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Discussion on: How to ask senior devs for help?

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nataliedeweerd profile image
𝐍𝐚𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐞 𝐝𝐞 𝐖𝐞𝐞𝐫𝐝

How can I go about asking for help & to what extent should I ask for help? Is it normal for junior devs to asks programming or framework-related concepts to senior devs?

Yes :) Completely normal!

I would say, if you think you need help, stop and consider if you've researched every avenue. I prefer a junior dev coming to me and saying "I'm stuck on X, I've tried A, B, and C, but it hasn't worked" rather than just "I'm stuck on X". It shows initiative in them trying to learn and understand on their own, they've just hit a brick wall. The best way we can learn as developers is by doing. That also means failing, and doing the wrong thing.

If you're in an environment where you feel you can't ask for help, that's toxic. A good environment encourages questions, collaboration, and joint progress/learning. Our industry moves forward so quickly we can't keep up with everything at once.

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millebi_41 profile image
Bill Miller

I agree. Remember that in many cases you learn the most by figuring out the problem yourself, but don't struggle too long. "Too long" is team/task dependant, sometimes 1 hour is too long, sometimes 1 week is too long. When in doubt ask a "quick" question of a senior about if they think you've been struggling too long. They may have a quick tip that may put you on the right track to figuring it out. Ask what to look for to lead to a solution (for cases where you can't find a bug or what might be obvious to the senior in a log file), the information to that question can be gold for future investigations.

Also, don't expect to be "spoon fed" (i.e. given the answer) all the time. If you can't deduce how to solve a problem you will stay a junior for longer. Learning how to solve a problem is the part that is rarely taught during any education, in many cases because it's different for each person.

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zaerald profile image
Zaerald

Adding to this, it is good to keep a digital notes, a summary of what you did and what did not work (e.g. errors) this way you can share it to your senior or your team and they can check whenever they're available, so you can avoid the bad timings of interruption if they're focused on something. This is also good when you've solved the problem, take note of the solution provided to you, so whenever you've experience it again, you can come back to your notes and avoid bothering your team again for the same problem.