With the current rapid development of the Tech industry and the huge flow of information technology, no one who chooses to work in the field wants to stay at the starting level of a junior developer all their lives. They set themselves the goal of moving forward, acquiring new skills and knowledge, thereby reaching the Middle/Senior levels. And some go even higher.
Let’s take a closer look at this process, the path from Junior to Mid, and what skills you need to have in order to climb up the career ladder.
Who is a Junior developer and what is their career path?
To begin with, we will analyse the different levels of the developer’s profession, and how to determine who is at what stage. In order to qualify developers and understand who is who, you can use the following key criteria:
- by work experience
- does someone review their work
- by the level of responsibility and independence
- are they tasked with writing workarounds
In general, it looks something like this:
- junior – solves standard tasks independently with minor risks
- middle – solves non-standard tasks with high risks. Standard tasks are solved faster and with fewer bugs.
- signor – solves non-standard tasks with minor risks, that is, with fewer bugs. From a technical point of view, they can act as project managers.
As you’re still trying to break into the field and competing with all sorts of developers, layout designers, and other specialists, obtaining the official status of a Junior is already a success. Next, you will learn new things and acquire additional skills that will take you to the position of a Middle, and possibly a Senior.
Working as a Junior, you must set yourself a series of tasks that will take you to the next level. Now everything is in order.
Teamwork. Here your main task is to study the development process in team conditions, delve into the essence, communicate with colleagues, be interested in the nuances of writing code, how to test it, and so on. Do not be afraid to try, feel free to shoot questions at more experienced colleagues, and ask for learning materials to improve yourself.
The study. Learn new code, understand the terminology, and acquire new skills step by step. Prioritize learning primary and secondary tasks and skills.
Functionality when writing code. The code should be written logically and carry useful, practical functionality. It is important to write quality code that will have value among users.
Be progressive. Approach the solution of the problem with individuality, and bring in your ideas, this will be clearly appreciated by the client. Refinement of the product with an individual approach and the introduction of additional components that will increase the level of the product will obviously add bonuses to the assessment of your status in the future.
Availability of feedback from the client, and communication with analysts. Here your main task is to have contact with product owners, customers, as well as analysts. You must be aware of events and new market trends, communicating and collecting information will give you something to think about.
Code writing. Also, one of your main tasks is to write, of course, good code. Learn from your mistakes, get recommendations and advice from more experienced colleagues and luck will be on your side!
On average, being in a Junior position, a specialist grows from six months to a year and a half. This period may have a large gradation, but if after a year of work you understand that you are not ready to move on, then you should still think about the quality of your growth.
At this stage, you should not fight for a salary, but for reputation and experience, do not forget this!
What skills and knowledge separate junior positions from mid-level positions?
So, let’s analyse what skills and knowledge raise a junior to a middle level:
- the middle as a whole in the team takes the position of a valuable employee;
- ability to work and understand the connections of different systems (packages, modules, API, etc.);
- middle developers confidently use tools (IDE, other developer tools);
- understanding of how to implement a viable system, for example, a web developer can:
- MVC, MVVM and more;
- OOP principles;
- Application deployment;
- Functional programming;
- Ability to independently implement functionality;
- Periodic communication with clients.
As for the salary, when crossing the middle threshold, there is already a difference, if the income of a junior is around £27,000, then the middle can receive up to £40,000.
Career advancement from Junior to Mid-level and beyond
Working in the position of a Junior, over time, the understanding comes that it is time to move on and look towards the transition to a new stage in your career path. Most often, the employer is in no hurry to consider the issues of raising employees to a new stage, which, accordingly, entails a revision of wages, so it is necessary to take the initiative in this matter on your own.
At this stage, it is worth devoting more time to related systems Kubernetes, Docker, ELK stack, clustering and scaling, and understanding architectures. Try to write something new, without templates, completely from scratch.
Nevertheless, experience shows that it is worth staying longer in the Middle position, getting comfortable at this stage, gaining additional skills, and after 2, and possibly 3 years, moving to the Senior position.
The path of transition to the position of Senior implies the following stages of development:
- Your hard skills reach a new level, you upgrade them and automatically rise to the level of Architect or Technical Leader
- You show mentoring potential and move into management, as a version of a SCRUM master or Agile coach
- Your acquire organisational skills, you are full of enthusiasm to build workflows, and manage people. Then your road to Team Leaders, Head of Development, and CTO (technical director) is clear.
Your fundamental task is to determine how you want to grow, outline the appropriate route, delve into the study of general principles, and read stories about the experience of other successful specialists in these areas.
How to further upgrade your skills, tips, and advanced training courses.
If you feel like you’ve outlived yourself in the position of Junior and it’s time to move on, it’s worth moving forward.
Try to take on and work with some significant projects, so there will be an opportunity to gain new and useful experience, and in the process, managers can pay attention to your efforts, which will additionally add bonuses to your piggy bank. Take on more complex projects and try to solve them yourself. Find yourself a mentor. This may just be a more experienced work colleague who can prompt or direct you, and share good advice at the right time.
Also, to move to a new level and develop new knowledge, it is worth taking refresher courses. Full-stack programming courses at DAN.IT will help you expand your horizons and upgrade your existing knowledge and skills on the way to a new professional level. Mentors in DAN.IT will accompany you throughout the journey, taking into account your existing background and career goals.