When Upskilling Goes Right: Growing Developers in Your Company

What does a typical career trajectory for developers look like? What can companies expect of a junior developer, mid-level developer, senior developer, and beyond? Moreover, how can companies help developers move along their career trajectories?

Companies across the country and in all types of industries depend on their developer talent, so it’s essential that they know how to nurture and grow these employees. In this article, we’ll follow a developer’s typical career cycle and discuss what companies can do to strengthen developers throughout their careers.

From Junior to Mid-Level Developer

After going through a competitive coding bootcamp, graduates are qualified to enter the workforce as junior developers despite having little to no real-world software development experience.

Junior developers should have a basic understanding of application and database services, the expected application lifecycle, as well as the ability to write simple scripts. Their days will mainly focus on writing code assigned to them, not solving complex problems or creating project plans or overarching designs. If junior developers run into issues or tools they have never used, they will rely on more senior developers until they internalize the necessary skills.

Although developers at this level may seem to vary in their aptitudes, it’s important to remember that what junior developers lack isn’t technical knowledge, but simply the opportunity to apply that knowledge. Once junior developers gain a couple of years of experience, they are able to tackle more difficult systems challenges and will be on their way to becoming mid-level developers (or simply “developers”). After working on a few projects, they’ll be more adept at creating applications and writing more complex code.

From Mid-Level to Senior Developer

As developers transition from mid-level to senior developer, they’ll be able to create entire applications and write complex code on their own. They should also have a thorough understanding of application services, application lifecycle development, and databases.

Developers in mid-level and senior positions often take on informal leadership roles with junior developers, such as mentoring, answering questions, and helping to troubleshoot difficult coding issues. These developers will also likely be in more meetings than junior developers as they communicate with senior management to receive feedback, talk through problems, establish priorities, and make suggestions.

Some developers prefer writing code and programming rather than management positions, so they may stay in senior developer roles for some time (or forever). However, others may use their tenure as senior developers as a stepping-stone to higher positions in a company.

Beyond Senior Developer

Higher-level positions that some senior developers may grow into include technical architect, lead developer, software development manager, development team lead, director, VP, or even chief technology officer (CTO).

In addition to the hard skills of computer programming, these positions require soft skills to be able to communicate with and manage people. All the technological knowledge in the world won’t help if developers in senior roles can’t lead a team and manage projects effectively. According to the Simple Programmer, here are some soft skills you should help your developers cultivate:

  • Work ethic and ability to focus
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Teamwork
  • Ability to take criticism
  • Empathy with colleagues and clients
  • Approachability and accessibility
  • Perseverance in the face of obstacles

How to Grow Developers in Their Careers

So how can you help your employees advance from junior to senior developer and beyond? And just as important, how can you retain them as they grow in their knowledge and skills?

Upskilling is the ticket.

By investing in your developers with upskilling programs, you’ll show them that you’re invested in their growth. This is especially important in today’s work environment, given that most millennials are more interested in growth opportunities than strictly pay or financial perks.

Having upskilling opportunities also means that when you need to fill an open position, you’ll be able to promote from within your organization instead of hiring someone who doesn’t know your company or its culture.

Get Help With Upskilling

The Software Guild partners with companies to upskill their employees, to help developers grow in their careers and help employers retain valuable talent. We’ll help standardize coding and programming methodologies and best practices for your company while ensuring your team has the skills to build software and is up to date with both emerging and new technologies. Click here to learn how we can help your company succeed.