Where to place your newbies?

You can learn new things at any time in your life if you’re willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you.”
Barbara Sher.

In the previous post we talked about the best place to use your linchpins. In today’s post we look at how to best use your beginners or newbies to OSS.

Even the best of the linchpins take years to develop the breadth of knowledge required to make valuable connections with their OSS tools. So how do you give every newbie the opportunities to become your linchpins? What roles do you start them in?

Many organisations start their beginners in a narrow niche, on something of lower importance and let them build their knowledge and confidence.

I tend to take a slightly different view. Throw your beginners into the middle of an OSS implementation, perhaps as a librarian, be it document, code or data librarian. They get to oversee all of the pieces of the puzzle that are coming together as well as getting to digest the information and ask questions of the corresponding experts.

The analogy is as a sporting coach. You can either start your career in charge of a junior league team and learn for yourself, or you can get thrown into the coach’s box in major league games. Both methods will work, but I feel that the latter is a fast-track approach.

How do you develop your new starters and help build their career plans?

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