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how to become senior programmer?

by Anonymous Monk
on Dec 03, 2007 at 06:35 UTC ( #654511=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??
Anonymous Monk has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

can you suggest how to become senior programmer?

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: how to become senior programmer?
by dwu (Monk) on Dec 03, 2007 at 06:54 UTC

    Reading a lot. Doing. Practising. Doing some more. Joining a project. Contributing. Debugging. A few starts:

    Go forth and code.

Re: how to become senior programmer?
by Corion (Pope) on Dec 03, 2007 at 07:01 UTC

    A senior programmer is three to five years longer in the business than a programmer, and gets paid more.

    A junior programmer gets paid less than a programmer, and is less long in the business as well.

Re: how to become senior programmer?
by rjbs (Pilgrim) on Dec 03, 2007 at 13:55 UTC
    You must eat the heart of a senior programmer.
      I have to ++ this node because it is true. It requires mad skillz to even attempt. Once you can prove your might against the established senior programmers, they MUST accept you into their ranks. If not, eat another heart. It took me a few hearts until they acquiesced, but in the end, I got what I wanted.

      I find eating the hearts raw in front of others has a greater effect than bringing along a hotplate and making a sautee, but the taste of raw heart might make you gag the first couple of times.
      I thought it was the brain. That's where the smarts are.

      s**lil*; $*=join'',sort split q**; s;.*;grr; &&s+(.(.)).+$2$1+; $; = qq-$_-;s,.*,ahc,;$,.=chop for split q,,,reverse;print for($,,$;,$*,$/)

        But also the Prions. You wouldn't want to get Mad COBOL Disease, now, would you?

        If God had meant us to fly, he would *never* have given us the railroads.
            --Michael Flanders

Re: how to become senior programmer?
by Fletch (Chancellor) on Dec 03, 2007 at 14:51 UTC

    Learn to program and move to a Spanish speaking country.

    Oop, that's how to become a señor programmer . . . never mind.

    The cake is a lie.
    The cake is a lie.
    The cake is a lie.

      I'm almost embarrassed that I found that amusing. Almost. Lord, I loves me a stupid pun.

      Some may find that amusing others not so much. Maybe by Spanish speaking countries you ment Mexico, that's probably the only one you ever heard of. But there are other countries in South America that have very good coders. For example, there's one country with 2.6m people which produces more software per person than the US or any other country in the Americas. My advice, don't move to that country.

        Apart from your apparent lack of sense of humor there's one more problem I have with your post. Which one??? According to WolframAlpha the only country in the americas that has aproximately that number of inhabitants is Jamaica with 2.7m ... alas ... that's not a Spanish speaking country. Maybe you meant Uruguay with 3.35m or Panama with 3.4m? I don't think you meant Trinidad and Tobago with mere 1.3m.

        BTW, how do you measure the amount of software???

        Enoch was right!
        Enjoy the last years of Rome.

Re: how to become senior programmer?
by moritz (Cardinal) on Dec 03, 2007 at 08:46 UTC
    "Senior programmer" is not a degree like a PhD or something.

    Basically when your job description says "senior programmer", you are one. There's no binding definition.

Re: how to become senior programmer?
by fenLisesi (Priest) on Dec 03, 2007 at 07:31 UTC
    Basically, you need to stay alive. I know of only one case where an exceptionally talented and knowledgeable acquaintance with open source credentials started work as a senior programmer (in fact, CTO in this case) at a well funded, well backed startup. In larger companies, that would be much less likely. During your time as a (?:junior)? programmer, don't do anything particularly stupid.
      Having joined both small and large companies as a "senior programmer" (or "senior developer"), you now know of two.

