Ilona Codes

Software Engineer @Zenjob in Berlin 👩‍💻 Blogger 📝 Frontend Development | Psychology | Teamwork

5 Steps in Programming to Keep You From Getting Stuck

Getting stuck in a programming problem is a very common thing.
For example, when you are learning to code or a new programming language or face a new problem, you have never solved before.
Doubtless, the best way to approach the problem is first to understand it thoroughly.
But the fact is, at some point or the other, you will find yourself frustrated.
And that's a part of the coding life-circle:
Challenge to solve -> Find a solution -> Get Frustrated -> Try harder and Go crazy -> Take a break -> Moment of Enlightenment -> Solve and Repeat.
So I really think it is better to try and deal with frustration than try not to be.
If you are stuck with something, it just probably means that you're overheated trying to think for a solution.
Take a break, calm yourselves down. Clear the clutter in your mind and start over by following the next steps to shift from "Try harder" mode to "Moment of Enlightenment" faster and before going crazy about the problem:

Rubber Duck Method

First, try fully understand the problem you are solving. A time-tested and adorable way to do this is to use the rubber duck method. Often enough, talking through a problem out loud will lead to a lightbulb moment. If it will not, then explaining the problem to a rubber duck is at least a great way to practice clear communication so that when a colleague gives you a few minutes of their valuable time, you can get right to the point.

Stack Overflow

Another step is posting a question to Stack Overflow. This is the most preferred and favorite method for many developers because, at some point in time, the familiar problem with the same context was already solved a while ago.

Use debugger

Debugging is a matter of reducing uncertainty–once you know where the bug is and how to fix it or where the solution might be applying to approach the problem, then making the change is (usually) trivial. The most efficient way to reduce uncertainty depends on what you already know.

Googling things

No one knows about everything, and it would be a waste of time to memorize things you do not use that often. So every developer ends up googling on a semi-regular basis. Herewith, it is vital to know what to google. It means, having a good idea of what approach should be taking and what bits of knowledge to look up to get the pertinent information to solve the problem.

Ask others for help

In a work environment, someone else has may have come across the same problem and can give you useful tips or even the full explanation of how to approach the task. Because engineers are humble in general.
Moreover, the value of programming to a business is the finished product - the faster it gets done, the more profit will be made. Struggling alone might waste not only your time but also money of the company.
The best junior programmers are those who never hesitate to reach out to their peers for advice. The best senior programmers are the ones who willingly share their knowledge and mentor their junior colleagues.
When learning to code or develop software, websites, or apps, we usually will get stuck with a problem or a bug that refuses to be resolved, no matter what we do.
And if you are looking for tips that might be helpful to find the solution you need and not only about coding, you will find them in my weekly newsletter (+bonus networking cheat sheet).
Besides, keep reminding yourself that the great thing about computers, is that they always do "exactly" what you tell them to do.
So, if they are not doing what you expect them to do, work out what you are telling them to do. Once you know that, you are halfway to solving the problem.

Tags

Comments

More by Ilona Codes

Topics of interest