Every software developer is familiar with the website online Stack Overflow, the eleven-yr-robust compendium of questions and answers. Part understanding base, part social community, and absolutely beneficial, Stack Overflow gives help with virtually every programming language and software program bundle.
It uses a Reddit/Quora-like interface, with the most beneficial or implementable answers upvoted, and non-answers or incorrect solutions downvoted into oblivion or deleted altogether via one among Stack Overflow’s perceptive moderators. Users often ask questions after a tiring stint of Googling blunders messages and now not locating the help they want, or looking at a hassle and now not understanding wherein to begin. While I haven’t contributed as many solutions as I’ve benefited from through the years, I use the website each day, and it’s commonplace for me to go away a URL to a Stack Overflow answer as an explanation in a code comment.
In the years I have used the website, I have noticed one demanding phenomenon in particular, which I assume every developer must strive to avoid: the self-deprecating, nearly self-berating tone that some developers take whilst asking for help.
Searching for the word “I’m an idiot” on StackOverflow returns more than 10,000 results on Google. Searching for “that is a silly query” returns a similar set. The phrase “I’m a dumbass” appears in dozens of questions, the phrase “I’m too stupid” in loads—even in esoteric queries, which includes “I appear to be too stupid to parse…HTML Files with Bash.”
Is this how one ought to be referring to oneself in any profession, a lot much less in software program development, one of the maximum moneymaking and intellectually challenging fields of the twenty-first century? And is this how one ought to talk to oneself on one of the maximum visible systems for software program builders at the internet?
A few things ought to be axiomatic, for any developer:
1. Asking for assist by no means makes one a dumbass, it makes one an improving developer
Part of being captivated with coding is being inquisitive. One is never an idiot for asking why one has to apply a particular CSS technique, or why a particular characteristic ought to be used over every other. This is doubly real whilst the trouble is a complicated one or an esoteric one. Having a problem with a cryptography set of rules or a selected method in Python should not reason one to ask, “Why am I so silly?” Missing a semicolon or misspelling a key-word does no longer make one “an idiot”—it method one made a typo or ignored a character. Simply being an inquisitive engineer —or an engineer in widespread—certainly disqualifies one from meriting the label “dumbass.”
2. A primary question is not a stupid question
While a query may be redundant and may have been requested lots of instances earlier than (on the way to likely be flagged as a duplicate through the moderators anyway), the most painfully stupid questions are the ones left unasked. At one point, all software program developers had to study what.ToString() did, or the way to use “mailto:”, or what “x++” intended. And any responder who might berate someone for asking this sort of query (“maybe if you weren’t so silly, you would have read them…”) really doesn’t don’t forget the boss or mentor who once had to help them with similar troubles.
Three. A developer’s preliminary trouble with a topic has no bearing at the person’s really worth
“When I saw that code I [felt like I was] too stupid to live” is an in particular demanding remark which no developer ought to find themselves saying. Code this is tough to apprehend, written cryptically, or done in an overseas programming language is a challenge, real—however, is rising to challenges with trouble-fixing capabilities no longer what we do as engineers?
Four. Remember who uses StackOverflow
Most importantly in your profession, it’s really worth retaining this in mind: Not handiest is Stack Overflow’s answers public, but the platform has become a hiring and job-in search of device, a la LinkedIn, for recruiters and professionals, in addition to a social network of types for developers, and ought to be handled as such. Is the developer constantly referring to themselves as an “imbecile” before asking a query going to talk up at some point of conferences to request clarifications before beginning work? Is the engineer who “feels too silly to stay” while encountering any other programming language going to be the precise desire for a team producing merchandise on an expansion of systems? And is the responder who laments being “asked such a stupid question” going to be a treasured senior developer on a crew with engineers who may be more modern to the sector?
As in maximum professions, we developers can have the tendency to be too tough on ourselves, and now and again the cry for coding help indeed may be borne out of emotions of self-doubt and frustration. But if we don’t ask or are trying to find out statistics, we don’t enhance or grow in our careers.
An inquisitive, open-minded engineer who is captivated with the code will often have questions to contemplate. And managers, mentors, senior-level colleagues—responders on Stack Overflow—ought to usually make certain they sense capable of asking them, optimistically.