The difference between a Senior and a Junior Engineer goes beyond the number of years of experience. The way they think and work are completely different. I’ve narrowed it down to 5 traits based on observations, so let’s dive in.

Planning before Coding

As a junior, I was always eager to get coding with the first solution that came to mind. Later, I realized that a senior engineer spends more time planning and analyzing problems from many angles.

Senior engineers often have much more knowledge and experience, so they can often develop better solutions.

Is there anything a junior can do to compensate for the lack of experience? Yes, they can borrow and capitalize on a Senior’s expertise. Before coding, discussing and reviewing my approach with a Senior has saved me from writing unnecessary code toward the wrong solution.

Continuous Learning

Senior Software Engineers understand that technology constantly changes, so they stay updated with the latest tools, languages, and frameworks. There are many ways to learn and be on top of new tech. Some of those ways are reading books, attending conferences, or taking online courses. The key is to invest in growing their knowledge and skills.

Some great websites for learning that I use often are:

  • YouTube
  • Udemy
  • Medium

Time + Task Management

As a Junior, my tasks would finish relatively slowly. In comparison, Senior engineers were closing out tickets left and right. Over time, I realized that time management is a learned skill that Senior engineers have mastered.

My four tips for effective time management are:

  • Breaking down the tasks before starting
  • Time-boxing when working on tasks
  • Delegating tasks with the team
  • Saying “no” when needed

Time management relies heavily on Task management. So here are two of my favorite tools I use for task management:

  • Trello
  • Notion Projects

Collaborative Mindset

Software engineering is not a one-person game. The best work happens with collaboration with others.

As a junior, I made mistakes, thinking I had the best solution, only to find out later in the code review that it wasn’t. To avoid this kind of situation, engineers should share and collaborate often. Here’s a great article on The power of collaboration in Software Development.

Attention to Detail

In the world of software engineering, attention to detail is critical. Your code can be one edge case away from blowing up on-call.

Write clean and maintainable code. In the end, humans are the ones maintaining the code. Here is a detailed article on How to write clean code.

Summary As you can imagine, there are many more traits, but these are some essential characteristics I’ve seen in Senior Software Engineers. You don’t become a Senior in a day. Everyone has a different journey and timeline. But these traits will set you up for success.

To recap the five traits again:

  • Planning before Coding
  • Continuous Learning
  • Time + Task Management
  • Collaborative Mindset
  • Attention to Detail

🚨 Do you have a Portfolio Website? 🚨

With MyDevPage you can build your own portfolio website in 1 minute all for free.

Try it out today 👉 MyDevPage