Are You a Good Engineer?

I would guess that many of us think we’re good at our jobs, or at least that we do a good job. Whether you’re a system administrator or software engineer, I’m sure you think you earn the compensation you get.  I wonder if others in your company would see you this way? If they know what you do as a job, and understand the role, then you should hope they see you a good engineer/admin. Perhaps you should even ask a few people if they do.

There is a good thread about software engineers, talking about some of the things that make a good developer. It’s from a longtime engineer, and the thread talks about the things that you might consider important in a good software developer.  Actually, I think most of these items would apply to admins and even other business people.

The first item in the thread really caught my eye because I see many people taking requirements as facts and then working to meet them exactly, or complaining and trying to avoid meeting them exactly. It isn’t often that I find people really digging in and trying to be a partner with their clients. Too often we’re too accepting or too argumentative, without trying to find a solution that makes the entire system better.

The second item about not being a jerk is also important. It took me some time to learn that, and I still find too many people that think being right, or more talented, makes up for poor behavior. I’m sure it does in some places, but none where I’d want to work. Instead, follow the other advice and build relationships with others. That’s important, especially over time in your career. I know plenty of people who get poor recommendations from peers, and that causes them issues when looking for a job in their local area.

There are some other items, but the one I find especially important is work ethic. Often hires need to be taught about our environment, even if they are the 10x engineer. I’d rather have someone willing to learn, someone I like working with, and someone that isn’t going to be afraid to work hard and help improve things. I’ll take those skills over past “expertise” in most situations.

Steve Jones

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