Big News, Big Good Senior Kinda News
Big News, Big Good Senior Kinda News

Big News, Big Good Senior Kinda News

Five years ago, my boss at my first web development role told me that I wasn’t cut out to be a developer.

I still like the guy – he gave me my first opportunity and I very much appreciate that. I’d quite happily meet again and have a few beers with him. But he was wrong.

A couple of weeks ago, I was promoted to senior software engineer at M&S.



It feels kinda crazy that even three years ago I was admittedly pretty clueless, just faffing around with code hoping things worked – increasingly they did work, but it still often felt like luck, mixed with a bit of perseverance.

So, how on earth have I suddenly ended up a senior engineer? This would be a list rather than a load of paragraphs if my website design from 5 years ago wasn’t so embarrassing.

One. Getting the role at M&S. Without doubt, this was the perfect step up at the perfect time – and I had some great people to help me.

Two. Learning how JavaScript works under the hood. It’s one thing knowing how to manipulate an array, and how to create functions – quite another to understand how and why it works. Understanding concepts such as the event loop, scope, prototype inheritence, etc have all massively helped. This list of articles was such a useful help. Yes I’ve read around 70% of them!

Three. Learning how to do a good code review. I think one of the main reasons I have become respected with my peers is from my code reviews – leaving examples of how to improve code, reasoning as to why different approaches are better, finding bugs. Some people seem to be really poor at this – a lack of effort, a lack of desire – or maybe just an unwillingness to question other’s code?

Four. Working from home. Seriously. I can put so much more energy and effort in now that I can do a whole 9-5, without being late from tube delays and stressed from tube delays, I can spend time before/after work doing a little studying, I actually have more time to do work and learn more. Not to mention the improved health – I am far better at my job without the crud of the commute and office life. I should probably go in one day though!

Five. Having a supportive manager that believes in me. Never underestimate the role of a great manager – and I have one. He believed in me before I did. I was quite taken aback when he first rated me as a “future star” on some HR nonsense. Maybe there is no “future” required now. But I don’t want my ego to grow too much!


Apparently I consistently deliver to a high standard. I agree. And receive great feedback from my peers in engineering, product and delivery.

Apparently I also bring infectious, positive enthusiasm (I’d like to think I temper this with some realism), and inclusivity to the team – the latter I’m quite proud of as I’ve always tried to make sure the social stragglers feel involved.

Oh and I’m good at talking straight. Yeah I know that.

Someone with 20 year’s experience even told me that he was shocked to find out that I only had 5 year’s experience when he found out the news.

It does feel a bit crazy to think back about just how much I’ve progressed, but there is a long way to go. Need to get myself onto the new tech stack team somehow, so I can be using and working with TypeScript and React on a daily basis.

And who knows where I’ll end up? Principal engineer? Engineering manager? I might have the potential. Scary.

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