I am a junior dev in a big tech company.

I joined last year and since then, I've been learning.

We have a senior dev who used to help me a lot in the beginning.

I was assigned an important task, I finished it all, except one thing, that I needed help with. I asked my senior colleague to help me, I did that many times, but she's busy, she didn't help me. The manager asked me to have that task done soon, and asked me to ask the senior again for help. I did ask the senior but she didn't help me.

I spent the whole weekend and I figured out the issue and fixed it myself.

How can I tell my manager that I solved it on my own, without assistance from the senior dev without being perceived as childish, and without putting the senior down?

I am asking because it is important to me that the manager knows I am improving.

  • 14
    Have you tried telling him "I figured it out myself"?
    – sf02
    Jun 17, 2020 at 17:56
  • @sf02 no, should I do that?
    – Stawnovth
    Jun 17, 2020 at 18:00
  • 3
    Yes, if you want your manager to know that you solved the issue.
    – sf02
    Jun 17, 2020 at 19:08
  • Did you consider that the senior dev actually wanted you to figure it out by yourself? I also let more junior devs struggle a little bit. Sometimes because I don't know the solution either, sometimes because it is a good lesson and makes them more independent. Sometimes because they've been asking so many questions that I'm tired of it. See it as part of the learning curve. Figuring something out yourself is more rewarding than being told how to solve things.
    – Bernhard
    Jun 17, 2020 at 20:24
  • Is the senior assigned to mentoring you as a part of their job - that is to say, is it one of the duties they’ve been formally assigned? If it is, then I think that you might have grounds to complain about it to your boss, especially if you’re getting overtime pay, and it’s therefore cost the company money.
    – nick012000
    Jun 18, 2020 at 0:30

4 Answers 4


Don't involve the senior dev in the discussion in any way. Just take it to your boss, and say something like "Well, I spent all weekend on it, and I figured it out, and I fixed it."

As a junior programmer, making it clear to the boss that you totally buckled down and fixed a hard problem on your own (and might like some approval now) is normal and non-problematic, especially if it involved putting in lots of extra work and so forth. Calling out a senior dev for not helping you is... potentially dicey. There's a lot of risk there, and not a lot of gain, unless said senior dev is being actively harmful to your work experience or actively bad for the company or whatever. "Kept being too busy to help me this one time" doesn't qualify.

Still, the story of figuring it out and fixing it on your own time by dint of significant effort stands by itself just fine.

  • So are you suggesting that I tell my manager this in the 1-1 and not in the normal team meetings so I don't make any harm for the senior?
    – Stawnovth
    Jun 17, 2020 at 18:47
  • Don’t wait for the weekly meeting to show it as solved, get it in use asap. So tell the manager as per the answer.
    – Solar Mike
    Jun 17, 2020 at 18:55
  • @SolarMike but the answer says I should not involve the senior, and in the team meetings, the senior is always there.
    – Stawnovth
    Jun 17, 2020 at 19:07
  • I used manager as boss not senior dev... if you don’t want to follow the advice you are free to do as you want.
    – Solar Mike
    Jun 17, 2020 at 19:09
  • 3
    Just mention it as an update on the task to your manager. No need to involve or mention the senior dev at all.
    – user61034
    Jun 17, 2020 at 20:03

If this is the first time you have performed beyond what would normally be expected for your relatively junior position, it will seem very important to you. I still remember mine, and it was about 50 years ago.

In the bigger picture, what matters is that you have the skills, talent, and determination to succeed at solving difficult problems. Congratulations! That will soon become apparent to your managers without you having to do anything special to call attention, regardless of whether they notice this particular case.

You should, of course, tell the person who wanted the problem solved that it is done. Mention it if relevant in any normal status discussion. Anything unusual you try to do beyond that to call attention to it is likely to do more harm than good.

  • Very good point, I mentioned it today in my 1-1, and the manager didn't even remember that I had asked help from the senior and she didn't show any special appreciation that the task is done. But as you said, they'll hopefully recognise later.
    – Stawnovth
    Jun 19, 2020 at 16:13

"If you really feel that you need to," go ahead and toot your own horn a little – "hey, I fixed it!"

Don't say anything negative about anyone else – not to your boss and not to anyone else. (You have no idea what's on that senior-developer's plate ...! And, you can safely presume that "s/he is not slighting you.")

And – take it from someone who's been one – "bosses see more than you think!"


Write a memo to your senior colleague telling her that you solved the problem and therefore she can stop worrying about it. Praise and thank her for declining to spoon-feed you the solution to the problem, thus allowing you the opportunity to expand your skills and grow professionally etc etc blah blah blah.

CC your manager.

  • 5
    If I were the senior dev I would think that's weird. Jun 17, 2020 at 18:10
  • @dan-klasson: It's supposed to look like OP is thanking and praising his senior colleague, and wants his manager to know what a good job she's doing. Jun 17, 2020 at 18:12
  • 3
    As either the senior dev or the boss on this one I'd know what you were doing here... or at least have significant suspicions. This sort of thing reeks of office politics, especially with the thin veneer of plausible deniability. Could backfire.
    – Ben Barden
    Jun 17, 2020 at 18:25
  • 2
    That seems horrible and passive aggressive. Do you have experience with this approach (on one side or the other)?
    – guest
    Jun 19, 2020 at 9:14

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