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Ask questions, ask lots of it

imichaelowolabi profile image Michael Owolabi ・5 min read

If there is one thing that software development has taught well, it is the fact that whatever you don’t know, you do not know. You cannot brag or pretend your way into building or fixing stuff in this field. You will end up ignorant and obsolete especially in this tech world if you’re not willing to sit and learn or humble enough to ask for guidance.

Contrary to what many think, it’s actually the smart people that ask questions. The unintelligent ones will never realize the need to learn what they need to learn in order to achieve their desired result. Some feel too big to ask for help while others are more concerned about what others will think than their own success.
Wake up from your slumber and don’t spend years on what should take you days to accomplish because you have refused to ask questions.

“The smart ones ask when they don’t know. And, sometimes, when they do.” - Malcolm Forbes

Why should you ask questions?

Apparently, if you’re the one who doesn’t like to ask questions then you might be in the wrong field because things change very fast when it comes to software development or tech in general and you cannot afford to keep struggling in silence while the world leaves you behind when you can easily ask the next person for help and save valuable time.

Saves you valuable time

Simply opening your mouth to ask questions can save you hours, days, or even weeks of frustration. There have been times when I’ve spent hours trying to fix a particular bug and kept on wondering why my code wasn’t working as it should, but when I call on someone else to help take a look, we got the issue resolved in less than 5 minutes. Now, I could have saved myself lots of valuable time if I had asked for help earlier.

Another way that asking questions can save you valuable time especially if you’re a beginner is that you will not spend your limited time learning what is irrelevant or outdated. There are tons of materials on the Internet today, but not all materials are beneficial to you when trying to learn or grow as a software developer in 2020 so save your self the stress and ask questions.

Saves you from making stupid mistakes

Mistakes are definitely inevitable and while we all make mistakes from time to time, you should not be among the ones who make stupid/avoidable mistakes on a recurring basis only because you have refused to ask questions. Majority if not all of the things you will ever try to do as a software developer have been done before so if only you can ask for help from those around you will not make avoidable mistakes. This is why standard/best practices were developed so that you will not make the same mistakes as the people before you. When you ask questions, you are literally standing on the shoulders of giants and thereby you will not make foolish mistakes.

Broadens your knowledge

“Questions and not answers create knowledge” that was the inscription on one of my faculty students association shirts while in the university. I have always thought about this statement from the first time I saw it on that shirt and I have come to realize that it is true.
It is indeed our curiosity for knowledge that always prompts us to ask difficult questions or any question at all and by doing that we unlock an enormous wealth of knowledge. When you ask questions, you learn new things or learn a new way of doing the same thing better and thereby broaden your scope of knowledge very fast.

Everyone (Experts, Colleagues, Mentors, Friends) has been saying this for too long

Ok ok enough of all that! Maybe you’re wondering what I am talking about and still not convinced that asking questions can give you an advantage in this field, that’s fine. You don’t have to take my word for it just know that some of those we call friends, colleagues, and look up to in this field have been saying this same thing for a very long time.
So, I’ve done you the favor of curating some of their tweets, just take a look at the gallery of tweets screenshots below and see why it is important for you to ask questions in their own words.

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What you can do to help

Different people have different reasons why they choose not to ask questions but the majority are just more concerned about what others will think or say about them asking questions. While this shouldn’t be an excuse per se, it is a fact that we can create an enabling environment where individuals feel free to ask questions without being labeled or made to feel as though they are dumb.

In order to achieve this we must all ensure that when people ask questions, we don’t judge them either by our words/actions and that we don’t put people down directly or indirectly for asking questions but rather encourage and create that enabling environment where others are free to ask.

Conclusion

You have limited time and there is so much to learn as far as software development or tech in general is concerned. In fact, it is impossible for one person to know it all but the only chance you have not to waste your limited valuable time and make avoidable mistakes is by asking questions. Be humble enough to admit things you don’t know and summon the courage to ask for help.

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My challenge to you after reading this is to imbibe that culture of asking questions and you will be surprised how much people are willing to help only if you ask._

If you like this article, kindly share with your network so that others can benefit as well. I can also be reached on Twitter @iMichaelOwolabi

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