« All Episodes

Listener Question: John asks "How Do I Transition from Mid to Senior Level Development?"

Published 5/4/2016

In today's episode, I talk to Developer Tea listener John about his transition period between jobs.

Today's episode is sponsored by Linode! Head over to Linode.com/developertea or use the code DeveloperTea20 at checkout for a $20 credit towards your cloud hosting account! Thanks again to Linode for your support of Developer Tea.

And lastly...

Please take a moment and subscribe and review the show! Click here to review Developer Tea in iTunes.

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone and welcome to Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and in today's episode I'm going to be answering a question from listener Jon about a transition period that he is facing. Today's episode is sponsored by Leno. With Leno, you can instantly deploy and manage an SSD server in the Leno Cloud. You can get a server running in just seconds with your choice of Linux distribution, resources and node location. We will talk more about what Leno has to offer later on in today's episode. But of course, you can go straight to the show notes at spec.fm if you want to learn more about what they have to offer to Developer Tea listeners. Jon wrote me an email at the beginning of April. He said, hi, first I want to thank you for what you do with the Developer Tea podcast. I found it about a year ago and is the first one to be played when they arrive on my iPhone. Jon, you are very welcome and very glad that you've had a chance to listen. So thank you for being a listener. Jon continues. He says, second is my request for advice. I have worked in the technology industry for over 20 years, most recently doing automation software at AT&T using Pearl and some Ruby on Rails. Last year, I got an offer to join a team working on auction software as a full-time Ruby on Rails developer. I took a pay and benefit cut and walked away from 14 years at AT&T to pursue what I loved, programming in Ruby. About two weeks ago, I was notified that our current project is about done and there isn't enough new work to keep me. I need to find another job. The original plan was to work at least three years at this place to beef up my experience. Now I'm finding it difficult to find a new employment home. I've come across job postings for junior and senior developers, but not much is there for mid-level with my diverse background. I have been a remote worker with a stylish track record for over seven years. Do you have any tips? Thank you, Jon. First I want to say thank you, Jon, for listening to Developer Tea. I have to say, I'm honored that developers like you with over 20 years of experience and technology are listening and enjoying Developer Teaevery week. Thank you for listening. I am completely humbled by that and I appreciate the minutes that you spend with me. Jon, I do have a few tips for you and hopefully this will come as positive and relieving information, not only for you, but for anyone who is on the job hunt in the technology industry particularly for developers. The industry is growing and technology is shifting and changing and morphing and developers are in demand now more than ever. The amazing part of our work is how many different kinds of companies you can go and work at as a developer. Everyone has a need for technically proficient people, especially software developers and because of that the job market for developers is continuously expanding and it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The issue Jon brought up in his words is the lack of mid-level positions for people like Jon with diverse backgrounds. Jon, I think I have some perspective shifting thoughts that can help you in your journey to your next place of employment. I'm convinced that there are plenty of places who would be happy to have you, Jon, and that you are a total fit for a lot of those places with your experience. But I'm going to take a quick break to talk about our fantastic sponsor today, Linode and then we'll dive back in and discuss Jon's situation. Today's episode is sponsored by Linode. Linode has eight data centers with plans that start at just $10 a month. You can get a server running and under a minute and they have hourly billing with a monthly cap on all plans and add-on services. Those services are like backups, node balancers, long view. You can spin up a virtual machine for full control. You can log in as root over SSH. You can run Docker containers. I did this just just the other day. You can run an encrypted disk. You can run VPNs and pretty much anything. You can even run a private Git server with Linode. They have native SSD storage and it runs on top of a 40 gigabit network on Intel E5 processors. Those of you who are worried about speed, those are the numbers for you. It is a super fast network. On top of all that, Linode is providing a seven day money back guarantee. You can try Linode for seven days. Of course, the billing is hourly. It's not going to cost you that much anyway. But if you get to the end of the seven days and you don't like it, Linode will give you your money back. If that isn't enough to try out Linode, well, Linode is also offering you $20 of credit for free. $20 of credit on Linode by simply using the code Developer Tea 20 at checkout. Of course, you can use that on any of those services that $20 applies once you check out. So go and check it out. Linode.com slash Developer Tea. Of course, this will be in the show notes at spec.fm. You can use the code Developer Tea 20 at checkout for that $20 credit. Thanks again to Linode for sponsoring Developer Tea. So