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Site Reliability Engineering by Niall Richard Murphy, Jennifer Petoff, Chris Jones, Betsy Beyer

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Chapter 28. Accelerating SREs to On-Call and Beyond

How Can I Strap a Jetpack to My Newbies While Keeping Senior SREs Up to Speed?

You’ve Hired Your Next SRE(s), Now What?

You’ve hired new employees into your organization, and they’re starting as Site Reliability Engineers. Now you have to train them on the job. Investing up front in the education and technical orientation of new SREs will shape them into better engineers. Such training will accelerate them to a state of proficiency faster, while making their skill set more robust and balanced.

Successful SRE teams are built on trust—in order to maintain a service consistently and globally, you need to trust that your fellow on-callers know how your system works,1 can diagnose atypical system behaviors, are comfortable with reaching out for help, and can react under pressure to save the day. It is essential, then, but not sufficient, to think of SRE education through the lens of, “What does a newbie need to learn to go on-call?” Given the requirements regarding trust, you also need to ask questions like:

  • How can my existing on-callers assess the readiness of the newbie for on-call?

  • How can we harness the enthusiasm and curiosity in our new hires to make sure that existing SREs benefit from it?

  • What activities can I commit our team to that benefit everyone’s education, but that everyone will like?

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