What does it take to become a senior developer?

What does it take to become a senior developer?


min video //

min read //

October 2, 2023

Tech careers

Job selection

Dalia Hammad

Re:Coded contributor | Jordan

In today’s rapidly evolving digital world, the quest to become a senior developer has never been more compelling. With the demand for skilled developers skyrocketing not only across the globe but notably in the MENA region, the journey towards seniority holds great potential. If you’ve already secured your position as a junior developer, congratulations are in order! This blog will now guide you on what it takes to become a senior developer, a role that comes with increased responsibility, expertise, and recognition.

What does a senior developer do?

Before diving into the details of how to become a senior developer, let’s first understand what the role entails. A senior developer is not just someone with an advanced skill set; they are often the ones leading technical innovation within their organizations. 

Their responsibilities extend beyond coding to include mentoring, software architectural design, complex problem-solving, and strategic collaboration.

Find out how you can progress your career and prove to your employers that you do have what it takes to become a senior developer!

How can I become a senior developer? 

1. Mastery of core technical skills

Obviously, any senior developer has to have a rock-solid foundation in core technical skills. This includes an in-depth understanding of programming languages, frameworks, and tools relevant to your specialization. You also need to consistently develop these skills and stay up-to-date given the rapidly evolving technologies.

Check out Re:coded’s bootcamps for frontend, backend, and fullstack development.

2. Extensive experience

You also need to accumulate valuable experience working as a junior developer before you can transition to a senior role. As you progress through your career, try to tackle more and more complex projects and challenges. This ability to handle different scenarios not only improves your problem-solving skills but also showcases your proficiency and adaptability, which are very important traits for senior developers.

According to industry data, it takes an average of 3 to 6 years of experience to transition from a junior to senior developer

3. Complex problem-solving

What makes a senior developer stand out is their ability to solve complex problems. They don’t just fix bugs; they dive deep into complex issues, employing critical thinking to devise innovative solutions. To develop this skill, give yourself time and keep practising in different projects, scenarios, and challenges.

During that time, it’s best to keep track of the projects you’ve worked on and the challenges you’ve solved, so that you can showcase your work and your abilities when negotiating promotions.

4. Software architectural design

Senior developers are often responsible for designing the architecture of software systems. This involves creating robust, scalable, and efficient structures that underpin applications. To master architectural design, you need to have a deep understanding of system components and their interactions, ensuring a seamless user experience.

Check out this free course on Software Architecture and Design from Georgia Tech to get you started. 

5. Mentorship and collaboration

Moving up the career ladder means more than just coding by yourself. Senior developers are expected to share their wisdom with junior members of the team, fostering a culture of growth and learning. Effective collaboration embraces not only your leadership skills but also the overall productivity and cohesion of the team.

A Stanford study found that those who work in a collaborative rather than an individual setting are 50% more effective at completing tasks.

6. Ownership and accountability

As a senior developer, you are entrusted with critical components of projects. This means taking ownership of your work, ensuring its quality, and being accountable for its outcomes. This level of responsibility showcases your reliability and dedication to your craft.

To practise taking ownership and accountability, start viewing your team as an extension and reflection rather than a competition. Train your team, lead them, and foster a collaborative working environment to produce timely and excellent work. Take ownership and accountability for their mistakes, when they happen, as this will encourage them to do better next time and will make you look good as a leader. On the other hand, throwing them under the bus will do the exact opposite – makes you look bad and demotivates them.

7. Continuous learning

Technology evolves at lightning speed, and senior developers must keep pace. Embrace continuous learning, whether through online courses, workshops, or reading industry publications. Staying updated is a testament to your commitment to excellence.

Here’s how to learn online in 5 simple steps.

8. Communication skills

The ability to translate complex technical jargon into clear, understandable language is a hallmark of a senior developer. Effective communication ensures that your insights and solutions are accessible to stakeholders across various departments who don’t necessarily understand the technical aspect of your work.

Here’s a LinkedIn course to help you get started: Tech Career Skills: Communication for Developers.

9. Good leadership

While not every senior developer holds a managerial role, leadership is still an important part of their responsibilities. Leading by example, offering guidance, and fostering a positive team environment are traits that elevate a senior developer’s influence.

Check out these 8 leadership skills to help you stay on top of your game.

10. Contribution to the community 

Becoming a senior developer isn’t just about excelling within your organization; it’s about making a mark in the broader tech community. Share your insights through blog posts, webinars, and conference participation. By contributing to the community, you establish yourself as an industry thought leader, which can significantly impact your career trajectory in your company or perhaps elsewhere!

Here are some of the top tech groups in Jordan, Iraq, Türkiye, and beyond to keep track of and engage with.

Your journey to senior developer begins now!

Now that you know what it takes to become a senior developer, it’s time to put these steps to action! Embrace the challenges that lie ahead, and as you progress, remember that the journey itself is as valuable as the destination. By developing your expertise, embracing leadership, and contributing to the community, you’re not just becoming a senior developer; you’re shaping the future of technology!

So, keep learning, keep coding, and keep pushing the boundaries of what you can achieve. Your future as a senior developer is bright, and the tech world is ready to welcome your expertise with open arms.

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