Experience vs Seniority
blogJanuary 28, 2022

Experience vs Seniority

What defines the role of a senior software developer

Article presentation

Experience vs Seniority - What defines the role of a senior software developer | OceanoBe's perspective on what defines seniority level for software engineers.

More than often experience is one of the most sought-after “skill” on a job request. And there are many reasons for companies to search for experienced people, the most important one being the ability to bring value to the team and company.

However, in the software industry, it seems that there is a tendency to use experience and seniority as synonyms. As you will discover in this article this is not always the case.

Experience vs Seniority

Experience by definition is a “practical contact with and observation of facts or events”. Obviously, experience is associated with the period of time one practiced a certain task that in term will lead to knowledge. This is, without a doubt, a valuable asset for any employer. People with experience usually perform better and help the company grow at a faster rate. 

In the software industry, there is some sort of misconception that if you have 10 years of experience you are automatically a senior developer. That is not always the case because seniority is always given by the skillset that you acquire during your work period. Working with the same old technology for many years does not necessarily mean that one is up for a senior position. 

Skills level for a senior software developer

A senior software developer has the ability to fully deliver a solution because of his capacity to appreciate work in its entirety. Some, although not all, have the ability to reach the goals and objectives that need to be followed and also move the team in the direction needed to achieve said goals. 

Seniority usually comes with a lot of responsibility and also some traits and skills that have been successfully developed over the years. Here are some examples of what a senior developer is able to achieve:

  • They are technological advisers and they have the ability to teach others the art of developing. In that sense, they are the go-to person for a peer review and also help with complicated issues that may arise.
  • Give accurate estimations for the project and also review their piers.
  • They have developed a business mindset and often understand the customer’s needs and what the software solutions should provide in terms of value and benefits.
  • Normally they are able to interact with both customers and management, being able to translate complex terms into understandable solutions to any given situation.
  • Unlike beginner developers, seniors avoid complexity for the sake of it. For that reason, they are always seeking to deliver a simple elegant solution to any problem. 
  • Most senior developers understand where the risks of failure lie and will be sure to point out preventive solutions.
  • They have tested solutions and seen how products develop hence are able to point out the better strategy to follow. They understand that theory is different from reality and will avoid using unnecessary programming patterns.
  • They most likely can provide the architecture of an application from start to end. More importantly, they are able to see the long-term consequences of any choice made regarding scalability, development speed, maintenance, performance, reusability, obsolescence, and so on.
  • They are up to date with the latest technologies and know if they can bring value to a project or not.
  • Finally, In some cases they are the project leaders, being respected for the knowledge provided and also for their leadership skills.

There are a variety of skills and knowledge that a senior developer should acquire over the years in order to fulfill that position. Achieving the level of seniority means always getting out of your comfort zone, and being willing to always grow and improve your skills. It is a challenge but it is also rewarding. 

In conclusion, the difference between seniority and experience lies in the actual value that one has to offer. If you are really interested in stepping up in your career and achieving the senior developer position it is fundamental that you understand the value that the industry is associating with this position and strive to achieve it. Maybe this is easier said than done, but in the end, I am confident that the fruits of the hard labor that you invest today will provide tomorrow plenty of opportunities and results. 

If you are a developer in search of a company where you could thrive and grow then OceanoBe will surely be a good fit. Find out more opportunities to join us on our Join our team page and discover our culture and values. Also, here are some success stories and business partners that we helped along the way.