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> Understood as senior: Communication skills matter most.

can you give examples ?






I can try.

Teaching juniors can be more productive than coding. Being 10x by yourself is less good than 3x-ing a whole team. Even better, teach everyone to be as fast & good as you. Good teaching requires good communication and building trust.

Understanding priorities and goals is absolutely critical to making good choices while programming. Writing good code under reasonable deadlines in an organization necessarily involves a lot of discussion about what constitutes an acceptable solution, what doesn’t, how long it might take, how long is too long, what features are nice but not necessary.

Over-engineering, for example, is extremely common, and is caused in part by not correctly balancing goals and priorities with time budgets. It’s usually a symptom of mis-communication.

Can’t even count how many times I’ve seen a programmer go off the rails building stuff that wasn’t asked for, only to have a meeting several weeks later that invalidated weeks of work when the goals were clarified. (That includes me, btw.)

Making large changes and leading a group of programmers often requires a lot of convincing and rallying work along with the technical planning, sometimes much more than you’d expect. It also requires the ability to put yourself aside and allow others to contribute to the design, even when you think your technical solution is superior.

Getting promoted is, in my experience, most commonly a process of demonstrating to others that you listen well, organize well, work well with others, get things done under deadlines, understand and report what juniors are doing to management, budget well, internalize the organizational goals and contribute meaningfully to meeting those goals.

In short, it’s because teamwork is important.


Alright, I just failed to parse what communication could mean. I see it clearly now, leadership, team work, social skills, they do indeed matter a ton.

I once worked with a brilliant engineer. He was from Hong Kong. He struggled to express his ideas in English. We tended to let him show us in code instead.

Sometimes this worked. Sometimes it really, really didn't. It also meant we had a very difficult time discussing larger architectural questions with him or giving him useful feedback on his code.


I’ve recently had a similar problem, only in my case I’m the foreigner who can’t speak the local language. It’s fine except in meetings.

Junior dev me: meetings are a waste of time.

Senior dev me: meetings are the steering wheel, the developers are the engine (https://kitsunesoftware.wordpress.com/2018/01/29/utility-fun...)


Well that's half cultural, I meant in a context of shared native tongue. Now international work does create lots of hurdles because you can't translate things above casual smalltalk. I guess that's where maths could help.

Articulating requirements or architecture to either stakeholders or juniors is key to being able to actually do your job as a senior (whether that's coding yourself, code reviews, planning, interviews, etc etc).

If nothing else, it is a godsend when talking to PMs. A junior may be like "this code sucks, it is too complex!!" where a more senior can be more like "This code is not written in a good way. If we had some time to rewrite these particular parts, we could provide these features to the users".

Being able to couple value to what you do, or for that matter, to what might not be worth pursuing, is a very good skill. And be sure to not often say no to a PM asking for a feature, but rather give an alternative "doing that is quite complex and might take us half a year. How about we do this other thing that gets us 90% of the way there, but only take a week to implement?"


There's no hard-and-fast rule on this but generally junior projects are isolated where you may only have one stakeholder. Growing into a more senior role, your actions generally have greater breadth that affect more teams/clients/orgs. Technical chops are worthy but I can guarantee that your stakeholders would rather have amazing communication for things like progress, deployment, etc. than how efficient or beautifully written the project is.

It's mainly used when discussing task and making architectural / design decision. Junior usually talk in techincal / implementation terms. While senior usually talk in broader / general / business term.

Moreover junior usually have hard time expressing techincal problem.




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