Leveling Up: What Does It Take to Be a Senior?

On this episode of Ruby for All, Andrew and Julie have a conversation about being a senior software engineer and mentoring.  Since Andrew is a senior software engineer, he talks about the differences between his current and earlier roles, and what experience you need to become a senior developer.  Andrew has so much passion for mentoring, so we’ll find out how he’s found a lot of fulfillment, validation, and purpose in mentoring, and what important qualities are needed to be a mentor.  We’ll also hear a success story of a Junior Developer that he mentored that eventually got a job as a Ruby developer, and some advice for mid-level engineers who are looking to level up. Hit download to hear more cool stuff!  

[00:02:02] Andrew tells us what a typical day looks like for him as a senior software engineer at Podia, and the differences between his current role and his earlier roles.

[00:04:59] Does Andrew consider himself a tech lead?

[00:05:22] We hear about some challenging aspects of Andrew’s role, and he talks about the people component, the planning, and there’s a lot more thinking involved. Also, he tells us he’s a natural leader, but it’s a burden, but if you want to progress to the next step, you have to do it. 

[00:08:01] Andrew discusses the challenges of balancing technical work and interacting with people since he’s struggling with this right now.  

[00:09:14] The topic of mentorship is brought up as Andrew elaborates how he’s found a lot of fulfillment, validation, and purpose in mentoring. He was assigned a mentor when he was first starting out, and he still meets with this person every week.  

[00:11:52] There are some important qualities needed to be a mentor such as patience, understanding, and the ability to listen and guide someone to find their own solutions. Julie tells us about some of her favorite mentors and how they helped her. 

[00:14:09] Andrew tells us about an interesting part about mentoring and being a mentee, and then Julie and Andrew discuss that mentoring is about more than just technical skills, and involves communication, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills. 

[00:17:50] What does Andrew find more rewarding about being a mentor? How about finding something that makes you feel like what you’re doing is important, and gives you purpose and value. 

[00:18:48] If you’re thinking about becoming a mentor but don’t know where to start, Andrew advises to just start, and stop worrying about whether you’re going to be a perfect mentor. You don’t have to have all the answers! 

[00:21:38] Andrew shares his story of successfully mentoring a junior developer who eventually got a job as a Ruby developer. 

[00:22:44] To become a senior developer, Andrew advises gaining experience in architecture, problem-solving, and communication, and being a leader and a team player. He also explains how he learned about architecture.  

[00:25:32] Andrew suggests working at different companies can provide exposure to a variety of experiences and opportunities for growth. 

[00:28:37] We end with Andrew advising mid-level engineers to ask their managers what they can do to level up, and if that option is not available, look for other opportunities elsewhere. 

Andrew Mason
Julie J.



  • (02:02) - Typical day for a senior software engineer
  • (04:59) - Is Andrew a tech lead?
  • (05:22) - Challenging aspects of Andrew’s role
  • (08:01) - Balancing technical work and people interactions
  • (09:14) - The importance of mentorship
  • (11:52) - Qualities needed to be a mentor
  • (14:09) - Mentoring beyond technical skills
  • (17:50) - Rewards of being a mentor
  • (18:48) - Advice for becoming a mentor
  • (21:38) - Successfully mentoring a junior developer
  • (22:44) - Becoming a senior developer
  • (25:32) - Exposing yourself to different opportunities
  • (28:37) - Leveling up as a mid-level engineer

Creators and Guests

Andrew Mason
Andrew Mason
Senior Product Developer at Podia, co-host of the Remote Ruby podcast, and co-editor of the Ruby Radar newsletter
Julie J
Julie J
Software developer at Codecademy
Leveling Up: What Does It Take to Be a Senior?
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