So, what does it mean to be a senior developer?

I’ve been interviewing quite a lot of folks lately in my company. One of the things we care about is “seniority”.

The problem is that this term is quite tricky to define. I wrote an article explaining who I consider a senior developer to be and I’m curious about your thoughts!

Who’s a senior developer in your opinion?


I completely agree with everything in your article! Great points! Something I was told recently by my manager I think really lends itself to some points you made:

A senior developer doesn’t always have to fully understand a thing in order to be able to talk about solutions and approaches to that thing.

I had just told him about a conversation I’d had with another developer about a solution to a problem and I didn’t 100% know everything about the problem space but I was still able to talk about their suggested solution. I felt like an imposter at first because how could I tell this other developer what they should be doing in this area I didn’t know a lot about. But as my manager pointed out to me and as I was actually feeling in that situation is, as my experience has grown as a developer I’ve built an intuition about how to solve problems that I can apply fairly generally. I don’t need to know the nitty-gritty details of the code around a given problem in order to suggest a pattern to solving the problem. And I can tell when a suggested solution is not going to be an ideal approach. And others will seek and trust my input even knowing that I don’t know 100% of the code from start to finish.

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Will and I talked about “senior” developers a bit in this podcast:

I think the idea of “senior” is related to what we might call wisdom coupled with the willingness to be available and share knowledge with others.

In my own developer career, I had a senior title relatively quickly (within a year of becoming a professional developer), but it was related to my experience in my previous career as well as a constant strategy of learning and teaching everything I knew.


This was definitely and eye opening article for me as I still pursuing a career in development. I always used to think that a senior was someone who knew everything about code but I see that’s it definitely more than that.

Thanks for sharing Tomasz!

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