Julia Evans

Becoming a better developer (it's not just writing more programs)

I asked on Twitter today something I’d been talking to at lot of friends about – how does someone become a senior developer? How do I know what I should be practicing? What qualities should I be looking for in mentors?

The best answer I got was this blog post: On Being a Senior Engineer, by John Allspaw at Etsy. I am mostly writing this so I can remember go back and read that repeatedly. It talks about

  • taking and seeking out criticism and
  • non-technical skills and
  • estimates (eeep! so hard!) and
  • doing tedious and boring work and
  • raising up the people around you (“generosity of spirit”) and
  • making tradeoffs explicit when making judgements and
  • empathy and
  • cognitive bias and
  • so much more

But you should just go read it.

I’ve also been thinking about this tweet by @seriouspony:

and how it’s easy to get stuck in a rut and keep doing the things you’re comfortable with. I’d like to not do that.

A few other things people linked me to that were interesting:

"Ask if you have questions" isn't enough ♥ PyCon