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Rukia
Rukia

Posted on • Updated on

Working Smarter: 5 Steps To Getting Unstuck with Rukia Sheikh-Mohamed

I am a software engineer based in the Twin Cities, MN who is passionate about all things tech. During my day job I work as full-stack dev at Soona. I enjoy talking about tech at local and national events/conferences, creating cool stuff on the side, and writing tech articles to share useful information and tips. During my free time I enjoy spending time with my baby boy, traveling the world, and creating fun DIYs.

Beginning:

  • A personal story from my first tech job that change my outlook on ""there is no such thing as a dumb question.""
  • Sharing the story on how the types of questions I asked negatively affected my superior's perception of my tech skills.
  • State what my talk will consist of: addressing 5 steps with examples of asking effective questions on the internet(stack overflow, medium, google in general) and to team members.

Middle:

  • Walk through an example of a technical problem that might get you stuck (with code samples) and how to go through the 5 steps to asking the right questions to get to a solution.
  • For example 1. Start by doing your own troubleshooting (through the internet, StackOverflow, Medium, Youtube, etc, reading error messages).
  • 2. Make sure question is specific for example instead of asking ""why am i getting a migration error during rollback-rails"" to ""how to correctly rollback migration column in rails"".
  • Go through each of the 5 steps and finally get to the working solution.

End:

  • Summarizing 5 steps and take aways
  • Ending with story from personal experience how using these steps have helped me work smarter and decreased levels of imposter syndrome by not feeling my questions were dumb questions

Here is a download link to the talk slides (PDF)


This talk will be presented as part of CodeLand:Distributed on July 23. After the talk is streamed as part of the conference, it will be added to this post as a recorded video.

Glossary:

  • Ruby on Rails: a backend language for web applications
  • VueJs: an open-source javascript framework
  • rspec: a test tool written in ruby on rails
  • capybara: (not the animail ๐Ÿ˜œ) a library that allows us to easily simulate how a user interacts with our app
  • devise: a rails gem used for authentication
  • system test: allows us to test user interaction for various test cases
  • factory_bot: using as a fixtures replacement, which means it helps us produce test data

Top comments (45)

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omarkhatib profile image
Omar

Proud of you Rukia :)
I am sure that you are an inspiration of many Muslim girls that know you .

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shazena profile image
shazena

As a Muslim girl, I certainly am inspired by Rukia! I actually haven't seen much software engineers who also wear a scarf and it's just inspiring to see someone like me who has made it!

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omarkhatib profile image
Omar

Unfortunately , it's true.

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rukiaasm profile image
Rukia

aww I'm so happy to hear that Shazena! We gotta be the change for the younger generation! ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿพ

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rukiaasm profile image
Rukia • Edited

Thank you so much Omar!! I really appreciate it!! This comment really meant a lot to me!

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nicolehopkins7 profile image
Nicole Hopkins

Love that, "survivor of the first 6 months of 2020" lol

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rukiaasm profile image
Rukia

lol yes Nicole ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ™…๐Ÿพโ€โ™€๏ธ

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stefcodes profile image
Stefanie Davis

Asking good questions really is a skill!

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kbatuigas profile image
kbatuigas

Re: Step 4, I worked tech support / customer service for many years, and the "what did you see + what did you expect to see" way of framing things can be really key in getting (and providing!) the right kind of help.

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digitaldimarie profile image
๐Ÿ’ŽDi Marie๐Ÿ’Ž

Such a helpful way of handling the issue!

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katedam profile image
Kate Dameron

I have lost count of how many times step 4 has gotten me unstuck without even sending the message. Just the act of writing out the problem in detail and all the things I've tried will often just set off a lightbulb moment for me and I'll realize what I forgot/did wrong/haven't tried yet, etc. This is a great talk!

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rukiaasm profile image
Rukia

yesss Kate!! That's why I LOVE step 4! Glad you enjoyed it.

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cnickels21 profile image
Chase Nickels • Edited

In my experience, 9 times out of 10, as soon as I ask for help...I figure it out before they can answer my question! What a great talk, and completely valid in reference to struggling with writing code.

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rukiaasm profile image
Rukia

Ah soo true Chase!! Glad you liked it.

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chernic3 profile image
Cheray

A survivor!

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clmccork profile image
Crystal

I've been looking forward to this talk all day! :)

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fizzboop profile image
Byonca H.

Big +1 for including what you have tried. This helps narrow down the search for a solution.

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kbatuigas profile image
kbatuigas

Yesss, this!

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digitaldimarie profile image
๐Ÿ’ŽDi Marie๐Ÿ’Ž

I really enjoy the gifs that support the info, Rukia. Excellent work on the whole presentation!

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rukiaasm profile image
Rukia

Thank you Di. I love GIFs so glad you enjoyed it!

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joshpuetz profile image
Josh Puetz

Shoutout to Minnesota nice! This is such wonderful information for developer of ALL skills levels to rely upon! Thank you!

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rukiaasm profile image
Rukia

lol, Minnesota nice ๐Ÿ˜…! Thank you Josh.

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tracycss profile image
Jane Tracy ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿฝโ€๐Ÿ’ป

As a code newbie, I was waiting for this talk. So far I have learned to how google and use stackoverflow.

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rukiaasm profile image
Rukia

Glad you benefited from it Jane!!

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torianne02 profile image
Tori Crawford

I recently landed my first software engineering role, so this has been so incredibly useful to me. Thank you so much, Rukia.

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rukiaasm profile image
Rukia

Congrats on your new role Victoria! So glad you enjoyed the talk. You're very welcome.

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data_queen profile image
Casey Lynette

RE: Step 2: "over-specifying" is something I had to learn the hard way. 'Be less specific' and know what you're really looking for is key!

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Sharetta Martin

Loved it! I seem to stay stuck! Thank you Rukia for sharing these tips! Whew!

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rukiaasm profile image
Rukia

I'm an expert at being stuck ๐Ÿ˜ฌ so i feel you! Glad you enjoyed it Sharetta!