I recently had a discussion with some colleagues, in regards to who would you rather hire: Professional or Amateur with a spark in the eyes (the one who doesn’t know the work but has a big desire to learn).

I consider myself as professional, can’t say I am always happy about the tasks given by my manager, but most of the time I either did it before or have a pretty good idea of what needs to be done. At some point, I was an amateur, like most of us in the tech industry, and getting things done was taking me days: learn new subjects, ask questions on StackOverflow, wait for the answers, talk to my more experienced colleagues and so on. 

The thing with exciting amateurs is that their spark gets lost as soon as they get bored with the task or overwhelmed and need someone to help and guide them to solve the problem. 

Here is what Pro brings to the table:

  • Experience – after years of working in the industry Pro has seen many problems and most likely has done before the job he hired to do now.
  • Tolerance to unpleasant activities – Pro sees himself as a person hired to solve specific problems and no matter how bored he is with the task he will not quit looking for something more exciting
  • Problem-solving skills – even if Pro doesn’t know how to solve a specific problem, he has been doing it for ages and he knows how to attack unknown and where to start

Sure thing there is certain disadvantages having Pros as well

  • Price – Professionals for sure more expensive than Amateurs
  • Overengineering – professionals tend to go the extra mile to make things perfect. As an example, I recently had a leak in my garage which led to a small spot with mold on the ceiling. If I would repair the spot myself, I would just cut off the area with mold and replace it. But with Pros that came, first couple days they decided to dry the area with expensive equipment they brought in, then they sent mold samples to a lab after they received chemicals to treat the area and only then they fixed the area with mold (hope insurance going to cover all these actions 🙂 ), but hope you see where I’m leading in this example.

What Amateur brings to the table:

  • Spark in the eyes and desire to learn new – maybe that’s what you need in your project someone who will emotionally charge the team and he might lack experience but willing to put his 120% to learn and contribute to the project

Problems with Amateurs:

  • Quitting – Amateurs leaving the job as soon as they get bored or a better opportunity.
  • Lack of experience

In conclusion, I think it depends on the project needs and budget who you should hire. And if you feel like giving an opportunity to someone who just started their professional career will bring more to the team, rather than hiring someone with years of experience, you definitely should do that, at the end of the day we all have been amateurs at some point.