The years of programming experience you have has nothing to do with whether you are a junior, mid-level, or senior developer. Even though a junior developer is older than a senior developer, he or she is still considered a developer.
It’s everything boils down to talent. This does not imply that a senior developer must be an expert in all areas, but it is reasonable to assume that senior developers are significantly more knowledgeable than junior and mid-level developers.
But coding skills aren’t the only thing that distinguishes a senior developer from a mid-level or junior developer. So, what are the distinctions between the two?
The senior developer, obviously, has a lot more experience than the junior and mid-level developers. Knowing design patterns, architecture, automated testing, performance, security, and other topics can help a junior developer bridge the knowledge gap between mid-level and senior engineers.
It’s critical to understand how software development should be done. However, simply knowing all of this information does not make you a senior developer. Knowledge isn’t the most important distinction amongst developers; it’s only one of several.
Coding is not about communicating with a computer, contrary to popular belief. Coding is the process of connecting with people and giving instructions to machines. Code is eventually compiled and converted to zeros and ones.
Other developers who will be working with the code in the future must be able to understand it. A fresh team with no prior experience with the code should be able to access it and begin working on new features or problem fixes right away. This is where the distinction between junior and senior developers becomes clear.
Because the mid-level developer is a bit of a grey area when it comes to coding skills, I’ll leave him out of this comparison. It’s obvious that it’s some place between junior and senior. It’s more likely to be on the senior side.
This is primarily due to experience, as mid-level developers are likely to have gone through the entire development cycle at least once. They’ve made a few of the most basic errors and learned from them.
How to sniff out the junior developer?
Junior programmers lack experience. Some of them have recently graduated and are beginning their first full-time work. A junior developer’s mentality is frequently to simply make the code work. The terms “working software” and “excellent software” are interchangeable.
It’s difficult to write simple code. It’s also something that junior programmers don’t do. Junior programmers create complex code. The junior developer can be identified by his or her odd one-liners and overly sophisticated abstractions.
This is the junior developer’s technique of bragging about how skilled they are at coding to the other developers. And it’s incorrect.
Junior developers are more concerned with the computer side of the code than with the human side.
What about the senior developer?
When looking at a senior developer’s code, you might wonder whether that’s all there is. What happened to the rest of the code? A senior developer creates code that is plain, straightforward, and possibly even dumb.
When it comes to programming, this is one of the most important traits a developer can have. The KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid) is followed by a senior developer.
A senior developer approaches his or her code differently than a junior developer. A senior developer’s code will be developed with maintainability and scalability in mind.
This is a completely different attitude than that of a junior developer—the senior is thinking about the people who will be working with the code, whereas the junior is only concerned with making it function on the computer.
More Than Just Coding Skills
Aside from coding abilities, there are a few additional variables that might help you determine what type of developer you are.
Junior developers, on the whole, perform the most basic or low-impact activities.
They don’t do any architectural design. Mid-level developers, on the other hand, do not design solutions; they simply carry out tasks. The difference with junior developers is that they can complete those activities with minimal supervision if they are allocated to duties that are somewhat routine. Senior developers are capable of totally developing an application on their own.
Senior developers, on the other hand, understand how to ask the proper questions and how to respond to them. When it comes to their relatively normal work, mid-level developers can ask the proper questions, but they require assistance with more complicated tasks.
The senior developer never gets lost and always knows how to respond to a query with the appropriate action. This does not preclude a senior developer from seeking assistance from other developers. Asking for guidance from other developers with experience in that field is sometimes the best option.
As long as he isn’t given excessively complicated duties that necessitate in-depth expertise, the mid-level developer should be able to ask the proper questions.
A young developer is unlikely to ask the proper questions right immediately. Junior developers require assistance from a more seasoned developer because they are inexperienced. The junior developer needs to be given the resources he or she requires, as well as a strong push in the proper direction.
Getting to the Next Level
We all want to improve as developers and get better at what we do. But what steps may you take to go to the next level?
Junior to mid-level
Because junior developers are inexperienced, it is critical that they go through the entire development cycle at least twice. You’ll stumble into a number of traps this way, and you’ll learn how to avoid them the next time.
You should learn how to write simple code when it comes to coding. Consider who will be the next person to work on that piece of code. You should also learn how to debug because it will help you comprehend what’s going on in the process.
You should also familiarize yourself with best practises and learn about architecture, performance, and security, among other things. Close the knowledge gap needed to advance to the mid-level.
Mid-level to senior
It might be difficult to move from a mid-level to a senior position. Some programmers will work at the mid-level for the rest of their careers. Senior developers understand when it’s appropriate to cut corners and when it’s not. These are hard-learned lessons from previous blunders.
If you want to advance in your career, you must be willing to take on jobs that no one else can solve. You should be able to do more than just get the work done.
Your role as a senior developer also includes assisting less experienced developers. When other developers don’t know how to do anything, they turn to you.
It should come as no surprise that senior engineers have a firm grasp of their technology stack. There’s more to coding than just knowing how to code. Learn about all the tools and programmes that are used at the organization where you work.
Years of experience aren’t the only distinction between a junior, mid-level, and senior developer. Senior developers are, without a doubt, more skilled than young and mid-level developers. However, knowledge isn’t the most crucial aspect.
Junior developers produce more difficult code and have a different perspective than senior developers. But it’s not only about coding abilities. It’s critical to know what questions to ask and how to follow up on those questions. And it’s something that only the senior developer, with their extensive knowledge, can perform in any case.
You should focus on writing simple code and going through numerous development cycles as a junior developer to advance. You should focus on learning more than just fixing everyday jobs to go from a mid-level to a senior developer. Furthermore, you should be willing to take on the most difficult tasks and master your technology stack. A senior developer’s role also includes acting as a backup for less experienced developers.
I’ll end with a Martin Fowler quote: “Any fool can create code that a computer understands. Good programmers produce code that is understandable by humans.”
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Have a nice day.