Don’t be a Junior Developer: The Roadmap From Junior to Senior

Andrei Neagoie

Andrei Neagoie

Last updated: May 14th, 2021

Go from Junior to Senior Developer this year!

A few months ago (wow, time flies... the first version was written in 2018), I wrote a post that went viral titled Don’t be a Junior Developer that was read by 100,000+ developers (😱). In this follow-up article, I outline all the skills that you should learn in 2021 if you want to get out of your Junior Developer role and finally get started on the path to becoming a Senior Developer.

Before we get started though, please note that we'll be discussing technical skills. To become a Senior Developer, you will need more than just technical skills. I have written extensively about the other “peripheral” skills (i.e. people skills) in my article How To Become A Senior Developer.

Ok, enough chatter. Let’s get started and have a look at what skills you need, and how to get you out of being stuck as a Junior Developer in 2021.

You know HTML, CSS and Javascript. You have built a few projects yourself. You understand how to work with Github, and perhaps you also know how to create a simple Node.js server (if not you should check out this).

But you still feel like you know a tiny bit in a giant universe of skills. Where should you get started? What happens if your boss asks you to be in charge of a project? How will you know how to make good architectural decisions?

As with most of my articles, we want to focus on efficiency. We all have the same hours in a day, but some people are able to learn and do more than others. Why is that? Well, some people are more efficient than others at learning and doing. I hope this guide will at least give you a roadmap so you don’t have to figure out what you need to learn (I already did that for you) and you can get started right away in an efficient way.

Here is my recommended path to take and some of the (mostly) free resources for you to use to acquire the skills that will make you stand above a Junior Developer role:

1. Learn About SSH

2. Learn Advanced Javascript

2021 Update: All these above are still great resources but if you want to learn everything above and more, all in one place... you can also check out my Advanced JavaScript Concepts Course.

3. Learn How to Improve Web Performance

4. Learn About Progressive Web Apps

5. Learn a Popular Frontend Library + How to Manage Complex State

2021 Update: Already a member of ZTM? You can learn React, Redux, and more and become a top 10% React developer with our Complete React Developer Bootcamp. You'll get to implement your knowledge by building a massive E-commerce app with Redux, Hooks, GraphQL, ContextAPI, Stripe, Firebase.

Want to learn Vue instead? No problem, take our Complete Vue Developer Bootcamp instead!

6. Learn About Testing

7. Learn About TypeScript

2021 Update: Or just take Stephen Grider's TypeScript course.

8. Learn About Client Side Rendering vs Server Side Rendering

9. Learn About Securing Your Applications

10. Learn About Docker and Containers

11. Learn About Different Types of Databases

12. Learn How to Manage Sign In + Sessions In Your App

13. Learn About Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service

14. Learn About Continuous Integration, Delivery, and Deployment


Does your head hurt yet? This will take a while for you to go through but I hope you at least have a roadmap of what is important for you to learn in 2021 to go from Junior to Senior Developer. Being a developer is a never ending journey of learning as technologies always change.

In order to keep up with the industry, your best bet is to be efficient and be wise about what you spend time on because it is impossible to learn and know everything.

Focus your efforts on connecting the dots. Why do these technologies and solutions exist? What problems do they solve? What are the pros and cons of using them? By learning the fundamentals, you are more resistant to change.

This is the theory behind all of my classes that I teach. For example, I created a course that packages everything mentioned above into a course with over 33 hours of professional, HD video lessons: The Complete Junior to Senior Web Developer Roadmap. You will have everything in one place to guide you along your journey to becoming a Senior Developer.

Will 33 hours be enough for you to call yourself a senior developer? No! Of course not, that is just silly. But it will guide you along the right path.

Thank you for reading this far. If you enjoyed this post and want to get more like it in the future, subscribe below. By joining the ZTM community of over 500,000 developers you’ll receive Web Developer Monthly (the fastest growing monthly newsletter for developers) and other exclusive ZTM posts, opportunities and offers.

By the way, my full-time job is to teach people to code in the most efficient way possible as the Lead Instructor of Zero To Mastery Academy. You can see a few of my courses below or see all of my courses by visiting the courses page.

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