Coding Noobie? Tips for making Stack Overflow your Best Friend while Learning to Code

  1. If you’re learning to code, start building your #StackOverflow‬ reputation now by upvoting every post that you find helpful. Once I hit the 400+ mark I started getting a lot more help on SO, and I’d estimate that at least half of those points came from upvoting Q & A’s. It’s also worth remembering that everyone who starts out has many of the same questions as you do – so try and take the time to share answers that you’ve figured out on your own. (One of my most popular answers is a simple jQuery solution I found when I was first starting out)
  2. Remember that it takes time to familiarize yourself with someone else’s specific situation and code, so it’s really important to respond to answers/comments while it’s still fresh in their mind or people are likely to just move on. But I learned that if I kept the momentum going, people would often become invested in helping me solve the problem (often spending hours explaining relevant concepts or crafting code snippets that I’d been struggling).
  3. Learn to appreciate where a lot of the “harshness” is coming from.  If you’ve ever tried answering questions posed on Quora and gotten frustrated by the author’s vagueness and lack of detail or focus, it’ll probably help you understand why people will give you a really hard time on SO for posting unclear or overly broad questions. As unpleasant as it feels, it’s a big part of why SO is such a powerful resource for developers.  Critiques on my phraseology also became a lot less frustrating to deal with when I realized that respondents weren’t necessarily native English speakers and/or have the best communication skills themselves.
  4. Breaking questions up into several smaller questions will often make it far simpler and faster to solve the problem at hand.
Coding Noobie? Tips for making Stack Overflow your Best Friend while Learning to Code