Software Engineering Levels

What are the differences between junior, senior, and lead engineers different? Junior vs. Senior developer?

Junior engineers are expected to solve complex problems with guidance. They need practical experience to get better at problem-solving. They're not yet fluent in coding but are expected to get better at it, too.

Senior engineers are expected to solve complex business problems. They are already fluent in coding skills and understand it's all about problem-solving. They know that coding is one of the tools used to solve actual problems. The focus shifts from tools, libraries, and frameworks to business. They don't only know about coding, but they also know about software design and architecture. They can design systems that will last long and keep maintenance costs low. Senior engineers take ownership, mentor others, and communicate with other teams to achieve business goals. Your team needs to perform at its best? That's also a problem for you to solve; it's not only about coding. The goal is to make the team a better place.

Lead engineers are expected to solve complex business problems and comprehensively understand the business. They should create an open space where other developers can freely discuss and contribute to the business. They're also expected to develop initiatives to improve business and technical quality. They observe the other teams, understand their processes, and take steps to improve them. They join teams performing poorly and leave those teams functioning at their best, making their own presence obsolete.

Regardless of your level, you're expected to solve complex problems. You're more than just a bridge between the software world and product. You're an integral part of the product development cycle. You are supposed to do both discovery and delivery. You're not just solving computer problems; you're solving human problems. Computers don't have problems like buying a flight ticket, booking a hotel room, booking a taxi, or finding a nearby plumber. Those are the actual problems we're solving. We can only contribute to smoothing these processes if we understand the problems and the people for whom we are solving them.

To advance in your career, try to understand business and other stakeholders. Fixing code problems alone won't achieve that. You need to get out of your shell and take ownership. Help make the product a little better than it was yesterday.

Doing what you're expected to do is not the best way to get a promotion. You're supposed to do exceptional for a while to prove that you're ready for the next level!