Relax, not being a senior engineer is totally fine
· 2 mins read · Management
We live in seniors era and that's a fact. It might sound a bit crazy or even funny but it is more than accurate. Engineers want to be seniors or at least use this term somehow in their social profiles, their laptops, their desks etc. Why? Because it is a click-bait and makes them feel cool and successful.
# Should we blame the engineers for this?
No we don't. We should not forget that the engineers are trying to make a living out of this, so they need to remain attractive in a pretty demanding market. Who would pay attention to a peacock without shinning feathers, right? Probably very few people.
I suppose it starts making sense now 🤔
# What is the companies influence in this trend?
Huge!! Why? Because everyone is searching loudly for seniors and very few are looking for impactful persons. It is like picking a book by paying more attention to its cover and not to its actual content.
Apart from that, innumerous companies out there offer the seniority title to people they don't deserve it in order to become an attractive destination. That way the seniority title is part of the compensation the engineers get. Unfortunately this pattern confuses less experienced developers since too many people end up being called
Last but not least, the managerial effort and the experience needed to help some people to grow and evolve internally is huge. Most companies seem to miss such skillful people that can influence others and guide them correctly, so they prefer to go out there and use the
senior bait to attract some talent.
# Who should be considered a senior engineer?
A senior engineer is not a person who knows N programming languages, N frameworks and N libraries. Definitely not.
It is a highly impactful person who helps a team of people to fulfill the firm's goals. Simple as that.
- think more about the
Weand not about
- care about surrounding developers and try to help them evolve and flourish
- have made more mistakes in the past than most of their colleagues, so they have much more battle-tested knowledge
- love simplicity and readability and hate complexity
- strive for maintainability and try to predict design flaws and potential bottlenecks early enough
- know that technologies evolve, so they have learnt how to adapt to changes
- appreciate more the things that add real value to a product and not fancy libraries and technologies
- are willing to listen to other people ideas and opinions in order to reach the optimal outcome
- share experiences, thoughts and ideas which actually improve the end-product
- play a vital role when it comes about architectural decisions and technologies selection
# How can I become a senior engineer then?
By becoming a decent junior engineer first. This is by far the most important role in engineering.
Why? Because we learn how to think and behave during our first steps and this is probably a mindset we should build and follow throughout our career.
Guess what this means: junior role is actually a huge and crucial step towards seniority.
- should be thirsty for knowledge and feedback
- should keep an eye on technologies evolution
- should establish a studying pattern and figure out how they can learn easier
- should not be opinionated else this attitude is blocking their actual evolution
- should understand that all this is a monster they cannot tame since it is getting stronger every day, so they need to make peace with this
- should never be afraid to ask about the whys and the hows
- should learn how to make the right questions
- should establish some good habits
- should make lots of mistakes and get the most out of them
# Are these virtues of a senior engineer too?
They definitely are. Senior engineers possess all these skills, but they have learnt throughout the years how to evaluate and prioritize them correctly and how to behave for each occasion accordingly.
It is all about experience and impact after all.
# Hmm, not being a senior is cool then?
Of course. It is totally normal not being a senior. Don't let titles to get into your head.
As we saw, the
senior roles are tightly connected. People tend to underestimate the non-senior titles which is an awful mistake. All roles have a meaning, and the lowest rank is the most important one since it defines our DNA under the hood.
Work hard and make some impact. Seniority will eventually meet you down the road. A so-called senior engineer might not be always an impactful one, but an impactful engineer is definitely a senior one and that's a fact. Don't lose your sleep with titles. Real value is all that matters. Cheers!!
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