Within the tech industry, a lot of stereotypes can be heard and most of them are about senior developers.According to The Guardian, a senior developer is “someone with a deep specialised knowledge beyond their peers or someone who leads or instructs other developers”. Senior developers are usually the ones who have minimum 5 years of development experience. These are people who, with their previous experience, achievements, and accomplishments, have come to the point that their opinion is valid and respected, their presence is almost always necessary on projects, and they are asked to pass on their knowledge to younger colleagues. They are also in a position where they can negotiate the employment terms, can afford to turn down offers and can easily find a new job if the current one does not suit them. Nowadays it is very difficult to keep seniors in the company and to find new ones to join new projects as well.
Due to their various peculiarities, especially within the tech industry, many stereotypes surround them. Some of them are partially true, but most of them represent dry assumptions or results of personal perception of individuals. We have gathered the most common ones we encountered. Feel free to add more in the discussion.
It can often be heard that senior-level developers only care about new challenges, excitements and experimenting when it comes to changing employers or accepting new projects. These really are the reasons included in the decision-making process but one of the most important factors is the money.
Put yourself in a position of a senior developer who has been through a lot of effort, stress and spent many sleepless nights to get to the level where he is now. Why would he accept the engagement that does not pay more than the previous one? Other listed factors truly are important, but the financial package and benefits is what drives them and gives them motivation to continue giving their best.
The phrases used when seniors reject recruiters often look like “this project is not challenging enough for me” or “I prefer other technologies”, but some of them would accept working in a non-challenging project if the financials are on point.
The benefits are equally important for the simplest reason – seniors already have benefits. Senior developers are already used to benefits like health/life insurance, gym membership, a lot of paid vacation days, flexible working hours and/or remote work, etc. They would expect at least the same offer from the new employer in order to accept it.
On the other hand, there are others, who are not completely focused on the financials, but the entire job package.
To be a Senior takes a lot of years of completely immersing yourself in the projects involved to ensure both personal and clients’ progress. The point of view of people who are not in the senior positions is that seniors just had enough of everything. We assume that they simply lost their energy, motivation, and impulse, given that they already achieved most of their personal goals. However, this is not completely real conclusion. The simplest way to explain why this delusion exists lays in the IT industry itself. Any person who has achieved senior level of expertise had to keep up with the new technologies because it is simply a natural cycle on the market. Therefore, the market does not allow stagnation in any way – if you do not want it, there is always someone else who will and try hard to get it. Even if a senior thinks less of his role after so many years but cannot switch to any other role due to many reasons, he still must try hard to keep track with the industry.
So, the frequent opinion that senior developers work just enough to cover their basic duties and remain in the industry is very wrong, but unfortunately widespread. Below you will find a funny video illustrating this exact stereotype.
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3. They have zero patience
Surely after several years of constantly participating in many different projects a person loses some patience usually regarding unconcern and apathy of others. However, you should be aware that senior developers in most cases would not even become seniors if they have not cooperated with a lot of teams in the past. Having been included within the teams and successfully growing themselves through cooperation with a lot of people, we can assume they developed skills and characteristics like comprehension, empathy, and wisdom. They are much smarter, wiser, and unshakable compared to how they used to be all those years ago. These traits are deeply rooted and do not die so easily.
There are, of course, individuals who are less successful in gathering these interpersonal skills, but we should not let them determine a whole bunch of senior developers that are highly assertive. Most seniors actually remember the difficulties and impediments they had when starting and will always assist junior colleagues to overcome theirs.
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4. They are overbearing
As in every segment of life, pretentious and superior people also exist in the tech industry. This is especially the case within senior roles who have a lot of previous achievement, completed projects and a lot of money earned. However, be aware that these people are only within the smallest percent within a sea of down-to-earth people. It is devastating that a few examples how we see a whole group of people.
Most of the senior developers are very down-to-earth people that have simple life goals. They are usually in love with coding and learning new cool things, so in most cases their seniority came naturally due to their shown interest, effort invested and results. No senior developer wouldn’t be a senior if they haven’t been focused on quality of their code instead of focusing on being noticed, praised, and acknowledged. These come by merit and are a normal part of the tech lifecycle, but they are not supposed to be the main goal.
It cannot be denied that pretentious senior developers exist, but the minority should not determine the rule. Most of the senior developers are able to put their ego aside and participate within project with an open mind.
Many people had experiences with seniors who stick to the technologies and processes they are used to and try to stay with it without making any major changes. However, as mentioned before, the market does not allow stagnation in any way. Therefore, senior developers cannot stay successful unless they keep up with the market trends. If you think about it for a moment, it is evident that in the fast-growing tech industry it is very easy to be left behind. Someone who is struggling their whole life to come to a current stage will not allow themselves to be left behind so quickly.
It is very difficult to eradicate habits and established prejudices but evolving together with the industry is crucial point of self-preservation. Most of the highly experienced developers are aware of this and they are constantly renouncing old foundations and accepting new ones. In most cases they even manage to like these innovations over time.
There are a lot of other stereotypes and preconceptions regarding senior developers, but we only enlisted the most common ones. Here you can find another 5 stereotypes in an interesting article by Adam Czapski from Medium.
We are sure that everyone in the IT industry has at least once said or thought something similar. Yet, stereotypes are based on a few opinions placed on media and social networks, making them insufficient for understanding the complete truth. We recommend communication between colleagues with an open mind to prevent perspective change due to stereotypes.
If you are looking for senior developers that are completely opposite of the stereotypes we mentioned, feel free to contact us!