Trade-offs of seniority

For a year and a half I’m working in a growing and ever-changing team of senior developers, where - by years anyway - I’m the least experienced developer. How to judge seniority, and how important years of experience are to reach seniority, is a topic for another post.

Where seniors are superior

From the true seniors (hello Antonio, Francisco, Timo) I learned a ton about practices like pairing, code code review, how to harness the power of git, how to apply testing, and how to keep standup hygiene. Those were areas where I lacked due to the way I learned coding.

They also showed me how true experts in the profession can be three or four times more productive than the average junior to midlevel developer. The areas where those valued team members super-seeded most were:

Pitfalls in a group of seniors

I’ve also seen a few less productive traits seniors show sometimes:

To be clear: those “pitfalls” of seniors are kicking in for 10% of situations at most, and usually are by far out-weighted by the productivity benefits.


Overall, it’s good to keep in mind that a group of senior devs will exhibit different types of behaviors and group dynamics compared to more junior developers.

From my experience, there’s a couple of things which help to “get the most” out of senior team members:

As a business it’s important to have the right mix of experience level in the team for the current situation: