Senior Developers: How To Deal With Them?

Hey, what’s up? John Sonmez from simpleprogrammer.com. I got a question today that—it’s more of
a rant. It’s not really a question, but you know what? I’m going to answer it anyway. I’m going to address it. This question or this rant says that, “Seniors
that are not seniors.” I’ll read a couple of excerpts from it, but,
essentially, the asker or the ranter goes on to say, “I’ve been at a company for a couple
years now and I’m only starting to realize that senior developers seem to only be seniors
by the amount of time they have been there. They always fall back on wanting to do the
old (decade old) or custom ways they are used to doing things when there are much more modern
practices.” So he goes on to give some examples of like
using dependency injection and then he goes on to say that—an additional info, more
ranting. He says that, “For me, it goes without saying
that to be a senior developer, you should be participating in personal growth of your
development skills. Otherwise, how do you do mentor your team?” So he’s feeling hamstrung because he’s got
all these new ideas and he’s studying, and he doesn’t necessarily have as much experience
as some of the senior developers, but he wants to do some of the modern practices he talked
about, hexagonal architecture, DDD, domain driven development, all this kind of things. Here’s the thing. You’re going to deal with this in the software
development world. You’re going to deal with this in any world,
but you’re going to have seniority, especially in larger companies, older companies, where
seniority is going to be by experience, by a number of years being there. You’ve probably heard people say that you
can be a developer with 10 years experience or you can be a developer with one year’s
worth of experience 10 times. That’s very true. It’s going to be true in just about any profession. I did this video that some people got really
upset about where I said that I could basically learn anything in 3 months. You can check that out and I talked about
how that I could basically get myself to the skill level of someone that might even have
10 years experience in doing something in just 3 months’ time simple because most people,
what they end up doing is they get one year of experience 10 times. This is just the default that you’re going
to have to realize. You got to, first of all, think in your head
that this is just how it’s going to be and expect that. Now, that doesn’t mean that—see, there’s
something that you should always try to do which is you should have expectations for
you. You should have your standards to be very
high, but your standards and expectations on other people to be very low because you
can’t control other people, but you can control you. So when you come in to a situation thinking
of that, you hold yourself accountable and to a higher standard. You as a senior developer or you as a developer,
you expect to have personal growth. You expect to increase your development skills. You expect to learn the newest and latest
technologies and to apply them as you can, but you don’t expect from other people that
same level of commitment because it’s just not going to be there and you’re going to
be disappointed most of the time. I also did a video that you might find useful. I can’t remember what I called this, but you
can check it out here. It’s basically about the dark side of software
development. It’s about how—it’s always going to be—it’s
never going to be the environment that you want it to be. I’ll try to find the video if we can here. Anyway, here’s my advice in this situation. Like I said, first of all, hold your standards
high, like I said already, but, in addition to that, what you need to do is not come from
a place of thinking that you know it all because there is another side to this coin which is
that we have a lot of fads that appear in the software development industry and sometimes
some of the new stuff that you think is the best stuff, it’s not robust. It hasn’t been time tested. It may fade away and next week there’s a new
fad. Even though you’re on the cutting edge, that
doesn’t mean that there’s not some wisdom from some of the developers that have been
around a long time. It also doesn’t mean that they’re not just
lazy and that they are not developing their skills. You got to balance that out. Don’t come from the position of thinking that
you know it all and that they’re just dumb and you’re just smarter and all this. Instead, come from a more humble position
where you’re holding yourself to high standards and you’re trying to do the best job that
you can and you’re applying what you’ve learned and what you know and lead by example. Even developer that are more senior than you
do things that are good, don’t preach to them and see how it works. As you start introducing these things and
they’re valuable, hopefully people will pay attention but you can only control what you
can control. Do the best job that you can and you just
might have to deal with it. It’s just the environment. But at the same time also recognize that some
of these senior developers that may appear to be dumb to you, try to get some understanding. Ask them some questions and say, “Well, why
do you do it that way?” Say, “Well, you know, I heard of this thing. It’s called domain driven development and
here’s kind of the ideas about it. What do you think about this? I know that you’ve been here for a while and
you have a lot more experience than I do, so I’m curious about this. What do you think about this concept?” Now, you’re changing the thing around. Now, you’re actually looking to them for advice
and now they’re more likely to evaluate the thing that you’re showing them. Whereas, before if you’re like, “Oh, you guys
are idiots. I can’t believe you don’t know this. Of course—gosh, you guys are frustrating
me so much because you should use DDD. Ugh!” If you act like that, they’re going to be
combative and they’re going to try and prove—people are going to put their feet down and they’re
going to fight you on it. That’s my advice in this situation. Try to turn around and just realize that you’re
not going to always be able to control these environments. I mean you’re just going to have to work in
software development environments that are not going to be ideal, and you’re going to
deal with these people. Keep your standards high. Keep your expectations for other people and
your standards that you’re going to evaluate them by low and you won’t be disappointed
and you’ll be doing the best that you can because that’s all that you can ultimately
control. If you like this video, I have a standard
for you. Set a new standard by clicking the Subscribe
button and watch my videos everyday. All right, I’ll talk to you next time. Take care.

