How to Get Un-Stuck

Sophie DeBenedetto on August 10, 2018

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Always find it reassuring when people say articulate this. It is one of the most demoralising experiences. While it might not be unique to software, (watch professional chef Brad Leone descend into existential dread trying to make pizzelle cookies) it certainly is something that every dev will face. I'm trying to get better at using the tools you list above and recognizing when I'm making things worse :)


Thanks for sharing! I’ve actually been on the lookout for content like this—examples of people in non-tech indristries struggling through similar challenges we face as devs.


I'm one of two technical people at my job. I find it therapeutic to rubber duck off non-technical people. I'm typically able to translate the problem into layman's terms so they can understand. By thinking bigger picture and simpler it helps lay out the problem and usually the solution is clear, just got to zoom out a bit.


I think I got the biggest amount of roadblocks, spinning my wheels and getting stuck last year doing Android development. The most frustrating experience I've had in my career so far cuz it was a mix of not having the right tools, not knowing the environment, not having anyone close to ask things to and having a quite short-for-the-project-scope deadline.

I'll keep these steps somewhere handy next time I encounter another block, think I naturally do most of these already but it only happens after the first 6 hours of struggle and head banging against the desk.


So true that it’s easier to follow steps like this after your first 6 hours of head banging! Just yesterday I was stuck on such a frustrating bug and only at the end of the day did I force myself to step back, relax and look at it with fresh eyes. Which is when I finally solved it :)


Thank you Sophie. Just checked out tunecore as I had never heard of it before and I came from the music background. Will be sending a few friends over to your site to check it out, looks great for independent artists.

Getting stuck with college assignments is terrible but to know that professionals are in the same boat gives great comfort that we can all work through it and once we take the right steps get our bugs fixed :)

Thanks again


Fantastic post with some great advice. It really works.

Was also great to learn the name of the situation when you explain something to a colleague and in so doing come up with the answer - Rubber Ducking. That's happened more than a few times :)


One strategy I use a lot is talking to myself. I try to explain the intent behind my code to myself and it mostly works.


What I suggest is to use some version system like git, to hold the costs low for experiments.


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I never would have thought that my favorite way of getting unstuck is called "rubber ducking"!! Loved this post

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