How “Senior” Software Engineers are Different

This is an interesting article by @DanCast that attempts to answer a long-standing question: What does “Senior” entail in the role of “Senior” Software Engineer? A must read for any aspiring (senior) software engineer.

Dan Dreams of Coding

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the difference between the journeyman and master years of software engineering, how you move from one to the other, and how one might accelerate growth. As part of this process, a more fundamental question has come up – what does it even mean to be a “senior” software engineer (SSE)? Put aside titles for a second – there are plenty of “Senior Software Engineers” who aren’t worth the business cards their titles are written on, and we could quibble over whether we should be talking about “Senior” or “Principal” engineers. But really, what we’re trying to do is to describe what mastery looks like for a software engineer. This post is a stab at an answer.


An SSE knows her tools. She has a deep understanding of her OS, command line, utilities, and IDE, as well as the platform the software will…

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