Choosing whether to take on a Junior or Senior Developer for your company is never an easy decision. Many factors come into play during the recruitment phrase and these vary from one company to another and from one sector to another. A manager, who needs to decide which kind of figure to invest in, should have in-depth knowledge of what his business really needs at that specific time.
Differences between Junior and Senior developers
If we consider the differences between Junior and Senior developers, the first thing which comes to mind is their years of experience in the programming sector (developers are normally considered senior when they have accumulated at least ten years of experience). Although this is a determining factor, it is certainly not the only one which distinguishes a Senior from a Junior.
The ideal senior developer is also equipped with leadership and mentoring skills, must be able to listen and empathise with subordinates and act as a key point of reference in constructive interaction. He or she must also possess excellent communication skills, while being able to adapt their language depending on who they are speaking to.
Among the Junior developer’s strong points are their youthful curiosity and strong receptive skills. He or she can be considered a sort of ‘blank page’ ready to be coloured and enhanced by knowledge and skills.
Is it better to choose a Junior or a Senior developer?
There are some other characteristics which may prove crucial during the recruitment phase and have more value in terms of benefit to the company, even outweighing the importance of many years’ experience.
A Senior developer undoubtedly seems the safer option thanks to their skills consolidated by experience, but it can also be the case that the development and problem solving methodologies used for many years (without any form of innovation) may risk becoming ‘fossilised’ in the professional’s mental processes, thereby limiting their versatility.
In the IT sector, being limited in this way is a serious issue, since it risks that opportunities for faster, more modern and potentially more efficient solutions will be missed. If the manager’s purpose is to innovate and boost their business by exploiting the potential of IT, the choice of a Junior developer is probably more appropriate.
Junior professionals are generally younger, therefore more open-minded and susceptible to new ideas, with a constant thirst for knowledge and a desire to try out new solutions. Such individuals, if flanked by a mentor who knows how to channel their positive energy, can turn out to be precious fuel for the company’s journey to success.
Competences to look for in Senior and Junior developers
The choice between a Junior or a Senior developer is determined by the needs and objectives that a company wishes to achieve. Below is a list of the main characteristics that a manager should look for in these figures in order to maximise their benefit to the business.
Ideal characteristics for a Senior Developer:
- At least 10 years’ experience in software development;
- High level technical skills in the programming languages most used by the company;
- Leadership and mentoring skills;
- Excellent communication skills;
- Patience and open-mindedness.
Ideal characteristics for a Junior Developer:
- Desire to learn;
- Imagination and creativity;
- Excellent reasoning and problem solving skills;
- Communication skills;
- Knowledge of several (preferably recent) programming languages;
- Positivity and enthusiasm.
Generally speaking, these are the qualities that both professional figures should possess in order to be outstanding in their respective roles. During the interview, it is important to be able to identify if these qualities are present, in order to determine whether the candidate has the potential to become a key staff member.
Both figures can and must bring tangible benefits to the company. According to how the company wishes to work and which figures may be lacking in its workforce, choosing between a senior or a junior developer will be much easier and quicker with the help of the tips mentioned above.
Translated by Joanne Beckwith