Time Traveling StackOverflow

There's a story I often share with Junior coders. It's about the time when I was searching for a solution to a rather specific problem.

I searched and searched, but was having a hard time getting my key words just right.

My "Google-Fu," - the skilled craft of using Google and all it's search modifiers was being pushed to it's limits. The solution was out there, I just needed to find the right terms.

I stepped away, thought about my problem, I drew it out, I generalized it and made it less specific. Finally, I returned to the keyboard with a slightly modified set of keywords.

Almost immediately I found a StackOverflow with the exact solution I needed. The post was 10 years old, but the answers were timeless.

I was also relieved and impressed that no one had run into the same issue, and it hadn't been asked more often. The question was like studying history and relating to the struggles of a bygone era.

Except, re-reading the question, something was also slightly off. Almost Twilight Zone-ish. Taking a closer look, again, I realized the author of the question was me. 

10 years prior, I'd struggled to find a solution - asked StackOverflow, and now here I was - magical with the same specific problem parameters. I was bumping into my past-self.

There's no harm in having to Google the same things regularly. You've offloaded your memory & retention to Google. Asking Google is the same as asking your brain (perhaps more efficient)! Google isn't just for researching - its your catalog of solutions. To use Google effectively you must have a strong grasp of the problem.

The moral being: the goal isn't to be the developer who has answers to all questions.

The goal is to be the developer who knows how to correctly ask the question.


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