As a junior, mid-level or senior developer, it is not necessary to rely on the number of years of experience you have. A junior developer may even be older than a senior developer. All is in skill. This does not mean that a senior developer must be an expert in everything, but it is okay to say that senior developers are more skilled than junior and mid-level developers.
But don’t just rely on coding skills to distinguish senior developers from junior and mid-level developers. So what exactly is the difference?
It’s clear that senior developers have much more knowledge than mid-level and junior developers. Knowing design patterns, architecture, automating testing, performance, security, etc. is a good way for junior developers to close the knowledge gap with mid-level and senior developers.
It is important to know how everything in software development should do. But just knowing all of this does not make you a senior developer. Knowledge is not the biggest difference among developers – It is just one of the factors.
Although most people think, coding is not a problem with communicating with computers. Coding is human communication and computer instruction. Finally, the code is compiled and translated into 0 and 1.
The code must make sense for other developers to work with it in the future. A new team who has never read the code before will be able to open and start working with new features or fixing bugs. This is where there is a big difference between junior developers and senior developers.
I will eliminate mid-level developer in this comparison because mid-level developer is a gray area when it comes to coding skills. Apparently, it’s somewhere between junior and senior. This is mostly about experience, since mid-level developers probably went through it at least once. They made many mistakes from the simplest words and learned from them.
How to sniff out the junior developer?
The inexperienced junior developers. Some have just graduated and are starting their first full-time job. The thinking of a junior developer is usually just to make the code work. Working software and good software are considered the same.
Programming straightforward code is difficult. And it is something that junior developers cannot do. Junior developers basically like to write their own code. You can identify junior developers by using quirky one-liners and overly complex abstractions. This is an expression of a junior developer and let other developers know how well they can code. And it is wrong.
Junior developers focus on the computer side of the code at the cost of the human side.
And what about the senior developer?
When you look at the code of a senior developer, you might think: is this all? Where is the rest of the code? A senior developer writes code that is simple, easy to understand, and maybe even stupid. This is one of the greatest qualities a developer can have when it comes to programming. A senior developer follows the KISS principle: Keep it simple, stupid.
A senior developer thinks of their code in a different way than junior developers. Code written by a senior developer will be executed with maintainability and extensibility. This is a completely different thought from the junior junior – the senior is thinking about who must work with the code, while the junior is only thinking about making it work.
More Than Just Coding Skills
Besides coding skills, there are a number of other factors that can tell you what stage the developer was at.
Junior developers, in general, perform the simplest tasks or tasks with low impact. They do not follow any architectural design. The mid-level developers also do not design solutions, they only perform tasks. The difference with junior developers is that they perform those tasks with less supervision as long as they are assigned to tasks relatively frequently. Senior developers can develop their own applications.
It does not mean that senior developers do not have any questions during the process. Every developer has a lot of questions every day and that has earned the change. That is no different from senior developers.
The difference is that senior developers know how to ask the right questions and how to handle them. Mid-level developers may ask the right questions when it comes to their relatively frequent tasks, but need help with more complex tasks.
Senior developers are never lost and know how to track questions with the right action. This does not mean that a senior developer can ask for help from other developers. Sometimes the best way is to just ask other developers who have experience in that area to help.
Mid-level developers can also ask the right questions, as long as he is not assigned very complex tasks that require in-depth knowledge.
You shouldn’t expect a junior developer to ask a question right away. Because junior developers are inexperienced, they need guidance from a more experienced developer. Junior developers need to be provided with the necessary resources or a suggestion to stay on track.
Getting to the Next Level
We all want to improve ourselves and become better as a developer. But what are the steps you can take to reach the next level?
Junior to mid-level
Because junior developers are inexperienced, it’s important to go through the entire development cycle at least a few times. This way, you make many mistakes and learn to avoid them the next time.
When it comes to coding, you should learn how to write simple code. Think of the next person who will work with that code. You should also learn how to debug, as this will help you better understand what happens in the process.
Moreover, you should be familiar with the best practices and learn about architecture, performance, security, … Narrow the knowledge gap required to reach mid-level.
Mid-level to senior
Starting mid-level to senior can be quite difficult. Some developers will be mid-level throughout their career.
Senior developers know which corners can be cut and which ones should never be cut. These are hard lessons to learn by making mistakes in the past.
If you want to be a senior level, you must be ready to receive tasks that no one knows how to fix. You should know more than how to get the job done.
As a senior developer, your job is also to help less experienced developers. You are the support for other developers when they do not know how to do something.
And it may not surprise you that senior developers master their technology. There is more than coding skills. Identify all the tools and applications being used in the company you work for.
The difference between a junior developer, mid-level and senior developer is not all years of experience. Certainly, it is okay to say that senior developers are more skilled than mid-level developers and junior developers. But knowledge is not the most important factor.
Senior developers write code easier and think differently than junior developers. But it’s not just coding skills. Knowing the questions to ask and how to follow them is essential. And that’s what only senior developers, with their rich experience, know how to do in any situation.
To develop as a junior developer, you should focus on writing simple code and undergo many development cycles. To be able to grow from a mid-level developer to a senior developer, you should focus on learning more than just doing everyday tasks. You should be ready to receive the most difficult tasks and become your tech master. Another responsibility of a senior developer is to become a support for less experienced developers.