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Adeyele Paul
Adeyele Paul

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The #1 Skill Every Newbie Coder Needs (But Most Are Afraid To Use)

I'm still pretty new to this whole programming world, but there's one tip I've learned already that has been an absolute game-changer: asking questions.

When I first started trying to learn to code, I'll admit I was terrified of looking stupid or getting in over my head.

Any time I got stuck trying to figure something out, my instinct was to just bash my head against it for hours and hours rather than reaching out for help.

I didn't want to bother anyone or have them think I didn't know what I was doing.

Big mistake! Let me save you some pain right now: swallowing your pride and just asking questions is one of the most valuable skills you can develop as a coding newbie.

The Struggle Is Real When You're Learning

Let's keep it real - when you're first diving into programming, everything seems confusing and complicated.

You're being exposed to all these new languages, tools, concepts and problem-solving approaches all at once. It can make your head spin!

For me, issues came up constantly where I had no idea what was going on or why my code wasn't working like I expected.

I'd spend way too much time banging away and getting more and more frustrated, feeling completely stuck.

Eventually I realized - I was making things way harder than they needed to be! Rather than agonizing alone, I needed to take advantage of the experience of other developers around me.

Don't Be Afraid to Admit What You Don't Know

Looking back now, I realize my biggest mistake was being too afraid to admit when I didn't understand something.

I thought asking questions would mean I looked incompetent. But you know what's truly incompetent?...

Staying stuck and spinning your wheels indefinitely because you won't ask for help!

Here's the truth: every single developer, no matter their experience level, has to ask questions constantly in order to learn and improve.

Nobody wakes up one day and suddenly "knows it all." Heck, even the most skilled programmers reach out to others for advice or explanations on new concepts. It never ends!

The sooner you get over the fear of raising your hand, the sooner you'll be able to overcome obstacles and advance your skills.

Asking questions doesn't make you look stupid - it means you're putting in the work, are self-aware about your knowledge gaps, and care about developing your craft.

Those are awesome traits to have!

How to Ask Good Questions

Once you've made peace with being a perpetual question-asker, there are a few tips that can make your questions more effective:

  1. Don't bury the lead - get right to the point! You don't need to say "Hey, can I ask you a question about..." Just cut straight to stating the actual issue at hand.

  2. Provide all the helpful context you can upfront - what you're trying to do, your code, error messages you're getting, what you've tried already. That way the person has everything they need to actually understand what's tripping you up.

  3. If it's something common, do a quick Google or StackOverflow search first. You may find your answer even faster!

But if you do search and still don't understand, definitely ask someone. We've all been there.

Be Patient, Keep Asking Questions

Learning to code can be a long, challenging journey with lots of speed bumps and roadblocks along the way.

It's easy to get flustered and feel like you're never going to "get it." But I'm here to tell you - keep asking questions!

Every question you ask provides an opportunity for you to gain new knowledge.

Every developer you ask has been where you are now and can probably empathize with the struggles you're facing.

By keeping that line of communication open, you'll be constantly filling those gaps in your understanding.

So embrace being a question-asker! Put your pride aside and get comfortable admitting what you don't know yet. In the long run, it'll be one of your biggest assets as you progress on this coding journey.


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