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Daniel Schulz
Daniel Schulz

Posted on • Originally published at

Not knowing things

Chris Coyier updates his stance on his Great Divide theory:

"Since there is too much for any web developer to know, what is the most graceful and professionally acceptable way of not knowing things?"

I think the answer is honesty.

It's okay to say that you don't know stuff. My workplace pits me against the Great Unknown all the time: a huge complex monster of a core product. Internal tooling inherited from another team. Custom hacked docs generation, all undocumented. Legacy Code. Almost all of it is written in TypeScript, which I don't even consider my strongest language.

While I can always look up syntax I don't know online, I can't do the same for our own concepts. That's when I ask for help. I admit that I don't know all the things. And that's okay.

SpeedKit is the largest and most complicated project I’ve ever worked on. It took me half a year of onboarding (and struggling with Impostor Syndrome) to become somewhat productive and stop feeling like a chain on my coworkers legs. To implement features on my own. And that's when my coworkers started asking me question about my features. Turns out they don't know everything all at once either. And we are just on the JavaScript-side of the divide. Imagine if we started to write CSS on the job!

It's okay to ask questions. It's normal to not know all the things. If I can be honest about the things I don’t know, so can others. And if everyone does, it creates a office culture of helping each other out - gracefully and professionally.

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