The 1 Mistake Keeping Mid-Career Developers Stuck in a Loop — And How to Break Free

This mistake is keeping you from making the jump to Senior Developer

Are you stuck as a mid-level developer? Trying to keep practicing after work, but don't feel like you're learning anything? What if you knew the next steps for you to make the jump to Senior? Learn how to save time and energy by doing one thing differently today.

You look at the clock: it’s 5 PM.

You’ve been sitting on a chair for the past ~8 hours… Or worse: just endless, mind-numbing meetings all day. No wonder why you don’t feel like opening up a technical book or watching tutorials after work.

Even so, you try to push yourself one more time because you want to keep growing in your career.

You try to finish one exercise from the latest technical material you’ve invested in. But it’s almost as if you haven’t learned anything from it. Because you never got to implement any of these lessons in a practical way.

Try again tomorrow? Maybe next week.

You have been piling up all this knowledge in your brain, but you didn’t acquire the skills you wanted.

It’s hard to acquire Senior-level skills without actually doing Senior-level work while on the job.

Can’t find out how to make the jump to Senior? You are not alone!

It feels like being stuck in an endless loop 🔁

Can’t remember the last time you learned new things at the job. Try to practice new skills outside of work. Don’t put the concepts into practice in a real project with real users and demands. Feel like you didn’t learn anything at all and feel bad about yourself. Get even less motivated to do anything different. Repeat.

Hitting a plateau is soul-crushing.

If that’s what is happening to you right now, don’t panic. It happens to the best of us. You can fix it.

And if it hasn’t happened to you – yet? – then you can avoid this problem entirely.

One simple way to escape the mid-level developer career plateau

Want to break out of it? Do something different.

Here’s another way to think about this: there are multiple ways out. The first step is to pick one path. The good news is: you don’t have to figure out the whole path by yourself.

There are lots of developers out there working on excellent and challenging projects. Doing impactful work, and building amazing reputations. They have done it.

The question now is: how can you become one of them?

Try this shortcut

Find a developer you admire - a role model. Someone who works at your company or somewhere else. Preferably someone who’s not too far ahead of you.

Don’t have a role model? Well, start there!

Find someone from your local community, a great developer working on another team, or someone who gave a great talk at a conference. Remember: they can even be someone who’s a little bit ahead of you. Ask: how did they get where they are today?

What is one great thing they’re doing that you’re not?

Identify the things they did right in their careers. What do you admire about them, what makes them so good? Is there something they do that you can mimic?

Here are some clues 💡

  • Do they propose new projects that solve problems for the team?
  • Do they run retrospectives?
  • Do they mentor someone else?
  • Do they speak at meetups, conferences?
  • Do they write and communicate well?

Those examples will give you a hint of all the opportunities for growth right in front of you.

Because if you wait for others to give you an opportunity, guidance, or a promotion, you’ll be waiting forever.

Stop hoping and dreaming. Start manufacturing your own opportunities right now!

“It’s easy for them, they have lots of experience. They are respected. I’m nobody!”

They indeed have admirable careers today. That’s why they are your role model. But when they started, they were nobodies.

Focus on how they became so good.

The goal of this exercise is to explore what you can do right now, with curiosity and with an open mind. Take control of your career. You don’t have to have all the answers, you’ll figure things out as you keep moving.

Of course, nobody will build a respected career in one day.

Your challenge here is to find one thing you can start doing differently today. One thing. When you get moving, things will become clearer and you’ll have a sense of the direction to take.

Identifying strategies from people who do what you want to do is a simple yet effective way to move forward. You know it’s possible, it’s time to choose how you’re going to get there.

Still can’t decide? Here’s one strategy: volunteer to run the next retrospective. If your team doesn’t run retrospectives, start facilitating them.

Tired of not knowing what to do next? Do this today! 📝

Answer these three questions:

  • Who is your role model and why?
  • What is the one thing they do that you want to try out for yourself?
  • What is the one thing you’re going to do differently today?

Then, put it into action.

Reach out to your role model and ask for help if you get stuck. If you did your research well, you might have learned that your role model got where they are today because they asked for help whenever they got stuck.

Do you want to take your career to the next level?

Sign up for our Free Get to Senior Crash Course and start doing Senior-level tasks today. Drop your email below and get your first lesson now!

Hint: there are so many growth opportunities right in front of you. We’ll help you catch them! 🔍🕵️