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Ask HN: Example of resumes for first time Senior SWE position?
12 points by senatorobama 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 8 comments
I'm a '14 graduate trying to get a pay bump by stepping into a Senior SWE position. Does anyone have any examples of how I can translate my experience in 'BigCorp' to something that would be compelling to the outside world?

Look for force-multiplying effects you've contributed to. That is, focus on the things that you've done that have increased the effectiveness of both your immediate team and the larger product organization.

Demonstrate that you're already excelling at the responsibilities of a Sr. Engineer: You're taking ownership of new projects and crushing it. You're mentoring other engineers. You're making effective product decisions based on dynamic business constraints. Cite examples.

Point to some projects and explain your contributions in terms of customer value. I find that explaining the problems you're solving through a business lens is an effective way to signal that you can quickly grasp new business challenges and run with them. Employers are looking for people they can trust from Day 1.

Hope this helps :)

You need experience no resume

You saying 4 years is not enough for a senior position?

Not the OP but I didn't pick up the senior title till I was 8 years in. I don't know you so you might be _that_ good but there's a lot more to being a senior dev than just being really good at crushing code. A lot of your job is unblocking other teammates and generally rising the productivity of your team as a whole. In other words you are a "10x developer" by virtue of what you do for others rather than just what you yourself can output on your own. There's also stuff that comes from hard earned experience such as _not_ picking x hot new framework (which will likely be abandoned by its maintainer 6 months from now) or deciding when to buy vs build (I've worked with developers who literally tried to rewrite Apples layout engine...). I am not saying you aren't ready but I've not personally encountered anyone 4 years into their career that was.

As for an example resume, I am one of the people tasked with reviewing senior developer resumes at my job and here is my advice: One. Page. Seriously. Keep it to one. You will stand out right away by virtue of that. Beyond that we really only care about your relevant skills and recent experience so put an array of your skills front and center and then follow it with a good amount of detail about your current/last position. The rest you can be pretty sparse on because it only gets a glance.

Best of luck to you.

There’s senior in title and “truly” senior. Senior titles are tossed around pretty loosely, but everyone knows who the truly senior people are, when you work with them. They know where the bug is without even reading the code, they drive on features and projects with only the necessay guidance, their code is simple and works. They lead when they need to, and follow when they don’t.

To add to this, I've known senior developers that have just turned 21, and developers with a decade of experience that have yet to have a senior title. On the face of it, the latter is usually the stronger dev.

The reason why the former has had the senior title is down to industry knowledge. They're not the best developer in the room, but they have a mixture of:

* Getting shit done. The quality might not be great, and it might have been late, but they're still there, and they've been at the company while they've delivered something.

* Years in the business. They might not be an expert PHP developer, but they've worked with Drupal for 4 years, and the business is a Drupal shop. This tends to be the common one I see. A senior-level developer in one stack might crumble to pieces in another (source: I was a senior .NET dev, and I'm struggling with Ruby right now).

* Desire to talk. They attend every meetup, and are happy to talk and promote where possible. They've given dozens of talks at meetups and conferences, even though individually they're no better than their peers.

How can we actually answer that? We don’t have any idea what your experience looks like, what you’ve accomplished, or how you work with others.

I work with a guy who has about 4 years of experience and is very senior as a Rails engineer. He has a very deep knowledge of Rails, Rails application architecture, and how to manage and maintain Rails systems. Is he senior? Absolutely, at Rails. Would he be Senior in anything else? Nope.

I know another engineer with a Masters and 12+ years of experience. He has a very wide breadth of knowledge but very little deep. Is he senior? Not even close. But he can pick up a lot of technologies and at least get by ok.

Seniority has absolutely zero to do with number of years you’ve been in this business. Find a senior position you want and try to tie your actual existing skills and experience to it.


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