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Expectations of a junior engineer

To be inquisitive.

No question should go unasked. Getting stuck is fine, for as long as you don’t spend too much time going down the rabbit hole by yourself. Lean on the people around you. They’re there to help you succeed.

To be curious.

Try to understand why things are the way they are. It’s with this understanding that you can change things for the better. Frustration is born out of misalignment between your understanding and your world view.

Gaining this understanding gives you the context required to suggest new ways of thinking without undoing the work that has come before.

To challenge

Just because things are the way they are, does not mean it has to continue that way. You have a unique perspective. And it’s your job to challenge the status quo.

Your unique perspective is not yet coloured by past experiences. Which means you can dream bigger and better than those who came before you. Beginners mindset is something even the most experienced people search for. You’re lucky enough to have that in abundance.

To participate

You may not have the conviction of what you should do or how you should do it. But you should always contribute at every opportunity. Partake in deciding the direction. Even try to lead conversations where you can. Share your ideas. And throw yourself into the deep end.

To be responsible

It’s easy for everyone to shy away from responsibility and difficult tasks. Remember, they’re only difficult while they’re new. You’ll learn faster when you’re forced to learn. When a daunting new opportunity presents itself, say yes.

As a junior, you’re afforded the opportunity to make more mistakes than everyone else. But that also means taking responsibility for those mistakes, and learning from them. They're only a problem if the same mistakes keeps cropping up.

Final thoughts

When you’re early in your career, bring all of your enthusiasm. That’s enthusiasm to learn, get your hands dirty and be fearless.

I can’t think of anything I’d hope for more than to work with someone with a relentless energy for the ride ahead. Even if that means a ton of questions and a few mistakes.

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