Coming up with a definition who a senior developer is may be impossible due to the fact that for every person this will mean different things. However, there are some key qualities and capabilities that make senior developer a senior developer.
1. Decision making
One of the roles of a senior developer is to be the head of a development team. This means they are the ones making the most crucial decisions starting from choosing the right technology for a given project, estimation of time and resources needed to finish an iteration, negotiation or termination of contracts, picking the right team members, etc. Good decision-making skills are what every senior developer should possess.
This point goes hand in hand with the first one. Senior developers often take responsibility for their less experienced peers. Since they are the ones making decisions they are the ones answering for them to the client. They are also responsible for a number of project-specific tasks like keeping documentation, designing, code reviews and testing, just to name a few.
3. A mentor
With the position of a senior developer apart from responsibility for the younger team members there also comes the need to mentor them. Senior developers are the ones who help solve problems of younger peers and are present throughout their development path. A senior developer is somebody constantly bringing benefits, someone who makes people around better while delivering business value. It is also important to be able to explain programming concepts to those on non-technical positions.
Senior developers are sometimes also defined as somebody who has knowledge and understanding of more than one programming language. The infinite number of hours dedicated to writing code and software development usually results in mastering more than one technology. That diversity also shows in the way seniors learn new things. They look for opportunities to speak to people in communities and explore new things in a non-conventional way. They know what to focus on and how to make learning the most enjoyable.
Some people like to convert the position of a senior developer into numbers, more specifically hours spent on programming. This is rather hard since every company counts it quite differently. Online we can find that a senior developer is somebody who worked for over 10,000 hours on software development since it is the number of hours a human body needs to master something. However, it should be remembered that although skills count, they are not making a senior developer altogether.
6. Soft skills
The position of a senior developer calls not only for exquisite programming skills but also for so-called soft skills. This means the person who becomes a senior developer is great at communicating with people, working in a team, negotiating with clients. They give detailed feedback and offer support in many fields. Seniors are confident but humble and are able to work under pressure. What is more, they are eager to participate in meetups, give speeches, write articles and share the most interesting information with the world.
All in all, we can say that a senior developer is someone who is capable of managing the entire software development life cycle, end to end. Somebody who can self manage a project while providing help for others. Senior developers are able to design, code and test a system. They dedicated their lives to mastering programming and are absolutely crazy about it.