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I've recently been hired as a software engineer at a small (about 60 people) and nice company. I have 3 years of experience (at two companies - one of which was a multinational one), and I have just graduated this year. I'm worried because I have some work colleagues (most of them) who have A LOT of knowledge about several technologies and I don't.

I know only the basics of those technologies as I'm still pretty young (network related technologies as in Network Management Systems) and I just keep reading and learning to be at the same level as they are, but I'm a bit concerned that they can hire someone with more experience.

When it comes to programming, I don't have any reasons to be worried as I know that I can handle things (it has also been proven at the technical interview) but when it comes to networking, I'm just trying to do my best to keep up with my colleagues.

Should I worry about being replaced with someone that has more experience than I do? Does age matter in this situation? How can I get rid of this fear?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Monica Cellio Dec 16 '15 at 19:19
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    Should I worry if I'm the youngest person in my company? - Well somebody has to be – Ed Heal Jul 10 '16 at 10:03
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    Here's just a tip from someone who's also the youngest in the company - they won't even notice your age as long as you act professional. Also it wouldn't make sense for them to hire you and immediately intend to replace you because of your age. – bmarkham Jul 11 '16 at 3:17
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    I read quote sometime that was something like this: "If you dont feel like you are the dumbest person when starting a new job, then you are in the wrong place". Meaning: When you feel you are behind everyone else competence wise you have the most oppurtunity to grow. – Fredrik Jul 11 '16 at 7:49
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    @Fredrik nice qute ^^ – Grajdeanu Alex. Jul 11 '16 at 7:55
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Assuming the company knew your abilities (or lack thereof) when they hired you, you have nothing to worry about.

Keeping your job is not about being the best. It's about meeting expectations.
If your company expected you to be a fresh grad with some decent skills but a lack of experience, and you turn out to be a fresh grad with decent skills and a lack of experience, then they hired the person they wanted and they're absolutely not going to fire you.

Finding competent people is hard. Finding people who can actually get stuff done, who are honest, competent and pleasant to be around, is really hard. If you're competent, pleasant to be around and you proactively strive to keep learning and gain more skills/experience, you're a lot rarer (and more valuable in the long run) than you might imagine.

So far as getting rid of your fear: Communicate with your boss. Tell them how you feel, and they'll tell you if you're meeting their expectations or not (clue: if you weren't, you'd already know about it).


Personal anecdote:

I interned for my current employer for a few months before Uni, doing data entry. Then I went off to Uni, discovered some hitherto undiagnosed mental health problems and completely imploded. I went back to my old employers and said (paraphrasing) "This is what happened. This is where I am. I'm looking for a job, would you be willing to hire me?". Throughout the next year, my attendance at work was erratic, culminating in 6 months of long-term sick leave. I'm mildly autistic, and made any number of social faux pas trying to figure out how the hell people are supposed to behave around one another. I don't conform well to rules and I'm not great at sticking to rigid schedules.

I'm also still employed.

I'm still employed because they knew what they were getting in to when they offered me a job. I never hid anything, I never misrepresented myself, and so, when things didn't go well, it was already factored in to their expectations.


So, to reiterate: It doesn't matter how good/bad you are on an absolute scale, what matters is your employer's expectations and whether you are who they expected you to be.

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    As one of my old managers put it: "Hire for attitude, train for skill"... as you say, finding good people is hard, companies don't expect perfection – Jon Story Dec 15 '15 at 15:09
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Should I worry about being replaced with someone that has more experience than I do?

In almost all cases, no. Companies typically don't hire without thinking about the role they want to fill and the profile they're looking for. They hired you for a specific position, knowing that you had recently graduated in field X with 2 years of work experience in industry Y at company A and MNC B. They won't expect you to be an expert on technologies you have no experience with.

Does the age matters in this situation?

No. Age is largely irrelevant when it comes to doing your job well, or at least should be. There is sadly plenty of age discrimination in the workplace but none that you need to worry about. Most discrimination also ocurs during hiring and you already landed the job. If you had made a switch to a new field and started an entry-level position at the golden age of 50 then you might get strange looks but age is not a factor for you.

How can I get rid of this fear?

Realise that it's baseless and unfounded. You were hired in a tough economy so evidently they're convinced you can be of value to the company. Do your job well. Focus on expanding your knowledge of technologies that are core to your tasks or that your manager asks you to focus on. Socialise with your colleagues but don't try to pretend to follow along if they're talking about technologies you don't know. Consider asking if they can explain if it's something basic but don't force them to go through Technology λ 101 when they're talking about advanced topics.

In short: you're overthinking this.

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Someone in the company has to be the youngest, and companies don't as a rule list out their current employees, and choose the youngest person to replace them with someone older. If anything, the opposite, they replace those who retire.

The company has intentionally hired someone junior to their existing staff: the only reason this would be a concern is if they made a mistake and don't really want/need that role at all. But that applies to any newly-created job, it's not specifically about being junior. Reasons that they've chosen to hire a junior instead of a senior programmer might include:

  • cost (they have tasks that don't require a senior programmer to complete)
  • suitability to the job (they have tasks that a senior programmer doesn't want to do, because they've done them before many times)
  • education (they want someone who'll learn their way into the job rather than necessarily already having their own way of doing everything)

As long as you do the job you were hired for, and the role has value, it doesn't matter whether you're the most senior programmer, the most junior programmer, the CEO, or the under-janitor. They pay you to do what you do.

You can expect in time to progress to more senior roles. If it's at the same company then they will replace you, with a new junior, when they promote you.

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No, you shouldn't be worried. You were hired because you were the best fit for the job from the candidates who applied, some of whom may have had more years' of experience. As long as you are doing your job to a good standard and are learning from your colleagues as well as from your successes/mistakes, then you have nothing to fear.

The best way to get rid of this fear is to do as above: consistently deliver good quality work, building your confidence from positive feedback from your colleagues, and having fun learning.

Source for all of this: being the youngest in my team for many years, despite having risen to a position where I lead it and manage 6 other, more experienced people.

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Should I worry about being replaced with someone that has more experience than I do? If someone had more experience than you and applied for the job that you currently hold, there is a good chance we wouldn't be having this conversation. Seeing as you've completed the process and you were selected... should be good for a while.

Does age matter in this situation? I just started my first full-time programming gig at 32, but all my coworkers are at least 20 years older than I am. So far they just seem to care that I'm quiet and take care of my own dishes.

How can I get rid of this fear? Conducting yourself in a matter beyond reproach is good advice for any age, but mostly I'd just talk to your employer. Ask him/her what they expect from you, and do a little bit of something each day that goes beyond those expectations. Source: I share your fear but it ebbs with each passing day.

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This is my first job and when I joined the first day, I did nothing more than preparing my workstation and work environment. Not even wrote a single email at least.

Be patience ! It's long learning and trust me that serves your company as well as pay you back. However my experience is from R&D industry, may be other project milestone oriented teams do have different way. Even you read a spec it count as work. So take your time it take and learn. When you become more experienced you would be able to learn quickly.

If you asking that you are reading and reading and doing nothing and you imagine that seniors are monitoring about that? And when they gossip they gossip about your lack of performance? Trust me it's not the truth.

Even this question was answered ahead, I too decided to answer, because this is exactly a one difficulty that I was faced a year ago. Never try to ask about your performance from others, just do your job silently that's all.

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