Junior Engineers

Yesterday night I went to see Erlend Øye live in Berlin. He did a great show, during which he played with some young musicians from the south of Italy where he is living (Syracuse). Some of them were really new to playing live: Erlend told us that one of them did not play ever live before the start of the tour and another one literally said “I wrote this song when I decided to start writing songs… last December”. Erlend left the stage, sat of the floor and listened to this not so tall guy play a very beautiful song of his.

When he finished, he got a long applause from the audience which he indeed deserved. Erlend came back on stage and said “a star is born” and “Prince was 1,5 meter tall” meaning that being short, Italian or having started only 6 months ago writing songs is not an impediment to do great stuff and it shouldn’t be.

What does this have to do with the title of this post? Well, if it’s not clear, this has many analogies with the work environment. Think about giving opportunities to junior members of your team, about hiring juniors to give a breath of fresh air to your songs (ehm codebase)… doesn’t it all make sense?

And if you are a senior engineer, you could think about mentoring those juniors, give them the opportunity to go on stage and demonstrate their skills (and of course allow for mistakes) like Erlend did. And don’t be the only one under the main lights on the stage, let them take ownership of some topics if they feel ready for it.

And go see Erlend Øye, it’s worth it.