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  • Travis says:

    Thank you so much john ! I appreciate everything you make ! And everyday I'm coding and learning and still watching your videos I'm 24 about to be 25 and you changed my life

  • Travis says:

    I also believe you can learn anything in 3 months !

  • Adrian Thomas says:

    Music is a bit distracting when you are reading the question from the reader. fyi. Else, great video per usual. Can I still get your soft skills book via patre on?

  • Aurelian Spodarec says:

    You deal them with JavaScirpt. Then C++ comes with the sirenes, and they go fight the justice with Assembly.

    They get in HTML and CSS.

    Python comes and breaks everything.

    Senior Developer is outside the binary system again.

    You call for help the amazing programming language 'brainfuck'.

    And they do the job.

    Senior is happy.

    He's a senior.

    Useless post i wrote.

    Happy you.

    Happy senior.

    In my recommendation list there is Kary Perry. Mmm.

    I think you just use Photoshop.


    When you are lazy and write procrastination comments under John vidoe.

    But I did work, and I'm doing it now, I'm just not putting in 100%, I know it, eh.

    Well, I already wrote this, let it post.

  • Rod Talks Money says:

    Great video John , I like your perspective on expectation.

  • Foo Bar says:

    I think you are right. It's good to start a discussion with the senior devs. As one of the senior devs in my team, I always like when new joiners challenge the way things are done, and suggest new ways or technologies of doing things. But if they approach me and they say that what i decided or did is stupid i will get mad. There are ways and ways to approach people, and dealing with people is something that developers need to learn.

  • Michael Murphy says:

    One of my favorite things to do when I was working with an excellent senior software engineer was to go into his office and ask him about ultra modern practices and how they would or would not fit into our work. He was always open and honest and I learned so much amazing stuff from him. In retrospect, by doing this I think I earned trust faster than I otherwise would have. So far I've found, I tend to like senior developers.

  • Scudd Kidd says:

    Aaah the guy who's complaining about Senior devs are mostly angry from c/c++/java domination , and surely coming from a c#/python environment …

  • Kevin Cho says:

    developers who doesn't learn new skills are not professional developer. they maybe senior meaning by number of experience but that doesn't mean he's a great developer. what makes great developer is what they do outside of work. I honestly think 20 hrs a week on self development is a must. I also include exercise in that 20 hrs.

  • Chlorophant says:

    Next Video: Junior Developers, How to Deal With Them.

  • Kanan Dethin says:

    I totally liked this video. Thank you.
    I can commit to this advise, because in my opinion very good reasoning is its foundation.

  • Tivo Kenevil says:

    great tip! this is applicable to many industries not just IT.

  • Tivo Kenevil says:

    John that backdrop is amazing. Is that in Cali?

  • Joel Longie says:

    Great lighting on the videos.

  • AleRicoSuave says:

    That's a great tip that I've learned the hard way.

  • Siepie74 says:

    Good point on thinking you know it all. I think seniority is also thinking about the broader picture. Yes that new JS framework is hot, but we have a large code base and the ROI to convert it into something that might not be so hot next year…..

  • Neil Nand says:

    Great video, agree with all the points and it's worth taking the time to explain to the senior developers why you want to try something new & its possible merits. Trying the latest thing / fad isn't always the best, old tried and tested methods are often still in use for a good reason.

  • Mohammed Alanguary says:

    oh john i dislike the video because of the music while you are speaking . it actually desperse the attention

  • Alex Thompson says:

    Looks like San Diego?

  • ibuprofen303 says:

    3 senior devs thumbed down this vid.

  • Robert Vincent says:

    A lot of people laughed at me when I trashed Flash. HTML5 and Javascript is making the need for third-party web plugins for rich content a thing of the past.

  • Oleg Abrazhaev says:

    I have the same situation now on my job in Germany. I'm developing a new project with Symfony 3, DDD and Hexagonal architecture. But in a 2-3 month my boss asking me to continue another developer project, who he calls CTO. And this project has a shit code, it uses at least 5 years old almost dead Cake 2 framework. And it's not organized and structured well. It's old and bad. This CTO guy isn't qualified at all, he just worked in the company for a long time.
    So, I think about any option to avoid this project. And it's hard in my situation because this company has relocated me from Russia to Germany and I don't want back to Russia. I have a lot of proposals in Germany and could change my job, of course. But I'm not sure if I'm right here, maybe I need to try to help this company with this project. But I will not be happy at all and will just waste my time… Also, my wife on 8th month now with our 2nd child. And it will be not convenient for us to move right now.
    All I want is to enjoy my job and create a great project which I wold love to make and would be proud of my code. Please hire me in the USA. 😀

  • Stephen Martin says:

    You can only control yourself . I am a senior developer. There are some outstanding senior developers there are some terrible senior developers. If you are junior and you reached a point where you are not learning or progressing. Find a new job and expand to your potential. Software Devs should always learn new things the question is which new things. That is always the question. The advice given was good but as a Junior Developer moving around to pursue better opportunities should not scare a good developer…it is often expected. Cost benefits, risks, size of code base, future projects that you are unaware of all could play into why the better method is not pursued. Of course it could be egos too.

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