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This depends on the culture & hiring philosophies of the company.

I've seen many places that "only hire the best" or "only hire seniors" then end up with a bunch of engineers who dont mentor or force multiply but tend to just focus on what ever pice of a system they own.

I've also seen senior used only to justify a pay bracket as well.

Personally I agree that a senior or lead enginner needs to have these skills.

I’ve been at the kinds of places you describe as only hiring seniors. I’m personally not a fan of that kind of mentality for a few reasons:

1. (In San Francisco) This can lead to reqs being open for way too long. My company had several roles open for upwards of a year and wouldn’t back off until I convinced my manager that we could train/mentor a less experienced hire to fill those reqs faster than we could fill them directly.

2. I think teaching a skill is important to the development of a skill. It forces you to distill what you do know, and articulate it in a way others can understand. This process is a huge boon to a lot of other traching-related soft skills as well.

3. (Personal opinion) I think we a professional, perhaps ethical, responsibility to improve the quality of our craft. I don’t think most places know how to write and maintain software well as an organization. The state of software as a profession will not improve until we raise the lowest common denominator and do a better job disseminating hard-earned lessons and best practices.

4. Companies have an ethical responsibility to provide their workforce with on-the-job training. The ones that don't are not only mooching off the ones that do (by hiring trained engineers away from them), but also pressuring colleges, through their feedback to students ('You don't have relevant experience in the stack we use') to provide training in 'current technologies' like iOS and Android dev instead of timeless fundamental CS concepts that will actually give them a good foundation for a career spanning several decades.

I guess this is off-topic, but this is hitting a chord for me. I've been fighting with HR for quite some time about this. Over the last 2 or 3 jobs in fact. Yes it's great to hire the miracle senior guys that'll fix everything. It just doesn't happen.

In my book, it's beneficial to stop thinking in titles, and start thinking like trades, in tasks. As a team you have to execute a number of incoming tasks. Tasks collide with a team member, and they can either handle the task or they can't. If they can't, they can ask a more experienced member to split up the task into more manageable pieces.

This has a powerful effect - you can usually add less experienced people to the system to get more throughput. As long as someone can split their own time consuming tasks into simpler tasks they can delegate, there is more throughout to be had.

And this in turn teaches people about the technology involved. Yes, you're just following instructions, but you should be picking up knowledge about configuration management, application management, databases, terraform, and so on along the way.

And with that, it's a lot easier to find people, because we can hire people directly from education. And I'm ethically fine with hiring people from education, because we're teaching them a broad set of valuable skills.

Sorry for the rant. I've been discussing the whole senior shortage for far too long.

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