Are you a senior professional?

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Are you sure you’re a senior professional? Which developer or professional of any other area never asked yourself “Am I a senior professional”?

We never know which level of seniority we are. But, what is seniority? On this post I’ll talk a bit more about this subject and tell a bit how I think a senior professional must be.

What is it to be a senior professional?

I’ve participated on many projects and on these I could see many situations where I questioned why some people are considered senior. Is it because of the time of experience? Is it because of the knowledge?

Some people say it is about “experience”, however I strongly disagree. Seniority is not just about experience, because a person can have 10 years of experience however cannot deal with a lot of important things that we need to succeed on professional life. Usually a senior developer, talking about developers, is that person who is already very experienced and the market sees him/her as a person that can aggregate in many aspects on their companies.

But what is seniority?

IMHO, seniority is a set of soft and hard skills that leads a person to be a good professional that is able to deliver good results and deal with people and processes.

Ok, but let’s explore a bit of these skills.

Ability to deal with team

Senior professionals must know how to deal with teams, how to handle problems, how to organize the work, how to stop everything when the chaos is installed.

Study and keep up to date

Senior professionals must have in mind — and here is the thing that breaks a lot of “seniors”— that he/she doesn’t know everything and that the market is constantly evolving. New technologies and ways of working become real every day. Many people that are “senior” just don’t want to study new things and think that their knowledge is enough for the rest of the life, but that’s wrong. The market will eat you!

Care about quality

Senior professionals must care about quality. When I say quality, I don’t mean only creating tests. It means looking at architecture, design, test coverage, process, feedbacks, etc.

Care about processes

Senior professionals must care about processes. Let’s say your team works with Kanban. Are you looking at the board? Is people respecting WIP limit? Which are the explicit policies? What can be improved? Is people skipping any part of the process? Is there a bottleneck? What are you doing about it? Everyone should care about processes, however we know not everyone do it. As a senior professional, you must be the one looking at it and pushing other people to also care about the processes.

Share knowledge

Senior professionals must share knowledge and incentive others to do the same. Less experienced people also must share knowledge because that’s also a way of learning. Experienced professionals must share knowledge because it also helps him/her to learn, but you’ll teach other people and be known on the community which is good for your career as well.

Have patience with the less experienced ones

Senior professionals must be patient with less experienced people. I’m sure you passed through this learning process and you liked when people was patient with you, and at the same time you did not like when people didn’t have patience or made fun at you. So you need to have patience and respect the less experienced people, because you’ve been there.

Know how to deal with customers

Senior professionals must know how to deal with customers, it includes internal and external customers. You can have all the technical skills, however if you don’t know how to deal with customers, and with people in general, I’m sorry to tell you, you’re not senior at all. On the day by day of projects we always have blockers, questions, meetings, etc. We must know how to deal with these situations, many times you need to deal with politics as well, it’s hard but it’s part of the game.

This post is a reflection of the skills and actions I understand that senior professionals must have.

If you have any questions or want to discuss more, you can reach out to me on the comments section. I hope I helped a bit, thank you!

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