Jon, I want to get back and talk to you about some perspective shifting thoughts that can help you in your journey to your next place of employment. And the first tip is start with the end in mind. Start with the end in mind. You need to realize what your ultimate goal is as a developer. A lot of people in Jon's situation don't know exactly what they're looking for. You have to look at your situation and decide what types of outcomes are ideal. What are the things in a new job that I want to achieve? Do I want a job where I can get a promotion? Do I want a job where I can have flexible work hours or like Jon, do I want to continue working remotely? And you don't have to restrict yourself to only one kind of job here, right? You can have multiple things in mind. It doesn't have to be a single job. And in fact, you're more likely to succeed if you have a range of possible situations, a range of possible characteristics you'll be willing to accept. Imagine what you want your job to look like. And not just tomorrow, but eventually. Imagine what you want your job to look like down the road. And that leads me to my next point. The next step you take, Jon, or anyone else in your position, the next step you take won't be your last. So what do I mean by the next step won't be your last? Well, you have to recognize that your next step wherever you go is not likely to be your final decision about your professional life. Let's say you want to eventually make it to a senior level position, but you're consistently finding out that you are seemingly underqualified in a particular area. Well, does this mean you have run out of options that you have to quit now? Absolutely not. You can start by working a lower position and state your intentions to your new employer to move up. You never know what kind of experience you may gain. And you may ultimately end up leaving that employer if another position opens up for you. Be willing to take multiple small steps. That's the key. Multiple small steps. You're always working on your career and you'll realize that more doors are open than you may have previously thought. My third and final point for you today, my third and final tip, Jon, you might deserve a title today that you've never had before. Think about that for a second. Maybe you are a junior developer listening to the show and you're wondering what is next for you in your career? Maybe you feel a little bit stuck. You might deserve a new title that you've never had before. Now, am I telling you that you absolutely deserve it? No, of course not. Yeah, leadership positions are most often earned, not just given to the next person. Right. You may deserve that title though. Jon, you've been in the industry for 20 years, 20 years. Not only that, but your experience is in large and small companies working primarily in one or two languages. Pearl and Ruby, you mentioned. I know for a fact that there are developers in the field today working full-time jobs with full-time salaries with not only less experience, but significantly less experience. And they have the senior level title. So, Jon, my question to you is, why do you consider yourself mid-level? Is this a title that you put on yourself? Have you applied for senior positions? Have you been consistently turned down for those positions? Now, maybe possible that some employers won't hire a senior level remote worker. And you mentioned that you are primarily remote. It may also be possible that some companies require long-tenures or even longer careers or other credentials that you may not necessarily carry under your belt right now. But the title of senior or junior is entirely dependent on those who are giving the title. There's no regulatory entity that is determining how much experience you need to have in order to hold a particular title. And beyond that, a lot of the technologies that people are holding senior titles and are using are not even 20 years old. In fact, many of them are not even 10 years old. Every company handles these titles differently. And I would encourage you to seek the job not based on the title, but seek the job you want first without worrying about the title. You may find that you are perfectly suited for a job that has a title you've never carried before or never even thought you were going to carry. Sometimes it's as simple as recognizing that there's a first time for everything. Thank you so much, Jon, for sending in your questions. Once again, those three points. Number one, start with the end in mind. Number two, remember the next step won't be your last. And number three, you might deserve a title today that you've never had before. Thank you so much for listening, Jon. And thank you for listening, everyone else. I hope you've enjoyed this episode of Developer Tea and I hope that it helps you if you're in a transition period or maybe one day when you are in a transition period. You'll think back to this episode and gain a little bit of inspiration and hopefully a little bit of spirit and a little bit of hope. We'll re-enter and you'll be able to move on to the next thing that next part of your journey. Thank you again to today's sponsor, LynneOd, with LynneOd. You can instantly deploy a managed and SSD server in the LynneOd cloud. You can get a server running in just a few seconds with your choice of Linux distribution. And remember, LynneOd is just giving away money, they're giving you $20 by using the code Developer Tea 20 at checkout. You can go to LynneOd.com slash Developer Tea and of course all of those details will be found in the show notes at spec.fm. Thank you so much for listening and until next time, enjoy your tea.