Charity Majors+ Your Authors @mipsytipsy cofounder/CTO @honeycombio, co-wrote Database Reliability Engineering, loves whiskey, rainbows, and Friday deploys. I test in production and so do you. 🌈 Nov. 05, 2019 3 min read + Your Authors

It's complicated. Reasonable people can disagree. But we have made it much easier for capital to move than for humans to move over the past few decades. By paying without regard to location, I can level the playing field for a small few.

This is not however an issue I would live and die on. It's a luxury ethical good.

If it were a question of company survival vs disparate pay for highly paid senior folks in different locations, it's not even one I'd lose sleep over.

Here's one ethical luxury good that I *do* lose sleep over: hiring junior engineers. Truly junior ones, like first job out of boot campers.

This is an industry of shameless freeloaders, and it bothers me.

We can't currently hire juniors. We've tried, and realized we did not yet have enough work for them to do, or the cycles to mentor them on harder stuff.

And my headcount for the next year is ~2, for make-or-break shit. 😣 But soon as we can, we will try again.

Here are my arguments for hiring junior engineers. Pass them on, especially to your boss:

✅ someone took a chance on you, once. How many chances have you taken on others?
✅ juniors do not stay juniorō
. You could train a new expert in the time yoi look mm ml

(Oops... Thumb slipped.)

✅ juniors don't stay juniors. You may be able to train a new one in the time you spend searching for a senior.

✅ juniors force your senior folks to explain what they they are thinking, planning and doing, in terrific specificity.

✅ juniors are excited to build... Well just about everything.

✅ a great team is one where *everyone* is excited about what they're doing and everyone is growing. Because...

✅ enthusiasm and growth are infectious attitudes. So, unfortunately, are cynicism and boredom.

✅ mentorship is a skill that must be practiced and learned just like any other. You owe it to your senior folks to give them the opportunity to teach. You owe it to the world, too.

✅ a team that is top-heavy with seniors tends to be a fractious team with jostling egos

✅ most of the work you have to do just *isn't that hard*. Really. An organization only has so much strategic work and other high level stuff to be done.

✅ the more senior an eng, the less moldable they tend to be. They are who they are, for better or not.

✅ no, seniors are not "as good or better" at all lower level tasks. They may be rusty. They may rush through and half-ass things they deem "easy".

Usually the people good at something are those who have it fresh in their mind; i.e. people currently or recently of that level.

✅ loyalty. Gratitude. Effort. They aren't stupid. They know you're bucking the trends, they know you are investing in them. If you do this well, they will reward your faith in them many-fold.

✅ finally, a special shout out for juniors who are transferring mid-career...

✅ changing careers is a gutsy move. I can't claim to know a ton of these folks, but *every single one* I know ranks in the top 25% of engineers I've known.

You're getting an ADULT junior who you already know to be ambitious, tenacious, and hardworking. ⭐️Hire⭐️ these fuckers.

✅ if you are a company that complains about not hitting your hiring goals, but you only recruit at elite colleges, fuck you.

✅ if you require a college degree in CS, fuck you. (As a dropout piano major, this one's personal.)

✅ if you don't recruit from hack academies.. 👆

✅ today's juniors are going to be your boss ten years from now. How do you want them to remember you treating them?

✅ in conclusion, this is a moral issue, a practical issue, and a healthy teams issue. If you have influence in your org, I beg you to use it on this.


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