How to Move From Junior to Senior Web Developer
Senior-level web developers are in high demand. These professionals are sought after for their ability to self-manage, prioritize tasks and provide guidance to junior web developers, and employers typically compete for their skills with attractive incentives.
So how do you transition from a junior to a senior web developer role? It’s important to plan out your journey with a focus on growth and learning. Remember, this is a major career milestone that will take time—and skills—to reach.
Be realistic about the time and effort that’s required to become a senior web developer. The journey is going to be challenging, but the reward will be well worth it. We’ve provided a step-by-step guide below to help you make this transition.
Junior to Senior Web Developer Roadmap
1) Define Your Goal
Imagine the furthest extent of what you think you can accomplish, and then set your goal a little further. It’s okay if it’s not your goal to become a Director of Web Design or Chief Software Engineer. It just has to be a big enough part of your life to justify the journey ahead. If the goal isn’t meaningful to you, then it won’t serve as useful motivation—especially when you’re tackling more challenging milestones.
2) Be Patient on Your Journey
Like any professional journey, becoming a senior-level web developer is an incremental process. At first, you’re going to start small, but each skill you master is one more step toward your ultimate goal. Naturally, some steps will be harder than others. At times, the hurdles involved may even seem insurmountable. But do not fear—so long as you keep your goal in mind, you will make progress.
As important as it is to look forward during your journey, it’s equally important that you take time to look back at when you started learning to code. On their own, the incremental steps you’re making may seem insignificant, but cumulatively, they add up to something larger. One day you might solve a vexing coding challenge. The next, you might unlock the secret to a difficult web design concept you’d previously struggled with. And before you know it, you’ll be further from the start of your journey than you are from the end.
Take time to remember where you were a day, a week, or a month ago. Remember when it took you weeks to learn Python? Remember what an ordeal it was to set up your first MySQL or MongoDB database? How simple does it seem to you now? Sustained effort inevitably leads to results, but in order to appreciate them, you have to look back on occasion.
4) Challenge Yourself to Try Something New
Taking on new challenges can be overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t have to be. If you approach the task of learning incrementally, first exploring, then challenging yourself and diving in, you’re going to make progress faster than you ever thought possible. As you move forward in your journey, don’t forget to keep challenging yourself and setting the bar a little higher each time.
5) Benchmark Your Skills
There will come a point that you will have been coding for a few months, or perhaps even a few years. During that time, take a moment to consider how far you’ve come. Look at your projects to date and congratulate yourself—you did that! Think of how difficult you would have considered such projects to be when you first started. If everything feels right, and you’re eager to experience that feeling again, then comes the most important step of all: thinking like a senior web developer.
6) Think Like a Senior Web Developer
6) Think Like a Senior Web Developer
If you want to be a senior web developer, then you’re going to need to master fundamental concepts. Go back to when you started learning to code and think of all the little details that didn’t quite make sense at first. This is the time to dive into those details and begin your pursuit.
Becoming a senior web developer is a wonderful and nuanced journey, and part of the joy is motivating others in their pursuit. This is why the best senior web developers can lead by example and set a standard for others to follow. And soon, you may be doing the same.
On long journeys, motivation makes all the difference. By setting and maintaining your goal, you’ll always have a reserve of motivation to draw upon, no matter how difficult the journey may become at times. And that is the key to becoming a senior web developer.
You may also be interested in our previous blog post with 5 Tips for Writing a Great Web Developer Resume.
The Online Coding Boot Camp at UT Austin is designed for a wide range of individuals that are interested in a career in web development. Discover how this program can help you reach your goal of becoming a Senior Web Developer.