• Damien Burks

4 ways to get promoted quickly as a Software Developer

As a security software developer with several goals and aspirations, my first goal was to get promoted from entry-level to mid-level within a year and a half. The journey to get to this point was not easy nor straightforward. After speaking with senior developers and mentors within the field, I have narrowed down the list of advice I’ve compiled from all resources into 4 tips that could benefit those seeking a promotion quickly.


Tip 1: Always ask for feedback


In order for one to hone their skills, they must seek constructive criticism from their peers. As a junior developer, you need to soak up as much knowledge as possible from these individuals. As my mentor would always say: “Don’t be afraid to ask for someone to review your code and make recommendations.” Those recommendations are vital for the success of the team as well as your growth as a developer. If you don’t understand something that was recommended, ask the person to go into more detail and provide examples. When you are working on a team, everyone has one common goal: Ensure the application or tool is secure, stable, maintainable, and scalable.


Tip 2: Take the lead


Demonstrating your ability to own a project or a significant piece of a project will stand out to management and your peers. Leading a project will force you to become the project manager, architect, and a core contributor. For each of these roles, respectively, you will be tasked with providing updates and time estimation for each feature, technical recommendations on the implementation, and contributing to the development of the project. Even though this may sound like a lot of hard work, it is vital to demonstrate this ability as it will become more of a requirement as you move up in your career.


Tip 3: Document everything!!


As my old mentor would say: “Document, document, document, and document that.”. Often times, developers will contribute to several different projects throughout the year and neglect to highlight their accomplishments and achievements. At the end of the year, the majority of developers spend countless hours trying to remember what they’ve done throughout the year that highlights the significance of their contributions. In the end, the majority of a developer's performance evaluation will contain only 20-30% of their contributions.





That is not a good look...


Instead, you will want to create a weekly report that highlights your accomplishments for the week that will be added to your performance evaluation. This will make sure that you’re including all contributions you made and the challenges you’ve overcome. During your mid-year or end-of-year review, your boss will be able to measure the positive impact you’ve made as well as your growth as a developer. This will also give you the ammo you need to plead your case when negotiating a promotion and a pay raise.


Tip 4: Pay it forward


As you become more knowledgeable about new technologies, algorithms, and processes, you should make an effort to share that knowledge with your teammates. The better you become, the more valuable you become to your team. However, if you share the knowledge that you’ve obtained, you’ve become an asset to the team. Some examples of how you can effectively share knowledge are by host tech talks, teaching classes or courses, and writing technical documentation. Once you’ve become an asset, it would be hard for management to refuse that pay raise or promotion.


If you follow these four tips, I'm certain you'll get that promotion in no time. Good luck!


Cheers!

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