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Ethan Moffat
Ethan Moffat

Posted on

My struggle I have when speaking with other developers. And ways I want to fix it

I've been a happy developer for a few years and do understand some concepts, but over this learning journey I've met a lot of other developers and what I've noticed is I have a huge problem when having programming conversations with them.

My problem

So, every single time I have a programming discussion with another developer I'm enjoying the time and having fun learning some new things about programming however, my huge problem is if I do not understand something I tend not to say "I don't understand?" or "What does this mean?" I just say "Oh cool" or "That's interesting" even though I have no idea what they mean. I guess I'm easily embarrassed and that's a bad trait to have because then I worry too much, I think part of the reason I am writing to DEV community is because if I write this I might actually start realizing that's okay not to understand things and I should get out of my bad habit.

My goals to overcome this

I love setting goals, do I always stay true to all of them. No. However, I am really driven in learning how to expand my skill set in programming every single day. So here's some goals I am going to do for my future self.

  • When I don't understand something ask nicely for a better explanation (priority)
  • If I kind of understand a topic in the conversation but not on a great level, add it to a list of things to research and spend some time reading about it every night until the list is over.
  • Keeping the list of things to read is important to me so I will strive to have that list always have a minimum of one concept to read.

Short goal list but it fits my issue and should be able to get rid of that bad trait I have pretty much always had.

What are your thoughts?

Finally, I would like to ask the DEV community for some advice on overcoming this as well. I understand it's okay to not know everything but the thing is I don't really put an effort into learning a new concept because how easily embarrassed I can get which doesn't help in my development of becoming a better programmer.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article and I hope I'll get some awesome advice from this wonderful community. I've been reading the articles for a while but just registered last night so happy to be a part of DEV

p.s. At the start of my programming journey I was always asking questions, super excited and then in no time it just started to go away because I felt like at the level I was at I didn't want to get embarrassed to the point where I wouldn't want to program anymore cause then I would just judge every single line I wrote and would start to disbelieve in my abilities.

Top comments (3)

programmingmonky profile image

Some skilled engineers are not pretend to be know things they dont know.
They always ask question about things that they dont know,this is great things.

They try try to learn new things without thinking embarrrassment,and ask some question to other skilled engineer.

I thik that attitude is truly cool.

Every people can try that.
and you can do it too.

leightondarkins profile image
Leighton Darkins

First, welcome to the community!

What you're describing is very common, I worked through a similar issue early in my career. I was trying a little too hard to be the "best" developer that I lost sight of what I could learn from the folks around me.

Since then, I've learned to love not knowing things. My favorite part of technical conversations is when someone mentions something I've never heard of. Usually when this occurs, I'll ask whoever I'm talking to to repeat the name, then ask a basic "what's that?" kind of question. I'll note the name down, then read about it for myself later on.

I've always got a notebook (or google keep on my phone) with me that I just add new concepts and tools to as they pop up in conversation. Additionally, after I've looked something up and feel like I've got a good grasp of it, I'll write a short summary of my understanding in what is now a giant google doc of tools, patterns etc. for later reference. That way, when someone says "have you heard of X" I can easily pull up the doc and say "sure, X is a Y that does Z, what more can you tell me about it?"

ethanmoffat profile image
Ethan Moffat

That's a pretty good idea, I might have to try that myself. Thank you Leighton!