What is the benefit from an experienced Senior Developer?

Grzegorz Papaj , 24 July 2019

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Experienced developer in IT industry is indisputable value in every company. However, it is necessary to think about what tasks should be assigned to such expert. Very often companies makes basic mistake hiring a such specialist to write a regular code and to do other relatively simple tasks. They don’t profit from potential of this specialist. Why is it not worth assigning such tasks to the senior and in what field exactly the senior should help?

Senior Developer – When do you become one?

Specialist in IT has to come a long way to finally work as respected senior developer. Mostly person is thought as senior when has solid years of experience. Unfortunately, contrary to popular opinion in the labor market, the level of programmer is quite loosely related to its job seniority. Many developers very often despite long job seniority stop at lower level (mi-level, regular) and practically never go higher. There are (less often) programmers who reach senior level even after two yeas of work in the profession. Of course, many years of experience aid gaining knowledge, skills and “savvy”. However, the job seniority itself is an adequate condition, but not a necessary.

For the use of this article, let’s suppose that the senior developer is someone who personally managed several successfully finished programming projects that differ thematically and technologically from each other and is a person with wide range of skills and knowledge not only technical but also organizational, analytical and business.

What work should senior developer do?

Senior developer as junior and mid-lever developer had made quite enough mistakes to avoid them in the future. You can say that experienced in programming developer who except knowledge of lots of technologies or libraries and immediate searching errors in younger programmers’ code, have many other skills which are irreplaceable during the accomplishment of the IT project. Such developer not only cope great with difficult programming tasks, but also has wider picture of the projects and is able to deliver to the client a product in good quality.

Writing a regular code shouldn’t be main job of senior programmer. Such developer should only deal with the most difficult or the most sensitive elements which indeed impinge on whole project. Above all senior as a programmer with wider horizont decides about selection of right solutions and usually do not engage in direct implementation. Assigning such person to writing basic code is waste of human resources. Of course, senior developer also supervise works to make sure that they are on a good course. Thanks to such programmer, younger colleagues should avoid most common mistakes. The relationship between senior and junior specialist should resemble the master-student relationship. It’s not only about supervision, but also about knowledge and skills transfer, which are often unavailable in books and impossible to master in other way. Senior also understands the nontechnical projects requirements. This developer realizes what is the purpose of the system and what benefits should it bring to client. Senior programmer is aware of difficulties with functioning, dragging or scaling created product which can pop up anytime.

That’s why it worth to highlight one more time that companies hiring senior developers to write regular code make mistake because they assign to trivial task a person who can not only program but also forecast problems which haven’t developed yet. Senior is experienced developer who is meant to to do all above described assignments and not to just write a basic code which can be handled by programmers with less knowledge and skills.

To sum up, the basic tasks of senior developer should include:

  • choice of right technologies and solutions,
  • supervision and coordination of work,
  • support for younger team members (point mistakes, knowledge transfer),
  • making sure that project is accomplishing in harmony with nontechnical (business) conditions.

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