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Time to prove it 🏆

Maybe it is a sign of me getting old gaining seniority as a software developer, but I’ve come to reflect a lot more on my professional contribution. Since this is a new year, I’ll allow myself some introspection.

Personal reflections #

I’ve been writing software since I was eleven years old. While the first few years obviously cannot be compared to professional experience as a grownup, I’ve had a lot of time to practice. I’ve written a lot of code, both good and bad.

I think that I’ve formed a pretty good picture of how to develop software by now. I have formed strong opinions on a lot of topics (right or wrong). I have also been involved in a lot of aspects of software development, from defining the product to operations.

Most of the time, I am in a role where I’m expected to contribute more than as “just” an individual contributor. I often make architectural decisions, mentor other developers, and talk to customers and other stakeholders.

I’m also pretty good at arguing. Especially against things. But arguing against things are boring in the end. I want to argue for something.

Over time, this has lead to the feeling that it is “time to prove it”. I can hear a voice inside myself saying “If you are so smart, and know so much, show me what you have actually contributed!” I’m asking myself if I “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk”.

Following through #

For various reasons, many of the projects I have been working on during my career have been prematurely ended or fundamentally changed direction. The reasons have varied (including management decision and company mergers), but the fact that I haven’t gotten to see them to conclusion remains.

It would be quite easy for me to blame these outcomes on others (management, product owner, or whatever), and that might be true. But I cannot help thinking about whether I could have made something different to change the outcome.

I have enjoyed working on these projects, and have done some good work here and there. But at the end of the day, I want to be effective, not just write code. I want the things I build to actually matter. I don’t need to take over the world, but having some effect to someone would be nice. 😊

Finally, I don’t want to just do what my manager or product owner tells me. I want to help my manager understand what they really want to build, and then build that. In fact, I think that my job as a senior developer is to help my employer produce the best results, in any way I can. Sometimes that is through writing code, sometimes it is through suggesting ideas or asking questions.

Conclusion #

Wrapping up, my goal for this year (and all the other ones) is to make impactful contributions and guide projects to completion. “Time to prove it” for me means creating a meaningful difference, not just through code, but in the entire scope of the projects I’m involved in.

Andreas Eliasson : And sometimes it is more important to pick the right project, than to change the course of the current one.
glyn : Another aspect of a senior developer's impact is in growing other team members. A project might fail -- and interesting projects often do -- but the team members move on. So it's just as important to invest time and effort developing people (including leading by example and doing excellent work) as it is to influence the current project. The ultimate impact will probably be bigger and longer-lasting too.