All Developers seem to suffer from this…

Hey friends,

This week, I want to discuss something that seems to plague all developers at some point in their careers. Before I do, I wanted to give a quick update about this newsletter going forward.

Sunday Syntax will be moving to a fortnightly newsletter instead of a weekly one. As part of my creative sabbatical, I am producing 2 videos per week on YouTube, 1 blog post, and this newsletter. I want you to look forward to opening this newsletter when you get it and to do that I need to allow myself more time to write it.

Now back to the topic of today’s issue.

I have seen so many software developers suffer from this issue and waste so much time in the process.

It is one of the things that sets junior developers apart from senior developers.

That is, asking for help.

I have done this so many times I have lost count. You get stuck on a problem and instead of asking someone on your team if they have had the same issue, you waste hours trying to fix it yourself. I have even seen junior developers waste several days on the same problem.

Finally, when you are ready to punch your monitor and throw your keyboard across the room you ask someone if they know what to do. Usually, you will find out that they had the same problem, and also wasted countless hours on it, and tell you how to fix it in a couple of minutes.

I am not sure if it is ego or pride that stops us, developers, from asking for help but it happens time and time again.

Think how much further along you would be if you asked the right questions instead of trying to figure things out for yourself.

It isn’t just bugs and code problems that this relates to. Developers seem to always want to roll their own solutions instead of learning from others.

At every company, I have worked at, there seem to be 10 different ways to implement logging and auditing. Each team starts from zero every time and comes up with its own way of building an API or a message-based service.

Senior developers know when they have wasted enough time on something and when to ask for help. On top of that, they also write documentation or blog posts when they have issues so that others can get to a fix quicker than they did.

So, my advice for this week is, don’t be afraid to ask for help, it is usually the smarter thing to do. If you do manage to work something out for yourself, then share it, it may just help someone from falling into the same trap.

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