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4 ways you can ruin your career while asking questions

3 min min read - October 23, 2014

Don't get me wrong. I appreciate much people who begin their adventure with coding and I always try to support them. Anyhow many people take very tricky way on their learning journey, which may result in spoiling their reputation and losing job opportunities.

I could risk saying that people of some origin are more likely to use easier, but more dangerous way of learning. Particularly in western education system (which influence also post colonial origins like India) many students are asked to learn how to repeatedly resolve narrow issues. That allow them to start work very fast, but limits ability to understand mechanics behind things they do. On the other hand in post soviet education system people are often overloaded with generic information, which with good mentoring lead to extreme flexibility and skill of self learning. Of course this system isn't so good in mentoring and otherwise to western treats all people the same. If you look how best schools work all over the world, you'd see that they both align to student and teach how to obtain information and understand rules behind the problem. That is best principle for jobs requiring higher education (meaning difficulty, not number of meaningless documents).

Reading recently various questions on developers groups I have found pattern of questions, once found by recruiter may influence negatively hire process:

1. Not starting from sources

It is stupid to expect for developer to remember each manual or reference he may use. Anyhow each technology has minimum set of rules that have to be fully understood to proceed. If I read about jQuery developers not understanding basic mechanics of JavaScript (reading JavaScript Good Parts is obligatory) or not knowing how to use selectors or deferred (may name them promise or callback), I think he's lazy and didn't do his homework. Reading manual base concepts and pre requirements is essential.

2. Not asking uncle Google

Live or day skill nowadays is ability to find needed info. It's all about being able to build simple questions and basing on answers dig deeper. If someone ask for basic framework helper I can almost bet he haven't googled it. Other possibility is asking questions which google wouldn't ever be able to understand like:" i need to do a site and my boss told me to use jquery and i never used it"...

3. Not searching for patterns

Have you heard about google development? It has nothing with search giant as company. It means find, copy, paste, forget. Developer working that way may be good in making WordPress skins for muffin shop next door. In proper project such person would be fired in minutes. Similarly people who learn one task and mechanically repeat it like on Ford production line. If you want to be successful in IT you have to see analogies and abstracts. See pet, mammal, living being, object in Garfield, not only fat yellow cat.

4. Stop learning

If you own your project and your clients are still stuck between neolithic and industrial ages you can sometimes keep using one tool and never move on. But for most of us it doesn't work. We are observing huge, social media driven technology progress. Everyday world is different. You may be good today, but in a year your skills may be obsolete. You can't expect your school to teach you all. Let them teach you how to learn alone. And do it continuously until retirement.

Hope those notes give you a bit overview on principles and make you aware of pitfalls of asking on Stack Overflow or Facebook. I hope next time I won't have to be troll sending LMGtfU.

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