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Christophe N. El-Khoury
Christophe N. El-Khoury

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How to: Google

If you don't care about this intro, jump down to the TLDR section.

So I've recently joined this NodeJS Developers Group on Facebook. I expected the group to have relatively advanced topics of discussion. To my surprise, the group was, for the most part, treated as Google.
I innocently wrote a post

criticizing how people are Google-ifying the group. That post, surprisingly, had more interaction than any other post. Many people endorsed the criticism, others criticized it.

Soon after writing the post, I'd realized that even though I should never expect any technical expertise from people I don't know, I should also expect that they know absolutely nothing.

The purpose of my joining the group was to help people, so I'm writing this post to help those who don't know how to put Google to its best use.


TLDR

Basics

To further simplify the guide, let's assume you're a newbie, and you so happen want to start developing using NodeJS.
Whenever you want to start learning anything, you should always read a couple of articles or watch a couple of videos explaining the basics of that technology. I'm not talking about the syntax, nor the capabilities, nor the use cases. Simply understand what the hell that technology is about.

The main thing to understand about Google is, Google is not your teacher. It's a search directory. Though you most probably will get lucky when you ask it about the weather, because that's one of Google's many features, you won't get so lucky if you ask it about a syntax error you've encountered. Asking "How do I catch an error in NodeJS because I keep running into errors" might just not cut it for you.

Google is a directory of data, articles, videos. You need to find these entries based on key-words that Google will use to find them in articles. So the above query would turn into "NodeJS catch errors". Google will take these words and search its whole directory for articles containing these words.

So the first thing you might want to do before starting anything NodeJS-related, Google "NodeJS Introduction"

You're going to have tons of results, but there are some key websites that are credible and concise enough for you to grasp what you need to grasp ASAP.

  1. Node's Website
  2. FreeCodeCamp
  3. w3schools

Once you've understood the technology you're about to start working with, you move to the second thing, starting to learn it. "NodeJS beginner tutorial". Instead of "How do I learn NodeJS".

Soon after you start learning, you will start running into errors, bugs, etc.
You run to Google again.
This time, you have to include more specific words, such as the error code or name you're encountering: "NodeJS syntax error unexpected identifier".

When it comes to code-specific errors, your best bets into finding solutions are

  1. Documentation: official source of the package you're using
  2. StackOverflow
  3. Right here.
  4. Other channels such as Facebook, Telegram, Discord, etc.

Before asking another individual for help, rely on your own debugging skills to figure it out yourself. Software development isn't purely about writing code, it's about solving problems. And you need to learn to solve your own problems and bugs before solving those of others. Give yourself a good 20 minutes of debugging and research. If your error persists, you might need to consider asking a question on StackOverflow.

StackOverflow is one of the major placeholders for Q&A and debugged issues online.
Sometimes, StackOverflow users might take some time to help you out, so you can move to individual questions by then. But keep in mind that whenever you do find the solution to your problem, give back to the community by answering your question on StackOverflow, Facebook, Telegram, etc.

Moral of the story is, the developers' community is going to be your biggest ally. You need to give it as much as it's giving you.

Also, stop undermining yourself. You can definitely figure it out on your own, just be patient.

Advanced

As a software engineer, I know that almost always, a Minimum Viable Product should be released before developing all the way. I'm doing the same with this article. Before jumping into advanced Googling schemes, I need to know your opinions and recommendations. If pushed for it, I'll definitely expand and clean the article.

Top comments (2)

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blessinghirwa profile image
Blessing Hirwa

I would like you to create another article about How to: Google like a pro, lol.

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christopheek profile image
Christophe N. El-Khoury

I would love to do that. If you know people who could use this article, have them read it, add your suggestion in the comments and I would gladly do it!

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