How to Spot the Differences Between Junior, Middle, and Senior Developers
What differentiates junior, middle, and senior developers? The first thing that can come to your mind is years of experience. Of course, you are right because experience is mostly a way to career growth in software engineering. However, you need to learn other distinctions as they can help you understand what kind of engineers you need for your business. Do you want to explore more about these differences and their practical applications? We’ll reveal them to simplify your choice. So let’s get down to business.
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Who is a Junior Developer?
A junior developer has minimal experience and is tend to be familiar with one programming platform, framework, or language. The mission of a junior developer is just to cultivate coding and make it work. Their solutions can be semi-stable and resolve some issues only in certain use cases. Consider that juniors are usually skilled at one platform, framework, or one programming language. Thus, they are able to handle only a few problems. In addition, junior developers can manage a limited set of issues by offering a small number of alternatives. Let’s move forward to another level position of the middle developer.
Who is a Middle Developer?
A middle developer has experience in several projects but still has much passion for learning. These programmers can work on different tasks and can be autonomous and team players at the same time. Moreover, they can set up the dev environment independently like seniors and perform mentors' roles for juniors. Anyway, middle developers have still many areas for professional growth. Finally, a middle degree in engineering means that a person can be responsible for operational moments and feels comfortable in the area of programming expertise. Let’s go further to the final level position.
Who is a Senior Developer?
A senior developer is an experienced specialist who is committed to self-learning and self-development. While writing code, a senior considers people who have to use this code. The advantage of seniors in comparison with other dev positions is that they can solve various problems and tasks, and the degree of complexity does not matter to them. A senior developer can perform the role of scientist by experimenting and validating assumptions to make relevant conclusions. They can also perform a mentor's role for juniors and mid-developers by sharing their experience, providing guidance, showing role modeling, and motivating career growth. Another particular feature of senior developers is that they have a deep vision of project development as they understand how to build a project, understand its scope, manage it, and delegate tasks to a team. Thus, a senior developer can assess risks, determine the right workflow, and deliver tested and well-documented solutions. Let’s define aspects that differentiate these level positions.
Points That Spot the Differences Between Juniors, Middle, and Seniors
Juniors have 0-1,5 years, middle developers have 2-4 years, and seniors have 5-8 years of experience. In most cases, junior developers can just graduate from their education or start their first full-time job as engineers. Finally, they need senior tech tutors to move forward in the IT area.
Knowledge and Skills
Junior developers have excellent basic knowledge of IT from a hardware and software perspective. Middle developers are competent in at least a few stages of the software product development lifecycle and are able to set up the dev environment necessary for creating new projects. Obviously, senior developers are more knowledgeable than juniors and mid-level developers. Thus, knowing automating testing, design patterns, performance, architecture, and security is a good way for juniors to fulfill the knowledge gap with mid-level developers and seniors. However, knowledge is not the main distinction between developers, it’s one of the factors. Therefore, let’s move further with other differences.
If you regard coding as communication with a computer, we will challenge your belief. Coding is about communicating with people and instructing computers. Therefore, one of the distinctions between juniors and seniors is related to their capacity to code. For junior engineers, it’s a hard task to program straightforward code. Thus, they write fancy code that is characterized by overly complex abstractions and quirky one-liners. For mid-level developers, coding is not a challenge anymore as they have enough skills and experience. A senior developer writes straightforward and simple code because it is made with scalability and maintainability in mind.
Juniors are team players while middle and seniors can manage a team of developers doing simple and mid-level tasks. Middle developers can both work alone and be team players.
Project Planning and Development
Juniors can only assist with initial project planning as they do have not enough experience to do this independently. Middle developers can perform several tasks for a few projects simultaneously. Seniors define project risks, evaluate its outcomes, and offer ways how to make a project more efficient and successful and prevent emerging failures.
Juniors can hardly solve difficult tasks while seniors can manage complex problems by relying on past experience and applying design patterns.
When You Should Hire a Junior, Middle, and Senior
Hire Junior in the Following Cases
- When initial technical expertise is not your priority, and you value professional enthusiasm.
- If you need to handle small but important tasks like minor debugging.
- You have time and resources to invest in specialists' growth.
Hire Middle in Such Cases
- When you need an experienced person to complete a project and manage certain development areas.
- If you need someone skillful and knowledgeable to mentor juniors.
- You appreciate universal specialists with mid-level integrity.
Hire Senior in These Cases
- When you have a team consisting of juniors and middle software engineers and need a manager.
- You can afford qualified and highly-experienced specialists.
- Your project is complicated and requires a strict and narrow approach.
- If you do not possess proper expertise but want to gather a team of experts that should be interviewed.
All in all, every level of a developer is important and can contribute to your project. Now you understand the peculiarities and distinctions between juniors, mid-level, and seniors, and the final decision and choice belong to you. Consider all these points, analyze your project needs, and only then hire a developer that responds to your criteria. If this choice is still a dilemma for you, contact us and we’ll help you with developers.