Getting help when you have a problem with your code
Self-help. Free help. Paid Help.
No matter how experienced we are in development, there will be times when we find ourselves in a fix. However, we can get better at knowing how to get help.
Locating the problem
The first step to solving a code problem is knowing where it is located in your hundred or thousand lines of code. This can be done by using a debugger to set breakpoints in our code and examine variables while the code is executing. Peppering console.logs in our functions can be another way of finding out where the problem is located.
Finding a solution
Knowing where the problematic code lies doesn’t mean that knowing how to resolve the issue. Google is our best friend in such circumstances.
After trying our best to troubleshoot, we may still be stuck. In that case, we will need to turn to external help. This can be the people we know e.g. our mentors, work colleagues or friends who are developers.
It can be difficult to ask for help from people we know if we keep approaching the same people repeatedly. If you are working on your secret project (aka moonlighting), the last thing you want to do is ask your colleagues’ help.
It is thus not surprising to know that there is a demand for developers to get help from developers. Just look at Stack Overflow where
Each month, over 50 million developers come to Stack Overflow to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers
Interesting right? We can post code snippets on Stack Overflow and wait for someone will come by and enlighten us.
The local community is another source of help that we can approach. For instance, people at Meetups tend to be pretty helpful. There are even some Meetups that have incorporated a session for people to seek help from.
Else, there is the paid option where we pay someone to look through our code and solve the problem. While this can be expensive, it may be something that we are willing to pay when we need an answer quickly.
Regardless of the type of the help we get, it is important that we should always rely on ourselves first before approaching others. Think of it this way, if someone were to ask you to help (for free) without bothering to troubleshoot himself or herself, why should you bother?
PS: If you rely on free help, it is good karma to repay the help we get by paying it forward!