Never forget where you started

The project I’m working on has been very demanding, in terms of all the work and all the people that the project needs to get things done. That’s why we were all asked to bring (or at least try to convince) anyone we trust that we think can help us out.

I brought my once (in other job) young Padawan. He has coding skills and a heavy liking for the devops area. And, not quite surprisingly, he was assigned to solve a problem, related with multi-language. The person who assigned him this task is a very high technical level senior software engineer, and as far as I know he explained every step to solve the problem. But… and it also happened to me when I began working in this company, his so high technical knowledge makes him take two very dangerous assumptions:

  1. Everyone knows the system and its guts the same as he does.
  2. Everyone can understand how he explains things.

As expected, my young Padawan failed, not once, but twice. He misunderstood the instructions he received, he didn’t ask, and solved everything upwards. Anyway, he finally solved the problem, but our senior engineer was really pissed off.

The way I see it, we can’t measure our partners with the same ruler we use to measure ourselves. That is for eg. I can be a, let’s say, JavaScript expert, but I can’t expect a recently hired youngster, whose resume reads “Knowledge in JavaScript and jQuery”, and who has worked only in small startup-like companies, to solve problems with the same speed, accuracy and code quality the same way I do.

Even us, senior computer engineers, began as chicken nuggets, made mistakes, pissed off our bosses. We learned and gained most experience based on the mistakes we made in the past.

So let’s never forget where we started, we were not born with 10 or more years of computer programming experience.

An advice for new developers: Ask, always ask, even though you are almost certain of what you think, ask. There’s no dumb question asked, there’re dumbs who don’t ask questions.