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Discussion on: What defines a senior software engineer?

nikoheikkila profile image
Niko Heikkilä

It's easier to say what does not define a senior engineer. Here's a couple that come to mind:

  • age
  • work experience in years
  • amount of certificates collected
  • university grades
  • salary (though often these are well aligned)
  • tech skills

Wait, what? Looking at tech skills can't prove whether someone is fit for a senior role? Correct. When thinking of senior engineers I often reference John Allspaw:

"Being able to write a Bloom Filter in Erlang, or write multi-threaded C in your sleep is insufficient. None of that matters if no one wants to work with you. Mature engineers know that no matter how complete, elegant, or superior their designs are, it won’t matter if no one wants to work alongside them because they are assholes. Condescension, belittling, narcissism, and ego-boosting behavior send the message to other engineers (maybe tacitly) to stay away."

Let us become mature engineers instead of seniors.

baradm100 profile image
Bar Admoni Author

I really liked your closing line:

Let us become mature engineers instead of seniors.

This pretty much sums it.