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Zero to SRE

Zero to SRE

Being able to transform a junior engineer into an excellent mid, then senior engineer is a competitive advantage for any company. Unfortunately, there aren’t many entry-level SRE job postings, and if your company hasn’t hired juniors before, you’ll need to make changes in order to create an environment where they can thrive.

This talk is the story of a junior Web Developer turned SRE. I’ve been able to successfully transition into my role because my company has embraced junior engineers by creating a ‘Culture of Error,’ encouraging all engineers to be mentors, and ensuring that all employees take time during the day to learn new skills. We’ve made some mistakes, too, but we’ve learned a lot in the process.

By end of this talk, I’ll share the specific details of how to support junior engineers during their first day, month, 90 days and year, including:
* How to create a learning plan with your junior engineer on their first day
* Strategies for getting your new engineer to contribute to your code base or infrastructure during their first week
* A description of the company-wide attitudes and mindsets that have allowed these practices to flourish


Kim Schlesinger

April 29, 2019

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  1. Agenda 1. Your company's culture 2. Prepare for the junior

    SRE's day one 3. Provide them personalized resources and ongoing support @kimschles
  2. Guarantee 20% Time for Learning Create a Culture of Error

    Leverage teams, not individuals @kimschles
  3. Novice Is not yet ready to undertake work for a

    client. Should pass through this level quickly. Advanced Beginner Able to work as a junior engineer on a client team with more or less help from senior Trussel on team. truss.works @kimschles
  4. Attempts to characterize and resolve roadblocks through 5-15 min Google

    searching before reporting. truss.works @kimschles
  5. Breaks moderately-sized tasks down into smaller units of work upon

    request and reviews break- down with senior engineers. truss.works @kimschles
  6. Prepare a technical learning plan that is aligned with the

    day-to- day work of your engineers. @kimschles
  7. Example Topics for the Learning Plan: • git and linux

    commands • yaml • VPC with AWS and GCP • Docker and Kubernetes @kimschles
  8. Your junior engineer should independently complete large and small projects

    as part of their technical learning plan. @kimschles
  9. Be explicit about your desired timeline for the junior SRE's

    first independent contribution. @kimschles
  10. Concrete kubectl get services -n kube-system kubectl get pods -n

    kube-system kubectl get pods -n kube-system -o wide @kimschles
  11. Agenda 1. Your company's culture 2. Prepare for the junior

    SRE's day one 3. Provide them personalized resources and ongoing support @kimschles
  12. Credits • Photos by WOCinTech Chat • Culture of Error

    by Doug Lemov • Steve Kinney • Kyle Coberly • Truss Leveling • ReactiveOps Apprentice Learning Plan @kimschles