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Danger of Asking Co-workers Java Related Questions

 
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I once thought developers helped each other at work and junior level people could seek support from mentors. However, I have very different observations:

Only your buddies help you with your coding problems no matter what kind of stupid mistake you make. If you do not have a buddy at work, the co-workers either laugh at your questions or report to the Manager that you took too much of their time for answering/debugging your questions/problems.

It is not easy in this field as a fresher/starter.

Do you have similar experience?
 
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Dont worry about it. Your seniors were freshers once. Read books and try to solve problems on your own as much as you can. Reach out to your buddies when in trouble. When you begin solving problems on your own, your learning curve will pick up. Dont be discouraged if some one laughs at you or reports something ( both of which are rude ). Good luck
 
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Natalie

Well The company here I work for has a very good working culture. All people help each other. It doesnt mater if someone is a fresher or not. everybody does have some difficulties and problems in coding in some stage of work so everyone understands it and tries to help in abest possible way. Even I can take help from senior project manager also on my problems. No issues

Amit
 
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Well,

Ask good questions and that's my suggestion. I am a less experienced guy myself but asking good questions will certainly be helpful and people will be willing to help you. Don't turn them off with your question...

  • Don't pretend like you know when you are already asking a question (like don't say, "Yes that's what I thought but I just wanted to confirm.")
  • Just listen to what the other person is saying (don't end the sentences even if you know the ending, people really get p****d off if you do that)

  • For ex:
    =======
    Senior: When you press Ctrl + Space.... (he's trying to convey a point)
    Junior: yeah, yeah, yeah... I know.... Eclipse shows it's content-assist (wrong, don't interrupt)

    I know a guy who just nods his head even when he doesn't have a clue about what me and my other co-worker are talking about... It's better not to give any reactions... It's bad to give wrong gestures... It's better to say, "I frankly didn't understand what you guys are talking, could you help me understand that better" than saying "Yes I get what are you saying... Java is faster than C++"

    Don't act too smart, you will be fine wherever you go... And don't mind helping others if you can.... Helping should always be both ways...

    I hope I was able to convey what I am trying to explain...

    Thanks,
    Srikanth
    [ November 24, 2006: Message edited by: Srikanth Raghavan ]
     
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    This is an interesting issue.

    On the other hand, what should one do if a co-worker becomes too dependant on your help?

    I had & now sometimes still have situations where I sit with a person and need to dictate everything they need to do while they are coding what I verbally tell them, because they seem not to be able to do it alone. Or I write psuedo code for them. And they are "not" freshers. Keep in mind, I have my own assignments pending. At one point, I thought writing tech specs would help, but no one wants to read them.

    In the one past situation, after a few years, I tried to pull away from my co-worker's dependancy, after realizing it was very exhausting. Because it was so bad that, most times than not, it ended up taking 2 developers to complete her assignment, her & the whoever helped her, most of the time me. I tried to encourage independant research & debugging techniques, but the person ended up leaving development all together and accused me of ruining her career because I didn't tell her earlier that she wasn't cut out for this field.

    I certainly don't mind helping others because most times I learn along with them, but sometimes it does get excessive.

    Where can the helper draw the line without making the helpee feel betrayed or ignored?
    [ November 24, 2006: Message edited by: Lulu Carr ]
     
    Srikanth Raghavan
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    I tried to encourage independant research & debugging techniques, but the person ended up leaving development all together and accused me of ruining her career because I didn't tell her earlier that she wasn't cut out for this field. [shocked]





    Sometimes the person asking the help forget that they are asking someone to help. They forget or they don't realise that the other person is doing a favor. That's the thing...

    Where can the helper draw the line without making the helpee feel betrayed or ignored?



    Basically my answer would be to help the ones who deserve. If they seem too arrogant, just tell them politely that you can't explain him/her. That should slap his/her face. And hopefully the next time they will know that they are asking a favor.
     
    Sheriff
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    These are good points.
    It may be that you or someone before you has used up all the good will in the senior developers at your company.

    A lot of the points both in our HowToAskQuestionsOnJavaRanch
    and in the original, which can be read here, could also be applied to asking co-workers for help.

    Most people I know are happy to help out when a good question comes there way but get very irritated when someone interrupts them with a question about something that is clearly spelled out in the API, specs, or documentation for the technology in question.

    Think back and try to remember the questions you asked.
    Were they questions that could have been answered by reading the API or spec for the technology in question. If you type that same question into Google would you be able to find the answer (or at least a good hint) within the first page or two of links? Was the question something that you could have found out yourself with a small standalone program or two?

    If so, the senior who rebuked you may have been doing you a favor by not helping you.

    Have you gone to that senior before for help and has that senior helped you by giving you a link to the API? If so, it would be wise of you to make sure the answer to your next question can't be found in the API.

    If all this grappling around for information seems like a big waste of time compared with just asking someone who can give you the answer right away, remember two things.

    1.) This time spent is an investment in your future. Juniors get paid less because it is understood that they will take longer to get things done. Use that time to learn the most important skill needed in IT which is knowing how to find information.

    2.) To someone working on a complex issue, a question that takes thirty seconds to answer can actually cause a five or ten minute interruption in their output. This isn't always easy to understand until you've been in "the zone" and then ripped out to answer a question that is completely unrelated to what you're working on. If, when that person's concentration is broken, the question turns out to be something that could have been answered by reading the API or with a quick Google search, that person is justified in their anger. The time you've saved (time a a junior developer's wage) is minuscule compared with the amount of work you may have just interrupted.

    Sometimes RTFM is the kindest answer.
    [ November 25, 2006: Message edited by: Ben Souther ]
     
    Deepak Bala
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    Sometimes RTFM is the kindest answer.



    I would just prefer RTM.

    This isn't always easy to understand until you've been in "the zone"



    haha ! Ben I cant believe there is a wiki entry for that. Its true though. It can be irritating when you are deeply into your work and forgot to have lunch when some one pops in and says "Hey what does System.out.println() return ?".

    Or I write psuedo code for them. And they are "not" freshers. Keep in mind, I have my own assignments pending.



    Ahh how true ! This insires me so much i need to start a thread on it
     
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    A.) Your co-workers are jerks

    or

    B.) You ask bad questions

    My general rule of thumb is anyone gets to ask the same question twice. However, until they hit that limit, I'll answer most any question they ask.

    For the more basic stuff that is easily researched I'll usually recommend some websites. I do tend to answer those basic questions and then give them the website(s) as a future reference, with a strong implication they should research for themselves first.

    I also understand what it's like to be in "the zone" and then be interrupted. Regardless, I see it as my responsibility as a senior developer to mentor anyone junior to me and my responsibility as a teammate to help those that are also senior. I've also had a situation come up where the architect was asking me a lot of questions because he was new on the project and needed to get up to speed.

    From my experience, I think people who try to avoid answering questions don't appreciate the investment they are making in the team by taking time to answer. Those who feel they can belittle others because they have more experience are probably insecure.

    I don't have time for junior developers to blow up a project. I'd much rather take the time to answer questions to avoid losing a lot more time later.
     
    Srikanth Raghavan
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    The best answer you could give is: "Go! Figure it out!"... Just kidding. Jason is absolutely right.
     
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