Junior Engineers Are Features, Not Bugs

Friday, 31 August, 2018 - 17:0017:40

Kate Taggart, HashiCorp


There are many benefits to hiring junior engineers, but when it comes to teams responsible for production infrastructure, we default to thinking such risky environments are no place for newbies. However, "the things we do are too risky to have junior engineers working on them" often instead means "we haven’t invested properly in resiliency." Hiring junior engineers onto production-critical teams can guide you to reduce risk to your production systems by highlighting needed improvements you should be making regardless. We’ll walk through three categories—architecture, process, and tooling—and discuss the specific ways that a junior engineer may illustrate the need for improvement in each. We'll also discuss concrete approaches to effectively hiring and onboarding junior engineers on SRE teams specifically.

Kate Taggart, HashiCorp

Kate has worked in multiple areas of tech over the past decade, ranging from power grid resiliency to fintech to enterprise software. Kate has managed a variety of teams across the devops spectrum at New Relic and Simple, and is now at HashiCorp helping build tools for other companies and teams to manage their own infrastructure.

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@inproceedings {218861,
author = {Kate Taggart},
title = {Junior Engineers Are Features, Not Bugs},
booktitle = {SREcon18 Europe/Middle East/Africa (SREcon18 Europe)},
year = {2018},
address = {Dusseldorf},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/node/218862},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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