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Don't silence yourself just because you are less experienced

ben profile image Ben Halpern ・1 min read

Early on in my career, I ran into several scenarios where I found myself questioning the ideas of those more senior than myself. I consistently told myself "they must know better than me". While that was often the case, I regret second-guessing myself based on my own inexperience. I had more to offer at the time than I realized.

I now resolve to ask "why" more often and learn more about situations where I feel conflicted. It's silly to raise objections that are completely steeped in ignorance, but it is also silly to assume those more experienced than you know better about everything.

This resolution carries me forward to today because I will always find myself in the company of those more experienced than myself. If I treat every "why is it done this way?" as a research project, I will learn a lot along the way and put myself in the best position to be a positive contributor.

Happy coding ✌️

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Ben Halpern

@ben

A Canadian software developer who thinks he’s funny. He/Him.

Discussion

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This x100. Although it is the case that at times senior devs tend to "look down" on junior devs for their lack of experience, it is exactly the fact that they have less experience that leads to very interesting questions that senior devs may take for granted. Speak up! Always.

 

I encourage my team to brainstorm regardless of their knowledge level. Every opinion counts and sometimes they can surprise in the most unthinkable ways.

Experienced people often have a big disadvantage and that is the idea of fixed convictions. Sometimes they just don't think it over.

There is also the fact that different views are important. Diversity among the workplace is an important factor.

 

This is a really important point. I often let my experience silence me early in my career, but I realized the times I spoke up ended up being valuable to the senior devs. My points may have been flawed most of the time, but I triggered insights in the senior devs that caused us to change how we wanted to architect our systems.

 

Very key point. I found, when working with a senior developer on a particular area of functionality, questioning his arguments and discussing together- rather than just letting his experience win out the discussion- lead to a better system.

We both took lead in different areas of that system. It gave me- entry level developer who hasn't got a year's experience- some confidence regarding my skills, intelligence and communication skills.

Always test the limits of an argument or design choice. Make your design choice resilient and understood.

 

I've often found that the freshest eyes have the clearest sight, unencumbered by the biases that come with experience. That's fundamentally why diversity is so important.