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Discussion on: "I don't know", when and why you should say this in the tech industry

faunabrecht profile image

There are some things in tech that are always avoided but actually bring great value and show that you are not afraid to admit missing knowledge in a certain domain. I appreciate people who do not avoid these greatly!

I don't know: shows that you are not going to try and bullshit your way out of a question which shows that if you do form an opinion on something, it's more likely to be based on knowledge.

Asking questions: so many people avoid asking questions in public due to the fear of looking silly. In my experience, in many cases someone else is wondering about similar things (or didn't know he should be wondering about it) and the answer contributes for others as well. It's painful to watch questions in the eyes of a developer which he's unafraid to answer due to an imposter syndrome :).

It depends: when we receive the question "should I use X or Y" we often feel compelled to answer with X or Y. However, about 90% of the time, the correct answer is: "it depends" since in tech, technology X is rarely ever better than technology Y in 100% of the situations.

Concerning "I don't know" in interviews, I would rather say: "I don't have experience with it but I imagine it might be like this?" or if I really have no idea: "I couldn't say since I don't have experience with it". I would personally never try to hide that I do not know since that feels like deceiving the interviewer to me which he/she might take badly if they find out.

jcsmileyjr profile image
JC Smiley Author

Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Years ago I don't think I handled situations like this well. So once again, thank you for teaching.