      My criteria for good software:
      1. Does it work?
      2. Can someone else come in, make a change, and be reasonably certain no bugs were introduced?
        Sure, I wouldn't be surprised one bit. You are one of the five or ten monks here with that very special something. I may have misstated my thoughts, though. Once you get one position as a senior programmer at a respectable place, the second one should be easier. What I think is rare, as this guy has done, as well as you and probably several other monks here, is that he started as a lead after his second year in college, never having worked before. I would just guess that it is rare for an 18 year old who has never worked before to start as a senior programmer at IBM, say. Cheers.
Re: how to become senior programmer?
by Gavin (Chancellor) on Dec 03, 2007 at 12:44 UTC
Re: how to become senior programmer?
by dragonchild (Archbishop) on Dec 03, 2007 at 14:07 UTC
    The senior is the guy who drives the design decisions. Best way to do that is to practice driving design decisions. I learned how to do that doing CPAN projects. I relearn it every time I take on a project. It's a journey, not a destination.

    My criteria for good software:
    1. Does it work?
    2. Can someone else come in, make a change, and be reasonably certain no bugs were introduced?
Re: how to become senior programmer?
by Your Mother (Chancellor) on Dec 03, 2007 at 22:39 UTC

    Spend a lot of time here on this site just reading. Seriously consider taking any advice to heart even when it's painful or it feels wrong. There are a lot of cats here who already made the trip and all its incumbent mistakes, and perspective adjustments, and they're willing to help you skip as many of the hard knocks as you want to skip.

    When I got "senior" in a programming job title the first time I almost told them to downgrade me because I know so many here whose skills easily trump mine. It's not humility, I just finally got past the simplicity of Perl -- because it is on the surface so simple and facile -- to see the tracts I didn't really have a handle on. It turned out I *was* the senior Perl guy in the office and a lot of it was just from design patterns, practices, and habits I picked up here.

Re: how to become senior programmer?
by TOD (Friar) on Dec 03, 2007 at 09:42 UTC
    what about just growing older? ;-)
    masses are the opiate for religion.
      Ah, turn 65 and become a Senior Programmer? 8-) (Like the Marines, there are no former Programmers!)
Re: how to become senior programmer?
by Cubes (Pilgrim) on Dec 03, 2007 at 14:26 UTC
    Start your own business, then put whatever title you'd like on your business cards.

    Seriously, I'd echo what others have said: read, write code, debug (your own code and others'), contribute to group projects, participate in discussion groups (online and in person).

    You need to learn not only a programming language (learning several is even better), but also how to design a large piece of software, how to plan and oversee a team project, how to find and fix problems in code and in design, how to gather requirements from the people who will use your software and communicate instructions and solutions back to them, and how to deal with managers and others who want more done, cheaper, faster, and with fewer people.

    You can read about some of these things, but others require real-world experience to master.

      That's not a "Senior Programmer" or a "Senior Developer", that is called a Software Architect or a Solutions Architect in other cases, which is, in my opinion, much more important than a Senior Programmer. I really think, that the difference between a Senior and a Junior is the elegance in code and how easy is the code to be changed/improved by someone else. A very notorious difference is the effective coding time (time vrs. errors vrs. non functional requirements) and the number of lines to do the same task. Best practices in design and coding is the key! how fast you can learn and how good you can do it. The senior comes with the time; the time needed depends on you. Solutions Architecture's area is a much more interesting area, where coding phase is just that, a phase. A Solutions/Software architect is the brain in the back, who, most of the times, does not code one single line.
Re: how to become senior programmer?
by msk_0984 (Friar) on Dec 03, 2007 at 14:33 UTC
    As all the above monks said by practising more, doing different kinds good projects.

    Also the most important thing I feel is a senior programmer should be having the best methodolgies to be implemented on a module or a project with the most effective and feasible solutions.

    Also has many say experience is the word every one calls for there mistakes.

    Sushil Kumar
Re: how to become senior programmer?
by perlfan (Curate) on Dec 03, 2007 at 20:43 UTC
    Code, eat, sleep, code, eat, sleep, etc... Nurture your desire to learn and ability to think of cool apps to write. Find a language you love to code in (presumably Perl :) and always seek to learn from others. Most importantly, don't let your day job get in the way of this.

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