this article is for you.
Everyone wants to level up their skill set to become a better developer at their job. As a developer, we all want appreciation for our work and we all want to be respected by other co-workers. We all want to accomplish more and more and we all want to see ourselves one step ahead than others. Well, in the world of programming it’s not easy to keep learning and growing continuously when every day new technologies are coming out and there is so much information to learn. It can be overwhelming or it can be difficult and confusing as well.
Every year so many developers and students are coming out from different colleges and there is so much competition involved in the jobs among all of them. Now the question is…what is the smartest and efficient way to learn and acquire the right skill set to become a senior developer? what exactly makes someone a senior developer? what characteristics do they possess that make them set apart from everyone else? Before we go dig into this topic we need clearly understand What Defines a Senior Developer? If you think that a senior developer can code 10X times faster or a senior developer can code in 10-12 different languages than you’re wrong…let’s clear out this myth first and understand what is a senior developer.
What Defines a Senior Software Developer?
A senior developer is not someone who can code in 10 different languages. A senior developer is someone who observes the problem and sees it from different angles. They are the ones in industries who bring an incremental benefit to the table. A senior developer understands the business values and cares about the product. They set a long term vision and work towards it consistently. They believe in creating and delivering a product that provides maximum value for the client’s investment. They are someone who makes people around him or her better.
You might be one of them who can code in multiple programming languages and you may know all the cool technologies and programming techniques but if you are unable to focus on delivering the actual value to the client than you aren’t a senior developer. A senior developer is not just a job title, you should have the ability to deliver real benefit to the stakeholders. You need to build a product thinking about it from a future perspective and you need to provide maximum benefit to your customer. So the most important factor that will decide a real job title of the ‘senior developer’ is…What value do you bring to your company/business/client?
How to Become a Senior Software Developer?
Finally, your curiosity is going to end and we will discuss some characteristics of the senior developers in detail here. In every industry, people hold different years of experience in the same field. You will always find someone with more experience than you and someone with less experience as well, but here we will discuss the set of characteristics that make someone smarter than other developers and deserve the real title of ‘senior developer’. In the field of technology, it’s not enough to have just one skill set. To level up your career you should have a different skill set and here we will highlight that skill set in detail. You need to focus and work actively on this skill set to become an excellent senior developer.
1. Technical Skills
If we are talking about programming, development, or coding than the first skill which comes to everyone’s mind is the technical skill. You do indeed need this skill but here we are not going to talk about being excelled in multiple languages or technologies. A senior developer spends time understanding why a specific technology is being used in a specific product? Why should I choose a specific technology or specific language to build a specific product? Why a certain problem exist? Why does this framework exist? What problem a library or a specific database can solve?
A senior developer is good at picking up the right tools and technology that works for a specific product. A project can give maximum benefit to its client if these tools and technologies are chosen carefully. So a senior developer carefully pays attention to the pros and cons of these technologies before picking them up for any project. They should have a good sense of all of the tools and ideas that can benefit the development lifecycle. They also think about continuous improvement in the delivery process to provide a better product.
They understand the complete architecture of the product and how things are connected. They also think about the different problems a product may face if it grows or scales in the future. Technologies and frameworks get change every time but a senior developer should know the principle of computer science fundamentals such as Data Structures, Algorithms some other higher-level computer science topics. Understanding these higher-level topics helps in solving most of the software problems throughout different languages and time.
2. Team Skills
Somewhere this skill comes under behavioral skillset. A good team player provides the most value to a company. How can you make your co-workers around you better? the answer to this question defines how good you are as a team member and as a senior developer. How do you treat other team members? How do you work with coworkers? How you are trying to collaborate with them? Are you brash and opinionated with PR (pull request) reviews, and contribute to a toxic culture? Are you an encouraging and cooperative team member?
Senior developers offer help to other team members, and if they don’t know something they also try to learn it and ask questions to other team members as well. They don’t show their large egos and they are always open to receive feedback from others. They do not write complicated code just to show off their skills. They write code simple, clean, and readable that can be understandable by other team members. In short, for any project, if you are willing to get along with your teammates and make others work well together, you’re already miles ahead of most people.
3. Communication and Client/User Skills
Are you able to communicate properly with your clients and understand what their needs are?? Do you understand what problems your clients are facing and how to offer the best solution to the clients for those problems? Talking to the client is one of the difficult tasks. You need to be a great listener and you need to understand what problems asking some relevant questions. A senior developer interacts with the clients, understand the needs and problems, discuss the budget, and then offer the best solution within the abilities of the organization. You need to form a good relationship with them and you need to be a transparent communicator. Share your opinions (but do not push your opinion on clients), give them the right level of detail, and help them to make some smart, informed decisions. You may also have to explain complex programming topics to the non-technical person. Watch this video and observe how to explain the complex topics clear to the audience.
4. Curiosity For Learning
Seniors developers are usually amazing self-learners and they are always passionate about technologies or development. They believe in learning something new every day and they are curious about everything in the programming world. They love to explore new topics and they love to speak to the other developers. They read blogs, they ask questions and they have a growth mindset. Continuous learning and curiosity set them apart from other developers. If a senior developer doesn’t know the answer for something he/she will try to find the solution from different resources no matter what. They will try to talk to the right people and they know how to grow every day with continuous learning.
They know that in programming learning everything is impossible but that doesn’t mean they just focus on one skillset. They focus on things that matter most and they spend time which they love to enjoy. They don’t give biased opinions towards any technology, language, framework, or library. They know that everything has some pros and cons, so instead of hating any framework, library, or language, and giving advice to others for not using it, they simply share the opinion where the specific technology is good to use and where it is not. They try to learn the concept before they decide they hate something.
5. Community Skills
Senior developers love to share the information with the industry and love to join the developer’s community. Whether it’s a meetup or some tech talks, they love to attend these things and they love to interact with other people there. Instead of just being in a closed-off box and taking care of the responsibility given in the office environment they chose to go outside and interact with other communities. This helps them to get more knowledge from other industries and what’s new happening in the technical world. Their boundaries are not just limited to the problems they are working in the industry. They also love to join online communities and solve the problems of other developers sitting across the world. They love to share the information and solution for any problem by using various resources such as blogs and articles. They discuss the problems and the solution with other developers. They always try to find the best possible solution using various online resources.