There are different parameters to determine the level of experience and expertise of a programmer. For example, some are based on years of experience, the number of languages mastered, the number of projects worked on, and so on. In this post, we will discuss the differences between a junior programmer and a senior programmer.
1. Years of Experience
A junior programmer is a professional who has less than two years of experience. If he/she has more than two years of experience, then he/she can be considered a mid-level programmer. On the other hand, after 10 years, he/she can be called a senior programmer. It should be noted that depending on how hard you work, the terms could be shortened and you could reach that title much earlier.
2. Technical Knowledge
Senior programmers are expected to have a set of skills that allow them to identify which are the most appropriate tools in each project according to the client’s need. They look at a task and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the different types of languages, frameworks, etc. This helps them choose the best tool for that project.
However, you can’t expect a junior programmer to do that. This does not mean that they are bad at their job, simply that they have not yet acquired that knowledge. Therefore, they will not necessarily choose the best tool. What is common is that they will choose the one they know.
3. The Way They Write Code
The real talent of programming is that you can communicate with people and interact with computers, since in the end all the code is going to be compiled with zeros and ones.
One of the main differences between a junior programmer and a senior programmer is the way you write code. The code has to make sense to other programmers who will work with it in the future. An advanced programmer will write his code in a way that someone who did not write it can understand and use it as quickly as possible. With this system, other functions can be added or bugs can be fixed without wasting too much time.
This is the big difference between beginners and experts. The intermediate programmer is in a gray area in this respect, since he programs functionally but is not yet able to be understood by another programmer without help. However, he is in the process of becoming an expert, creating increasingly cleaner and more explanatory output.
Writing code like an expert is something that only comes with experience, as a mid-level programmer must have gone through full-cycle software development at least once. Therefore, not only has he had to review the code of advanced programmers for later use, but he has also had to make his own code readable for junior programmers to use.
In this way, it is very likely that they have made quite a few mistakes, but also that they have learned how to code properly.
4. Programming Knowledge
It is evident that an advanced programmer has more accumulated knowledge than a mid-level or junior programmer. Therefore, the beginner should study in depth in terms of pattern design, architecture, automated testing, operation, security, among other elements, to reduce the gap with respect to the mid-level programmer and a senior one.
It should be noted that while it is important to know how things should be done throughout the software development cycle, this does not make you an advanced programmer. Know-how is a factor, but having done it over and over again is what makes you an expert in the field.
5. Other Differentiating Factors
Junior programmers are usually in charge of simple tasks with low impact on the overall progress of projects, and do not do any software architecture design.
Neither do mid-level programmers design the solutions, they only perform specific tasks. The difference is that mid-level programmers do not require as much supervision when the tasks assigned to them are routine.
In contrast, senior programmers are prepared to develop software from start to finish independently. But it should be clear that they will also consult on some aspects or ask for help from colleagues, since, above all, programming is a team effort.
The difference between the senior and junior programmer is that the senior programmer knows how to ask the right and necessary questions and how to deal with the solutions. Mid-level programmers can ask the right questions about routine tasks, but need help with more complex tasks.
In this way, the experienced programmer is never totally lost as to which path to take and knows how to implement each answer to his or her questions.
In contrast, a junior programmer should not be expected to ask the right questions to get out of a problem while programming. Since they have not faced the objective problems and are inexperienced in terms of code handling, they need to lean on the more senior ones and get their task out successfully.
We have gone through the main differences between a junior programmer and a senior programmer so that you can identify these types of programming professionals and what to expect from each.