What makes a Senior Software Engineer?

Don't believe the 10x dev hype

In software development, there’s a mythical being known as the “10x” engineer - one who people imagine sitting in a room by themselves who miraculously comes out twenty four hours later (after a long night of Red Bull) and has somehow solved every problem set before them. They’ve written the entire App. It’s on the App Store now. Heck, it even has 400+ 5 star reviews and over a million DAU.

Well, the 10x-er doesn’t exist - nor should they ever. That’s not how we believe problems can be solved, how technology should be used to solve a problem, or how anyone should live. Who we look for to lead our projects are Senior Software Engineers (TM). But what exactly is a Senior Software Engineer?

Often, you’ll find an SSE working alongside other members of their team. The difficulties they are tasked with isn’t usually intensively technical in nature, but rather, contextual. For example, working in a legacy codebase effectively will require the ability to understand decisions that were made many years ago. Senior Software Engineers will shine here. While working in product development, it’s usually not writing the most efficient algorithm that makes a product successful - but understanding the product in the context in which it exists and how to fit these things together.

SSE’s are the type to go beyond demonstrating their own technical and contextual capabilities. They elevate those around them, share their understanding, and are strong leaders focused on communication, inclusion and efficiency. Given products are about humans, and writing software involves humans, they never forget their responsibilities concern humans - not just lines of text.