There are times where a Senior Developer should take a step back and become a Junior Developer. There are times when a Junior Developer can teach a Senior Developer new skill, thoughts and patterns. Granted there are a fair number things that Senior Developer can teach a Junior Developer. In this blog I will discuss why a Senior should become a Junior – for a short time.
These are opinions of course, but I believe a senior should sometimes take a step back and put a Junior hat one. Most seniors have been developing for years, picked up bad habits or had very little opportunity to learn new technologies. The good thing about seniors is that they can learn new things fairly quickly as they should have the discipline and foundations for most things new. It is a humbling experience to listen to others you may be more junior than yourself.
Now I say Junior, but I really mean anyone who has not been in the field as long as we have. This can also apply to any field, not just software development.
Junior Developers have grown up in the current technologies, graduated from college learning new techniques and are more curious about new technologies. For these reasons, a Senior Developer should sometimes take off their Senior / Leadership hat and adopt the Junior position. They need to become humbled, learn to listen and develop new skills based on what your junior knows. Juniors are using the open source, the open data, the big data, and the new languages and methodologies. I think they could teach us things many things if we just stop to listen.
How can this be accomplished?
- Pick a day or two per month, per week or whatever is easiest for you
- Stop and Listen. Hang out with the more junior employees. Have lunch with them and talk to them
- Establish time where they can pick something new to show you. Get them to walk you through their ideas
- Make them teach you. Let them inspire you.
- Ask questions. Be engaging.
- Be thankful for their time – they are busy too.
Three positive things that will come from this exercise:
- They get experience being leaders.
- You will find yourself to be more open and accessible to the team.
- You will probably learn something new.