January 19, 2005

Great article on programming and junior engineers

I read this a while back, but kept forgetting to post a link here.

There’s a great article called “Picture Hanging”, all about the challenges in giving tasks to junior engineers. An excerpt:

It's like you're asking them to hang a picture for you, but they've never done it before. You understand what you need done - the trick is getting them to do it. In fact, it's so obvious to you that there are constraints and expectations that you don't even think to explain. So you've got some junior guy working for you, and you say, "Go hang this picture over there. Let me know when you're done." It's obvious, right? How could he screw that up? Truth is, there are a whole lot of things he doesn't know that he'll need to learn before he can hang that picture. There are also a surprising number of things that you can overlook.

It’s a brilliant essay.

Posted by Mike at January 19, 2005 10:50 PM