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Don't Memorize What You Can Google!

This is something that might seem weird for beginners, yet is something that every beginner should know if they want to save their time and frustration.

What do I mean by "Don't Memorize What You Can Google"?
Simply: Memorize core concepts and functions that are essential for working with your programming language or framework, but don't memorize random functions, code snippets and concepts that you will rarely use! Instead, take advantage of external resources(forums, blogs, notes, books, documentations...) for those things when they are needed.

Don't memorize things that take 1 minute to find through google like:

Why This is Important for Beginners

I've seen beginner programmers memorize random things about a language or framework because they thought that memorizing more will make them more competent since they will be faster since they'd be able to code without using google often.
Yes but no
Yes you will code a bit faster, but this approach will backfire sooner or later. See, this approach might make you faster for a bit of time, but it will bring 3 major downsides in the long run:

  1. The first downside is brain cluttering. Trying to clutter your brain with random info that is rarely used is as dumb as it sounds. Instead, you should memorize core concepts, functions and code snippets that you use often.
  2. The second downside is a steeper learning curve. If the way you learn a new language or framework is by memorizing a ton of different, mostly irrelevant things, you will have a hard time every time you try to learn something new.
  3. The last downside is frustration. You will likely get frustrated if you can't remember something and when this happens too much, you can turn your programming life into a living hell.

Instead, you should memorize only what is essential for working with your language or framework. For example, if you're working with PHP, you should memorize how to use "GET" and "POST". Or, if you're working with data science in Python, you should memorize how to load a dataset through pandas. You get the idea. Don't worry about the non-essentials.

In Conclusion

Your brain's "storage" is precious and limited. Don't fill it with random code snippets, functions and concepts.

See you next time👋

Top comments (18)

diballesteros profile image
Diego (Relatable Code)

I compltely agree although it is worth mentioning that rather than memorizing the function or snippet its understanding the why behind it.

That way you can apply your newly acquired knowledge to anything else.

onlyphantom profile image
Samuel Chan

Controversial opinion:
The best way to teach somebody not to memorise what they can google is to ask them to write a non-trivial regex.

Yes, even something like a valid phone number with country extension is a regex pattern that every developers google, copy + paste. Unless you’re doing it for fun / learning. Nobody with a job to do has time to expend mental effort on that instead of stackoverflowing it.

chrisgreening profile image
Chris Greening

XKCD comic where a person has to remember how to use the Unix tar command without googling and not being able to do it

anuoluwapods profile image
Anuoluwapo Balogun

Honestly you said the right thing

I used to think I needed to know everything and code without help but it restricted me from achieving anything!

The moment I told myself I would always Google and make Google search my very good friend

I built my first official data app with streamlit 👌🏽

Google search is my friend my very good friend 😁

Now I am more creative and even happier since I stopped trying to know everything but just Google everything

Google I love you ❤🫂

code_jedi profile image

Yeah, Google can honestly be like your second brain when you use it right!

anuoluwapods profile image
Anuoluwapo Balogun

👌🏽 yup

jeoxs profile image
José Aponte

I didn't create doors and I'm sure I understand how a door works.

tanaj07 profile image
Tanaj khanuja

my whole HTML and CSS knowledge

hannudaniel profile image
Hannu-Daniel Goiss

fully agreed!

brixmavu profile image
Brix Mavu

I think it's how one uses Google. If you've been developing for a while, it makes sense because you know what you're looking for; it's also an easy transition to a new language. On the other hand, a newbie may try to build a website with Google and get frustrated finding all kinds of technologies or the website is slow by throwing in unnecessary stuff. So as a senior developer, you can look at a piece of code and think about tradeoffs. Can it optimise or slow my code?

Second, look through language or framework documentation before consulting Google. That's my take, but in consideration that our intelligence is different, yes, do what gives the best result quickly and Google wins.

jeoxs profile image
José Aponte

You're right! Understanding the process and logic is the key here!

aydzhanahmedov profile image

Any suggestions when my teacher wants from me to memorize maven dependencies with their specific version :/

dougbaughman profile image

Yes, but not just google. Learn to use the Javadocs.