Black Lives Matter.

Asking better questions

Asking better questions, conferences, optional chaining, keeping your eyes healthy, and the fastest growing startup in Europe

Fri Jun 12 2020

🧠 On my mind this week

What I’ve been thinking about, and think you should be thinking about too.

Asking better questions

As a developer, you’re faced with solving problems all day everyday. The two most common types are usually around code implementation (ex: “how do I make x do y?”), and understanding requirements (ex: “what is x, what is y, and why does it matter?”). Regardless of the type of problem, one thing is certain about both– in order to be good at solving problems, you need to be good at asking questions.

When you’re first starting out coding, it’s hard to find answers to problems you’re stuck on because you likely don’t even know what to ask or how to frame the question. Next thing you know, you’ve fallen into the Stack Overflow pit of death because you posted your first “It doesn’t work” question with no code example":

So, how do you make sure you don’t end up like the guy above?

Don’t ask yes or no questions - you’ll likely end up with incomplete information. Use “where”, “what”, “how” types. This is easier for the person responding to your question to give some more thought to their answer.

Gather as many clues as you can. Be a detective 🔎. Let’s say you’re building out a form and are having troubles getting the form to submit. What’s a bad question to ask in this example? “The submit button isn’t working”.. Is that the actual problem? What is suppose to happen when that button gets clicked? It suppose to call a function that submits the form. Are we making sure we are even calling that function on click? Yes. Does that function exist? Oops.. typo. The point is here is to find and follow a trail and gather as much information as possible. Now when you go to StackOverflow for help, you can actually give context and and save people the time from having to ask the basic questions you should have asked yourself.

Be specific / Give as much context as possible - In addition to your actual question, be sure to give as much information as possible. You’ll want to include things like what you’ve tried already and what the outcome was, any error message that came through, versions of tooling you’re using, operating system, etc. The more details the better.

Provide code samples! This! Share your code. This goes back to the point of providing as much context and detail as possible. How much code should you provide? Good question! If you don’t know exactly where the issue lies, just tart small and isolate. This is where tip #2 of clue gathering comes in to play. Try to find the smallest chunk of code you think is the issue and go from there.

Proofread / think twice before asking/posting your question. Make sure the question you wrote or intend to ask is clear and concise. Edit for clarity, fix typos, and make sure you re-word anything confusing. Pair programming and helping someone squash a bug can be fun, but you also want to be mindful of the time the person who is helping you is putting in.

📰 News

What’s happening in the wonderful world of development...

June 16th and 17th, Developer Week Global is hosting a virtual conference. This is one of the biggest developer and engineering conferences out there. Tons to learn and discover. Normally the cheapest ticket is $150, but they have waived the fee completely! Get your free ticket here!

Jam Stack Conf happened virtually a few weeks back, and the videos are now available on Youtube. If you aren’t familiar with the JAM stack in general, read this WTF is JAM Stack?

🎓 Tutorials

Regardless of your experience, part of being a developer is continually learning. You've got to love it, and if ya don't then ya aught to learn to love it

Whether your new to coding, or have been in the game for a while, we all know how important it is to be good at JavaScript. One free course I recommend everyone take is Wes Bos’ JavaScript30. Each day you’ll build a small project that focuses on using different parts of JS. It’s quality 👌

Check it out here

🔗 Bookmark It!

Resources, tools, and other sites I think you'll find valuable

1. Still haven’t gotten a grasp on CSS grid? Learn it here.

2. Need to check if the technology you’re using is supported across an array of browsers? CanIUse is your go-to.

3. Looking for inspo, or want to just see the cool sh*t you can do with code? Check out Site Inspire.

Stack Yak Recommends

Products and services I love because they make life for me better as a developer

Felix Gray glasses - Eye health is extremely important, and if you are a developer or really anyone for that matter that spends a majority of their day behind a screen, you need to be doing something about it. Check out Felix Grays - they are the sunscreen for your eyes (no stinging I promise). I’ve been on this train and brand for years now, and wear them religiously when coding. If you are into wearing non prescriptions (they do have prescription lenses) out in public, they are stylish enough to do that too. My go-to are these.

💼 Jobs

Whether you are looking or not, it's always good to know what's out there. Below you’ll find some ones I think would be cool and why I think that.

Hopin - Virtual events platform (Remote)

Shameless plug, but my company Hopin is hiring! From Frontend to FullStack, to Performance and Scale. We are growing fast. 🚀No joke - Hopin is on its way to being the fastest growing startup in Europe for that matter. Albeit I’m a bit biased, our team is incredibly talented, and even though we’re 100% remote and pushing 50+ people, our culture is amazing – it feels as if you’re working in the same physically space as your teammates. I just love it.

We are also looking for non-engineering roles which you can find here.

Frontend Developer

Performance Engineer

Senior FullStack Engineer

DevOps Engineer

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