Recently, I’ve written an article about some signs of an inexperienced developer. Just like you can recognize inexperienced developers by their habits the same applies to senior developers.

Opposed to what you might think being a senior developer doesn’t solely have to do with years of experience. Some developers manage to get to the senior level in 3 years while others manage to do it in 10 years — and some will never reach the senior level. It’s perfectly possible for a senior developer to have fewer years of experience than a developer who hasn’t reached the level of senior yet.

What it comes down to is the skill that you have. Not only coding skill, because being a senior developer comes with much more than just writing code. Here are five signs that tell you if someone is a senior developer.


Coding is usually the first skill that comes to mind when you think about a senior developer. This makes sense from a less experienced developer’s point of view. Less experienced developers usually have fairly straightforward tasks that are limited to fixing bugs and implementing features. Most of the time all they do is writing code so from their perspective a senior developer has to be a true coding genius.

Even though senior developers know how to write clean code they also know there’s much more that should be taken into account. A senior developer knows how to implement design patterns, can make architectural decisions, has the ability to write proper tests, and keeps security and performance in mind.

Although senior developers need to have a good understanding of how code is written this is certainly not the only sign of a senior developer. You could even argue that great coding skills aren’t the main reason a developer gets the senior title.


The senior developer is the to-go-to person whenever you’re stuck. You’ll often see the senior developer mentor less experienced or new team members.

This mentorship comes in various forms. A less experienced developer can walk to the desk of the senior developer to ask for help. But another, informal, way of mentorship could be a code review. Whenever the less experienced developer finishes a task a code review gets done by the senior developer. The discussions that emerge and the feedback that the less experienced developer receive will help them improve a lot.

But not only could you ask the senior developer for help whenever you’re stuck. The senior developer should also be able to answer questions regarding the business and clients.

As a senior developer you lead others or others look to you for guidance

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5 Signs of a Senior Developer
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