Thoughts On Onboarding Seasoned Software Engineers

Seasoned engineers are folks who have some idea what they are talking about.

By talking about, I mean building actual systems that work, not linked lists.

If you have the heart to build a 10+ year old business, allow these engineers to meander when they are onboarding, as they will set the coarse straight wherever they roam. Don’t do the rookie engineering manager mistake:

he/she seems to be not getting bullied into the tasks I had on the roadmap but wants to fix inconsequential pieces in code; hence, he/she is not a good fit.

To measure performance of these folks, relentlessly ask other team members on whether they have helped in cleaning up some of the ugly corners. Maintaining hygiene must be the first rule of a growing family.

If you have the genius of building/selling a business within 3–4 years, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say; don’t hire them unless they are as big fans of trailblazing as you are. One is not to believe that such a combination (trailblazer + seasoned) engineers does not exist. You can possibly find one if you look hard enough, but you really really really have to do the work before onboarding begins, where you clearly and repeatedly explain where the buck stops.

Regardless which camp you reside in, its naive to assume “mission accomplished” once you make the hire. An engineer who has been around the block doesn’t necessarily has been around yours. So education while onboarding is critical.