Challenges of a Recently Hired Senior Developer

Introduction

Have you ever been excited for a new job and then realised you’d messed up once you joined? Maybe you have, if not, I welcome you to read this to learn how to avoid it. If you have been in those shoes then read along too and share your experience in the comments, I’d love to read them.

a. Everything is New

You quickly realise that this is a whole new ball game. Despite your knowledge of the programming language in use, you do not recognise the specific frameworks that they are using. You are accustomed to a number of frameworks that all work in a very specific way. The suite of frameworks used here though is completely new and you are completely taken aback. It takes you a day to set up your development environment but not without having to consult with several people on exactly how to do it, none of whom seem to have time for anything other than their jobs.

b. No Design Documents

Despite the sea of change, you decide not to give up. You didn’t get this far by quitting every time things got hard did you? It’s time to demonstrate your grit. In no time, the Sprint has began and you have exactly two weeks to pick a feature from the backlog, come up with a design, discuss it with the front end person, discuss it with the scrum master, commit to certain deliverables, implement it, write automated tests for it (unit & integration), get your pull request reviewed and merged and then run it through QA and get it to the user support team (UAT).

c. Big ball of mud

It’s been a few months and by now you’ve figured out the architecture pattern behind this great system. You’ve bought courses and books to help you figure out a few of the frameworks but management is seriously displeased with you. You haven’t had one free weekend to yourself in the entire time you’ve been there. You’ve ghosted your friends and relatives. You’ve even uninstalled some social media apps. You have dedicated everything to proving that you belong, that you are indeed a senior developer and not a fraud. Despite all that, the team leader feels that you are lacking in nearly all of the skills needed in contributing effectively in the team. Their point is justified by your slow rate of delivery. Even you feel like a fraud at this point.

d. Obsessed with Speed of Delivery

Everything hurts, your back, your eyes, your shoulders. Sometimes you have trouble breathing when you push yourself too hard. The team leader is reporting that though you have improved, your skills are far below expected standards and management is starting to voice their concerns about your work.

e. We don’t do that here

Finally, one time, you get a feature that actually leverages your strengths. You implement it the way you’ve always done it — in a way that no one ever complains and your submit your pull request. You are happy with yourself. Finally something that didn’t knock the wind out of you and could be delivered on time.

Conclusion

I am sure by now you know how this ends. You get laid off because well, you are pulling the team down. Why would you keep pestering your teammates to show you how the system works? Are you a junior developer? Can you not read code? Do you really need that much hand-holding? No. You are simply not Senior developer material, this is their conclusion.

Writer | Software Engineer | Aspiring Machine Learning Engineer