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Don't aim for 'Senior'

leogopal profile image Leo Gopal twitter logo github logo ・1 min read

Something to think about and discuss.

  • No one really knows what senior means.
  • Time doesn't mean better.
  • Who's to judge?

What should be the aim?

I think its adaptability and being able to problem solve best (and the best problem solving is avoiding it all together).

Your thoughts?

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I disagree slightly with the point that senior is a meaningless term. I think that outside of an organization, the label has less meaning. But within an engineering org there should be ideas for how to maximize people's impact, and senior developers may fill different needs that might be pretty well defined.

As a person though I say aim for impact, aim for increasing the scope of your knowledge, aim for sharing what you know with others. Aim for a bigger paycheck too if that fills a need in your life as it does mine.


I think we agree fully but just semantic differences.
Senior or levels inside an org is helpful, it helps juniors know who can help, who can take on what level of task etc. outside the org, not so much. I could be senior at x company but junior and the next.

Also reaching senior is sad, what's next?
I think we need better goals and better labels.


I agree, i made senior when i was 21 and only working professionally for 2 years.

There are people who have much more experience and working there for longer than me.

For me becoming senior meant guiding juniors, guide what technologies to use etc


Senior = more experience/pay bump for that experience.

In my opinion, that is something to strive for. It may also mean more freedom, input on the team/org, what projects you can work on, etc. I see senior in title and senior as in "They've been here longer and know the way of the land" which is a nice perk.

I have no idea what comes after senior and I with titles were more consistent. I do see senior a lot (more in non-dev roles) in orgs where there are no juniors to justify a higher pay range.


I don't know, "senior" often comes with a significant pay bump so it's worth striving for. Adaptability and being able to problem-solve will get you there.

I do agree that time doesn't matter.


I think changing organisations gives the biggest pay-bump, moving up a ladder in a single place to senior could take forever and could be based on who the current senior is. Sometimes being in one place, the only way to get a promotion is if someone else leaves.


True, it could have a pay bump. And true, it could take forever.

I've also seen it happy very fast for people that uh...had more in common with management, regardless of how much time they had in the org.


Yeah I agree.

I think it's good to see what jobs require and learn some of those skills. Learning them may move you closer to "senior" from the hiring manager's point of view. Also they are probably useful things to learn.

But for everything else I would say to just improve for yourself. Choose what to improve based on what you feel you should improve most. The "senior" title will come.


At the moment, I am learning mental models as the thing I want to be best at, the foundation of all problem solving and views of reality.


Titles are a good selling tool for HR / recruiters which are usually not exactly experienced on the technical side.

Senior developer can mean many things but it also depends on the experience that the developer went through in their career.

If a person has worked on a single project with outdated tools, technologies and practices, that person will probably have a hard time finding a job in this fast changing environment.

If a person starts his/her career with some of the most popular and modern tools, technologies and practices and continuously is watching and reading tutorials, is up to date with what's happening in the ecosystem of his tools and technologies of choice and is able to solve problems quickly, experimenting with new things in his/her free time, that person will be able to progress faster in his/her career.

Building things that actually matter and can serve the person's career is more important than anything else. Being stuck in an unorganized startup or an outdated corporation might be useful partially but that won't make you a great developer overall.

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I write code and poetry; sometimes they are the same.