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Discussion on: Good Programmer vs Average Programmer - and, Why Asking questions and Paying attention to Details matters.

kayis profile image

When I became more senior I had the impression that good developers don't ask too many questions.

This had two reasons.

First, I had to ask less questions because I was working with the stack for many years now and knew it like the back of my hand and not because I was a good dev.

Second, we hired a bunch of devs coming right from university that knew next to nothing about developing and were asking questions constantly about the most basic stuff.

I constantly had the impression they knew next to nothing.

In the end I got the insight that the problem wasn't that they didn't know much, but that they asked in an intrusive fashion.

Sure, requirements have to be clearified with the people who made them, but otherwise try to get the answer from the Internet.

  • Read the docs
  • Read the examples
  • Read the code
  • Search on StackOverflow
  • Look at other projects that use the thing you're learning

Ask a co-worker if anything is unclear OR you think that their answer would save you hours of online research (and you didn't bother them too often this day, haha)

190245 profile image

Most of my life is spent answering other people's questions.

So much so, that I have tasks assigned at the moment to create a simple micro service (http get, RPC then DB call & return a simple model). If I had dedicated time, including 100% test coverage, that's two days of work. At worst.

I told PMO to expect 4 weeks, and if they're bringing snacks for me daily, they might get it in 3 weeks. Unfortunately, the PMO estimate is genuinely my considered thoughts on delivery time.

javinpaul profile image
javinpaul Author

Hello K,
You are right, but there is a difference between a functional and non-functional requirement. Senior Dev knows both of them so obviously they ask less but they definitely ask the right questions, particularly to users who often don't have any idea what they want. Our job as professionals is also to lead them towards what they really want. Also, on junior developers, there will be some who ask questions and some don't, Mostly the devs who don't ask questions means they are afraid unlike they understood. So, we need to help them and encourage them to ask questions.