Senior Developers have significant experience in software development and use their expertise and knowledge of the industry practices to perform various development tasks such as, coding, app development and web development. They often oversee projects and may specialize in a particular area of development or coding language. Senior Developers are sometimes referred to as Software Engineers.
Senior Developers tend to oversee and mentor junior developers on projects. They are usually the leader of software development projects, but often report to a program manager or software architect. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Software Developers, including Senior Developers, is expected to grow at an above average rate of 17 percent through 2024. This will add an estimated 186,600 jobs to this sector during this timeframe.
Senior Developer Duties and Responsibilities
Senior Developers’ duties and responsibilities will vary depending on the project being worked on and the company they are hired by. There are, however, several common primary duties for nearly all Senior Developers. A review of current job listings identified the following core tasks and responsibilities.
Senior Developers perform coding assignments. Depending on the size of the project the Senior Developer may be responsible for a large portion of coding or may have the work distributed between multiple developers. Senior Developers are also tasked with reviewing all code work for accuracy and functionality. There are many computer languages for coding and Senior Developers will need to become experts in one or more of these languages.
Design and Implement Software
Software Developers participate in the design phase of software projects. Some will actively create design plans, while others assist the Software Architect in planning and creating standards for the project. The implementation of the project is also a responsibility of the Senior Developer and will usually require coding and testing.
A large part of a Senior Developer’s day will be spent analyzing data. They may be asked to analyze coding segments or to analyze the plans and schematics of the application they are working on. Analysis is ongoing work that is performed throughout the entirety of a project so Senior Developers must be prepared for a lot of reading and writing.
Senior Developer Skills
Senior Developers must be technically savvy with a flair for creativity and innovation. They need to be able to work in high pressure environments and adhere to strict deadlines. Being a team player and having excellent communication skills also are important. In addition to these traits, employers look for applicants with the following skillsets.
Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Senior Developer with these core skills. If you want to work in this field, focus on the following.
- Broad and extensive knowledge of the software development process and its technologies
- Strong knowledge of computer languages, such as Java, C++, PHP, and SQL
- Strong background in coding
- Strong knowledge of user interfaces
- Strong knowledge of HTML technologies and web frameworks
- Experience with database creation and maintenance
Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your skillset and broaden your career options.
- Experience with developing mobile optimized websites and apps
Senior Developer Resources
There are more resources available on the Web for those interested in working as a Senior Developer. We searched the internet and found these links full of learning opportunities and the latest industry news.
On the Web
Software Developer’s Journal – Staying up-to-date on the latest technologies and trends in the field are vital. Software Developer’s Journal provides downloadable issues of their journal packed with great articles and editorials. They also have a blog on their site that is worth perusing.
Software Magazine – This site provides free access to its magazine as well as a section devoted to news & events.
Jason Roell – This software engineer consultant writes numerous posts about different aspects of software development.
Steve Burrows – Mr. Burrows is a director of technology and writes about the latest trends and hot topics in the world of technology.
Brian Thomson – This development manager writes technical reviews and opinion pieces on new technologies and latest trends in software development.
@gurlylaura – Laura Braymer is a Senior Developer whose Twitter feed is constantly updated with the latest news and industry-related memes.
@phostershop – Foster Brereton is a Senior Software Developer for Adobe and works primarily on Photoshop applications. Follow his feed to see all the latest improvements and issues with Photoshop.
Senior Developer Books
Soft Skills: The Software Developer’s Life Manual – A truly unique text that looks at a Software Developer’s life from the stance of a life coach. Author, John Sonmez works as both a Developer and a life coach and writes about finding a balance between a busy and often fast-paced job and everyday life.
Being Geek: The Software Developer’s Career Handbook – Less of a handbook and more of a memoir, author Michael Lopp writes about his experiences as a Senior Developer in Silicon Valley. It provides wonderful insights into some of the less than glamorous aspects of the job as well as provides humorous anecdotes. A fun read for Senior Developers.
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers – IEEE established in 1884 for the burgeoning electrical industry, has grown into an organization with over 430,000 members worldwide composed of scientists, engineers, software developers and computer science employees. Their large network of members enjoy career development, technical information, research, and industry news from this organization.
Computing Technology Industry Association – Founded in 1982, CompTIA provides certification and business credentials, IT education, networking opportunities and resources to those in the information technology field.
Association for Computing Machinery – Founded in 1947, ACM is the largest educational and scientific computing society in the world. It boasts over 100,000 members worldwide and is a wonderful resource for anyone in the computing industry.