Ride the Wave

June 6, 2013

The more things change…

The beginning of summer at SEP usually means new hires.  While a few newbs come from other companies with experience already (so they aren’t really newbs), a lot we hire come fresh out of college.  Thus, our vernacular:

“Fresh Out”

(noun) A new employee to the company, hired directly after they have finished college.

A little wet behind the ears, ready to get into the “real world” with a bit of learning and growing to go.  Some may even go so far as to be shell-shocked by how clients really act, and that this isn’t your little project team in college anymore.  Looking back, I was totally a fresh out and needed help learning the ropes.  But that’s what we do good here at SEP:  a receptive software engineer can grow and prosper effectively into a distinguished engineer, architect, or manager.

This summer, we had a wave of new hires and interns; 13 in all if I counted right.  A [herd / posse / gaggle] of fresh outs.  The ripples of the initial wave are still having effects.  My apologizes if I can’t remember all their names with their faces.

…the more they stay the same.

However, one thing that I realized looking at these new faces was that we’re all fresh outs throughout our career, especially in the field of software.  I was a fresh out when hired by SEP 13 years ago (gee, I feel old now…).  But almost every project I’ve been on has involved me having to get up to speed on the domain we were working on.  I didn’t have knowledge about, let alone was an expert in, aircraft maintenance, diesel engines, financial institution auditing, agricultural methods, or mass spectrometry when I started.  But, I didn’t have to be an expert.  I just had to learn.  Quickly.

That’s another thing we do good here at SEP:  we get up to speed on different domains quick.  A client can throw lingo, experiences, buzzwords, etc. in a huge wave of information.  You have a choice: let the wave crush you and sweep you away or ride the wave and travel with the client on their journey.  When I can use my client’s lingo properly within a few days of meeting with them on Discovery work, clients tend to interact better, and you can get to the root of the problem or goal that much quicker.

That’s one of many reasons I love working at SEP:  the challenge of project discovery work.  Engineers love a good challenge or puzzle.  If done properly, discovery can save the team (and thus, the client), time, money, and headaches.  Plus, the project is closer to the actual needs of the client and/or their customers.  And happy clients are repeat clients, or they refer us to their friends.

The software ocean is not something that likes to stay still for long.  The next wave is coming.  Will you be ready?