What is a “Senior developer” ?

What does it take to be considered a senior developer? Number of years in the resume/CV or number of projects and clients worked for?
Are you willing to  hire a senior developer? Are you sure your recruiter has any idea what he should be looking for?

I see lots of job postings requesting a “Senior developer” and I see lots of resumes/CVs/Profiles of software developers presenting themselves as “Senior developer”
But it is rather unclear what this should mean. When will you say a software developer is “Senior” ? What are the criteria to distinguish  a senior from a non-senior developer?

Some would say a senior developer is one that has at least a certain amount of years experience of working as a software developer. But is that a valid criteria?
I’d say not even by far. I’ve seen cases (and not few) of software developers working for years in a company, for the same project, using the same architecture, handling almost the same bugs and problems. I don’t call that “experience”, I call that “routine”.
When, for years and years one only keeps himself busy with routine and nothing else, he would become specialised and  a quick solver of that particular routine.
But we’re talking here about software development, we’re talking here about software architecture.
In order to be able to find a good solution for a project’s requirements, it’s necessary that you already met a lot of situations, code styles, infrastructures, and you are able to identify patterns that best apply for the analysed project.

I would say, a senior software developer, not only needs to have years of experience, he/she also needs to have worked on at least a certain number of types of projects and different technologies.

2 thoughts on “What is a “Senior developer” ?

  1. I would say that senior developer can prove why he wrote any line of his code and for what reason he did it that way or another, sure there are many many other criteria too.

    btw. found your itc-media link in sources.
    see ya

  2. Proving why you wrote a line of code is not that difficult unless instead of writing code you just copy it from somewhere else.
    Yet, being able to recognise patterns, apply algorithms, design a structure of the whole software, fine-tune the code and configurations for better performance, handling or avoiding situations that would induce a negative user experience, are things that I personally consider should be parts of a senior developer’s profile.
    Those come with experience, unfortunately, working years in a row as a programmer does not necessarily bring you this experience.

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