Junior vs Mid vs Senior Developers – What’s the difference?

Hello! A warm welcome back to our blog. While learning is a continued process in modern software development, there are different skills and levels of responsibility within each level. In this article, we delve into the differences among junior, mid and senior developers.

Knowing the general requirements of each level helps a developer learn what to aim for to grow and succeed. At the same time, employers can know what to look for when hiring a developer. It is important to structure and define the different roles when hiring a developer so that the right levels of skills and experience match what the job requires.

Skill differences between Junior, Mid and Senior developers 

As developers start out their journey and grow in their expertise, they will find that what they think they know diminishes, while what they realize they have yet to learn grows. The biggest difference between a junior and senior developer is not necessarily the amount of technical knowledge that they possess but the experience and way of thinking in how to better solve problems. 

A senior developer sees the bigger picture and knows from skill and experience how to approach the problem from different angles. A mid level developer usually has more technical knowledge and confidence than a junior developer, however, may still need guidance on how to make the bigger pieces of the puzzle fit. 

Junior Developer 

Juniors are likely to have joined the profession after graduating with a degree or joining after finishing a bootcamp or self learning. Depending on the level of learning and focus they give to what they do, they can quickly move forward to becoming a mid level developer within a year or two. A junior developer usually has the following skill set. 

  • 0 – 3 years of experience 
  • Eager to learn new things
  • Works on more simple features with senior team members 
  • Can fix low level bugs and rudimentary problems

Usually juniors are passionate and may be a bit overconfident as they are eager to implement more novice solutions. This means that they require support and mentorship. This will help them in understanding how best to use their skills and passion. 

Mid level Developer 

Those at mid level are usually those who have had enough experience working on the development process that they understand the full development cycle, and are able to self manage. A mid level developer has the following skill set.  

  • 1 – 5 years of experience 
  • Can set up a development environment 
  • Able to fix more complicated bugs
  • Able to mentor junior developers

Similar to juniors, mid level developers can move up towards becoming a senior based on their ability to learn and develop more advanced skills. However, there are professionals who stay at mid level despite working for more than five years. This is where senior mentorship can help support them to develop a larger skill set to keep advancing in their career.

Senior Developer 

A senior is a developer who, as mentioned above, is able to see the bigger picture. The developer is able to plan, lead and oversee the implementation of the development process. The person is able to provide the team with a vision and the requirements of the tasks they will be working on.  

  • 3 – 5+ years of experience 
  • Plans and implements the full development cycle
  • Has creative solutions and the experience to fix rare bugs
  • Provides leadership to the whole team on best ways forward

A senior developer can continue to advance if they keep growing their skill set. Beyond technical skills, a senior developer has soft skills that include leadership, teamwork, communication and mentorship. Following this level a senior may work as a solutions architect, lead engineer and other high level roles.

Things to keep in mind when hiring a Junior, Mid and Senior Developer

Hiring a junior developer entails that you have low level development work that needs to be built and maintained. This will mean you will have a team or a mid / senior developer to oversee the process. You will need to provide a junior with room to grow, make mistakes and learn from those with greater skills. 

What you expect from a junior is lots of passion and dedication to learn new things, readiness to handle minor bugs and seek support from supervisors and the potential to grow and take on greater responsibilities.

A mid level developer hire will mean that you require someone who can general self manage. The type of development will not require a high level of expertise or specialization but needs someone with a certain level of experience to handle the overall process. 

When hiring mid level you expect a level of professional maturity and more solid skills that are needed to do the job. You may also expect them to be able to mentor junior developers if you have a team. 

Hiring a senior developer means that you have work requirements that need someone to lead the process with a high level of expertise, self management and quick delivery of the project milestones. You should expect a senior to be able to design and implement the development process as well as be able to lead the team in a way that they succeed.     

How much do Junior, Mid and Senior Developers earn?

A junior developer in the UK earns from £20,000 – £41,000, while a mid level developer earns from £26,000 – £52,000 and a senior level developer earns from £29,000 – £64,000. Depending on the expertise and skill set a developer can earn up to £77,000 in Scotland. 

Read more about what tech jobs are in demand and how much they earn in our previous blog. If you would like support as a candidate or a business, feel free to contact us and one of our industry experts will be happy to get in touch with you. AJ Connect is a first class recruitment agency in the UK working to match businesses with talent.


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