Patrick Tolosa
Jul 20, 2017 · 3 min read

Seniority — The myth that people in the creative arts become more productive over time.

“Juniority” or “Seniority” in my opinion is far from the amount of dog years you spend working in your profession, Below are 7 steps which can you help you make the transition from Junior to Senior.

  1. Invest in your tools
    If your current job isn’t providing it, buy the best IDE for your chosen language. The open source ones are great, but there’s a reason the industry standards cost money.
    At this point in your career you should already have a free IDE of choice, try understanding the differences between the paid ones(that have evaluation periods) and your free one.
  2. Typing speed matters
    While you shouldn’t strive to write 300 words per minute, I’ve met programmers who typed 15–20 words a minute(non native speakers), this results in a lot of brainpower spent on writing instead of thinking.
    Like any skill, this can be improved, I suggest spending 5 minutes a day honing your skill — http://typing-speed-test.aoeu.eu/.
  3. Explore a different problem domains
    Interesting domains to explore, depending on your background:
    * Draw a bouncing ball in canvas(2d) that takes into account gravity (and that the ball bounces back when it hits the ‘floor’)
    * Create a quick and dirty chat application in NodeJS.
    * Create a CRUD user management system in javascript, in the browser(!)
    * Buy and host your website on your own domain(can be insanely cheap)
    * Create a CRUD user management system in C(yes yes.. C!)
    * Create an echo servlet in Java.
    * Create a logger microservice that can log stuff that the client sends to it, bonus points for websocket implementation.
    * Publish a silly component to npm.
    * Write a 100 lines of code framework of your choosing, What should be in it?
    * Answer questions in stackoverflow, especially those you don’t know the answer to(please try to research before hand!)
  4. Write tests in your mind — While writing your regular code, always wonder how this code can be automatically tested later on, are you using a global variable? Are you using some environment specific implementation? This is assuming of course you do not already apply TDD.
  5. Spend some time in your enemy’s framework(If you’re doing angular, build a basic React app and vice verca), if you’re doing CodeIgniter in PHP build a basic laravel application. — What did these frameworks do different? What did they do similar? What problems did they both try to solve?
  6. Figure out 5 things you wish were different about your current tools, frameworks, language etc. go wild, anything goes here.
  7. Be inquisitive of old sores in your company, ask your co-workers for things they wish they were different in what they do, see if you can find solutions for these problems.
    A place I worked at had a 35 second Javascript build process, When I just started, it drove me mad that I had to wait 35 seconds per change, I asked why it’s like that and obviously ‘legacy’ was the answer, so I asked for some time to have a crack at it, reducing the build to 5 seconds. There were people with more seniority, knowledge and experience in my team, yet they needed a curious junior developer to solve that problem.

The myth

To be honest, the steps above do not turn a junior to a senior, but in my opinion a senior should have done at least some of the items in the list above.
A senior is a curious, capable developer, who understands why he is using his tools and frameworks, understands what problems they solve and what pitfalls they have.

Do you have any tips on how to make the leap from Junior to Senior?
Thank you for reading.

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About me
My typing speed is around 450 characters per minute.(WOOHOO)
I’m front-end architect and Senior developer.
I write complex apps in React/Redux.
I’m a TDD advocate.
You can find me on twitter and linkedin

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