The missing manual for ambitious software engineers.

A practical guide to self-confidence, personal growth, teamwork, learning, communication, and delivering results—the soft skills that every programmer needs to succeed in their job.

  • 260-page online book
  • Lifetime digital access
  • Shareable access links when you purchase for others
  • Access to advanced search, bookmarking, and other features in the Holloway Reader
Length: 260 pages
Edition: e1.0.1
Last Updated: 2023-08-07
Language: English

Junior to Senior

Career Advice for the Ambitious Programmer

by David Glassanos

As a programmer, you’ve spent plenty of time learning technical and programming skills. Junior engineers—and even some who have been in it a long time—must constantly focus on improving their “hard” technical skills.

But writing code is only part of our job as software developers. It’s equally essential for developers to cultivate the soft skills critical for adding value for their team, their company, their customers, and their career—and it’s often neglected.

Junior to Senior is one of only a few books that gives practical advice on the soft skills needed to thrive as an engineer:

  • Dealing with lack of confidence
  • Learning from others and by reading unfamiliar code
  • Managing your time
  • Working effectively with your manager
  • Communicating clearly with business stakeholders and writing clear documentation
  • Understanding different ways to add value for a company and its customers
  • Managing risks and recovering from mistakes
  • Dealing with conflict
  • Balancing the demands of work and personal life

… and much more.

Improvements in these areas are important milestones on the journey from junior to senior software developer. Junior to Senior is filled with insights, from one engineer to another, to guide you along that path.

Whether you studied Computer Science, graduated from a coding bootcamp, or are a self-taught programmer, this book will help you manage yourself, build value, and earn the confidence of your team to take on roles with greater responsibility and impact.

Wes CowleyEditor

Table of Contents

Who This Book Is For
What Is Covered
Getting More Out of This Guide
Growing Your Career
Generalist vs. Specialist
Your Leadership Path
It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
Go at Your Own Pace
What Makes You a Senior Engineer?
Dealing with Ambiguity
Dealing with Accountability
Time Management
Attention to Detail
Engineering Excellence
Team-First Approach
Job Level Matrix
You’re Not an Impostor
Knowledge Gaps
Dealing with Criticism
Track Your Accomplishments
Working with Your Manager
Build Trust
Adapt to Their Management Style
Learn to Manage Up
Dealing with Conflict
How to Recover from Mistakes
Why Code Breaks
Murphy’s Law
What to Do during an Incident
How to Ask Better Questions
Asking for Help
Asking for Clarification
Asking to Learn
How to Read Unfamiliar Code
Find the Entry Points
Leverage Your IDE
Dig Deeper
The Blame Game
Read the History
Log Some Data
Fire Up Your Debugger
Tests Contain Context
Don’t Try to Understand It All
How to Add Value
Improve Productivity
Solve Pain Points for Your Customers
Ship Code That Increases Revenue
Ship Code That Reduces Cost
Add, Improve, or Automate Processes
Add Value without Writing Code
Wrapping Up
How to Manage Risk
Types of Risk
Contributors to Technical Risk
Mitigations for Technical Risk
How to Deliver Better Results
Perfect Software Doesn’t Exist
Find Tools That Work for You
Find a Process That Works for You
Solve the Problem First
Take Ownership
How to Communicate More Effectively
The Golden Rule
Know Your Audience
Writing Skills
Speaking Skills
Listening Skills
Prepare for Meetings
Don’t Communicate through Other People
Communication Isn’t Just “Saying Something”
Dealing with Conflicts
Wrapping Up
Work-Life Balance
Time Is Your Most Valuable Resource
More Hours != More Work
The Work Will Always Be There
Side Projects
Friends and Family
Take Care of Your Body
Wrapping Up
Asking for the Promotion
Assess Yourself
What to Prepare
Build Relationships
Asking the Question
Put in the Work
About the Author
David Glassanos
David Glassanos is a seasoned software developer with over a decade of experience building successful consumer and enterprise products for international brands. David started his career in Silicon Valley at Mertado, an e-commerce startup acquired by Groupon in 2012. While at Groupon, he built systems to personalize emails delivered to 100 million inboxes each day. From there he joined NatureBox as an early employee, and helped grow revenues to $50 million annually. Since then he has helped build products and engineering teams in the e-signature, co-working, and transportation telematics industries. As a way to give back to the developer communities that have helped him succeed, he advises junior software developers on career growth, effective communication, soft-skills, and work-life balance.

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  • 260-page online book
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  • Shareable access links when you purchase for others
  • Access to advanced search, bookmarking, and other features in the Holloway Reader

Does this sound like you?

I just started my first job as a programmer and I’m overwhelmed with how much there is to learn. How can I manage it all?
As a CS undergrad who will be looking for a role this year, what should I expect in my first job and what can I do to prepare for it?
After three years as a junior programmer I feel like I’m ready for a promotion, but haven’t gotten one.
I’m a self-taught programmer and sometimes I strugggle with imposter syndrome. How do I help myself and my teammates believe I’m capable?

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