Your Questions Are Dumb; Ask Them Anyway

Kathryn Grayson Nanz on April 13, 2018

People will tell you that there's no such thing as a dumb question, but that's not true. Anyone who has said to you "There are no dumb questions!... [Read Full]
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Yes yes yes times a million. As a junior dev, I often kick myself because I spent so much time trying to figure out a question when I could have simply asked for a bit of help.

Timeboxing problems has also helped me be a lot more effective in solving them.

I will occasionally run into times where I feel like I can't ask anyone for help because I don't want to bother them/they're too busy/etc. Thankfully, I have a supportive team who pushes that I ask anyway, and I'm starting to do that more :)


Yes times a million Kathryn. I am a senior developer and I still struggle with asking the dumb questions. The fact of the matter is that we are all always learning something new and there is always someone is further on that journey than we are. Therefore, it is only logical to ask them questions. But we are paralyzed as developers to solve our own problems and think we must operate in a silo. We don't need to do that, we need to be effective programmers. Part of being effective is getting the answers you need when you need them.

Great post!


This is a great article! I'm sending it to my team :)

I find myself wanting to argue in favor of the value of the hours-long struggle, but that's probably just an attempt to rationalize all of the time I've wasted doing it myself...


Gosh, this hits me hard. I've not had much experience working with/under other programmers and my fear is that blasted imposter syndrome in realizing that I'm clueless. I'm still chipping away at square one.
When I start to know what I'm doing (maybe) I can predict that my pride may want to hold those dumb questions close and secret.
Ill try to remember this article when that time comes. Thanks for sharing!


A minor caveat from someone who's been on both sides, would be to spread the question among the team-members. If you always ask the same person, eventually they'll resent you walking near them.

Also, I've always ended my sets of dumb questions with "how could have I figured this out by myself?" and came out with much better debugging methods for the future.


I agree with you almost,But i think learn to balance the solving problem skills and time-wasted art much more importent.The skills give you confience,time manage can improve your working efficiency!


YES, I agree with you very much . balance is very important, and I love figure out a problem by myself.


Great post!

There's a Talmudic proverb that says "One who is bashful cannot learn" (the flip-side is in the rest of the quote that says "...and one who is short-tempered cannot teach")

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