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How to move from a Software Engineer to a Senior Software Engineer Role

March 16, 2023

Are you a Software Engineer looking to take your career to the next level? If you're interested in making the jump from a Software Engineer to a Senior Software Engineer, networking and changing how you approach your current role could be the key to unlocking new opportunities and landing that dream job. In this blog post, we'll explore how networking can help you make meaningful connections, gain valuable insights, and ultimately secure a Senior Software Engineering role.

Examples of Senior Software Engineering Roles

As a software engineer, you will be responsible for developing and maintaining software applications. In a senior role, you will either be expected to lead a team of engineers, or take on more senior responsibilities, like being involved in all aspects of the software development process, from conception to deployment.

There are many different types of senior software engineering roles, each with its own set of responsibilities. These include jobs like:

Senior Fullstack Engineer: A Senior Fullstack Engineer bridges the gap between Backend and Frontend projects. Fullstack Engineers fulfill many of the same responsibilities as other engineers - but spend their time working on projects from backend coding through front end (sometimes even consumer) design.

Senior Backend Engineer: A Senior Backend Engineer is a software engineer who leads the development and ongoing management of backend infrastructure. A Backend Engineer may be responsible for the managing the databases or data warehouses of a company, or may work on projects to integrate payments or other secure transfers, for example.

Senior Blockchain Engineer: A Senior Blockchain Engineer is an engineer who builds blockchain products, or uses blockchain technology to create new products. Blockchain Engineers create products that are a critical element of Web3 and require specialized vocabulary and knowledge.

Strategies in the workplace that can help you get promoted to a Senior Software Engineer

In order to be promoted into a Senior Software Engineer role, you'll need to demonstrate your technical abilities, experience and leadership skills at work to show you can handle the more rigorous nature of a senior role. Here are some of our tips on how to do this:

1. Keep a running list of your projects and achievements: Throughout your career, you've probably shipped a lot of projects and completed a lot of sprints, but have you kept track of these projects? Make sure you're writing down your achievements, and the results of your projects on your company's bottom line. Did you improve efficiencies, make a process better, save money or generate more revenue? When you understand the impact of your work, you'll be a much more suitable candidate for a senior-level promotion.

2. Demonstrate your leadership and mentorship: A Senior Software Engineer may be expected to lead and mentor junior software engineers, even if they aren't direct managers of these individuals. They are responsible for guiding and training new team members, and providing technical expertise and guidance. If you're already doing this - great! If not, are there more junior members on your team, maybe you can guide them through projects or give them tasks on your own, more complicated projects.

3. Show strategic thinking: A Senior Software Engineer is expected to think more strategically about software development. They need to understand the bigger picture of how the software fits into the organization's goals and objectives. Ask questions in meetings that show you understand how your work fits into larger organizational goals, or spend some time writing down how your accomplishments fit into larger initiatives (this is also related to point #1!).

4. Show your decision-making skills: A senior software engineer is expected to make more informed and strategic decisions related to software development. They are responsible for evaluating technical options and making recommendations to the team and stakeholders. Do you feel comfortable making decisions on your own, without the approval of a supervisor? If yes, start to hone your decision-making skills more and prepare for interview questions that ask you about how you make decisions.

The Power of Networking in becoming a Senior Software Engineer

In order to get promoted to a senior software engineering role, being an expert at your work and excelling as a contributor is important, but networking is also key. Here are a few steps to take to make sure you're on the right track:

1. Improve your communication skills at work: Remember - networking doesn't only happen outside your current company, but can happen inside your company too. As a Senior Software Engineer, you will need to be able to communicate effectively with colleagues, stakeholders, and clients. Focus on improving your written and verbal communication skills so people understand the value of your work and projects.

2. Get involved in your local tech community: There are often meetups and events happening that can help you meet other professionals and learn more about what's going on in the industry. These can also look like

3. Connect with people online: LinkedIn is a great resource for connecting with other professionals, and Twitter can be useful for following industry news and developments.

If you don't post on LinkedIn much (or at all), that's okay! Take baby steps here. Maybe you can start showcasing some of the projects you've worked on, or add your commentary to an news story in your field.

4. Stay up to date on new technologies: Keeping up with the latest trends will show that you're keeping up with the industry as a whole, which is impressive to potential employers and at your current company.

If you learn a new technology or how to apply a program in an interesting way, you can use this as a conversation starter to start networking! For example, you may  

5. Get involved in open source projects: Contributing to open source projects is a great way to showcase your skills and get noticed by potential employers. There are plenty of online communities you can connect with to do this type of networking.

6. Build relationships with people who are already in senior positions: You can do this by attending industry events and conferences, or by reaching out to them on social media. Don't be afraid to connect with people outside of your field too! Senior leaders in marketing, product design, product management, and more can also help guide you to your Senior level job and introduce you to the right people.

7. Connect with other software engineers and developers who are at a similar level to you: This way, you can learn from each other and discuss potential opportunities. While it's great to connect with senior leaders, sometimes the best mentor isn't a VP or a C-Suite executive, but someone who was in your shoes just a few months or years ago.

A Final Note on finding new Senior Software Engineering Jobs

If you're networking and changing how you approach assignments at work but still aren't having any luck getting promoted into a Senior Engineering Job, don't worry! There are more ways to land a senior job than getting promoted.

Sometimes, your company may not be able to promote you due to budget, changing headcount plans, or other factors that are outside your control. In these instances, we recommend looking beyond your company for that Senior Software Engineer role that's perfect for you.

This is where networking, writing down your accomplishments, and connecting your work to larger, strategic goals can help your search immensely. If you can demonstrate to a company that you're already at the level of a senior engineer - they'll be much more likely to hire you for that role.

Job seekers and hiring managers - what are your thoughts on landing Senior Software Engineer jobs, or finding senior talent? We'd love to hear them.

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