Cody Lewis

🎤 Speaker 📚 Reader 🎭 Improv

What to Do Before Asking for Help

A Little Backstory

My career in development started after a few, intense months of self-taught courses online. I found myself at an internship at a digital agency in Texas. Since it was a smaller company, I found myself handling a multitude of responsibilities – which was great.

I was exposed to tasks that wouldn’t have been my responsibility for years at other companies. This allowed my growth as a developer to kick off at an exponential pace but there were some pain points.

The Struggle

I’ll be the first to admit that I was quick to give up and leaned, likely in excess, on my coworker when I found myself in a difficult spot. I’d come to them saying I’d run into a problem with no real substance besides that.

While it’s fine to hit those walls, knowing what to do before getting help sometimes eliminates the necessity for help altogether.

What I Did

That’s the thing about common sense, it’s not that common.

  1. Google the problem
  2. Look for documentation
  3. Learn more about the problem instead of trying to solve it

These three things might not seem revolutionary, that’s because they’re not.

Being a developer these are fundamental to your day to day tasks. You might as well add “Googlers” alongside other titles we have. If someone says they’re not using Google they’re either lying or they are the few that use Bing.

These steps are more second nature to me now, but thanks to a current coworker of mine I had a moment of realization.

When I started in my career, I might have Googled the problem. There’s a chance I looked at documentation, but I was trying to solve the problem rather than learn more about it.

The Ideal

Hey John, I’ve been having this issue. Here’s what happens, here’s how I replicate it. I’ve looked at these Stack Overflow and see that the documentation doesn’t have a specific example.

I’d be a heck of a lot happier to have someone come to me and say that rather than “the build is broken”!