Do you remember when you were a kid and an adult was trying to help you with your homework and invisibility you would look at that adult and say, “that’s not how the teacher taught us how to do it!” ?
Learning anything knew can feel like that sometimes.
I love learning, I can’t see that changing any time soon. There is one things that I have been confront with time and time again when learning something new, the person who is teaching me, take their own knowledge for granted.
I should say first of all, I am grateful to all my teachers. Whether is is someone I’m in the classroom with or someone who has posted a tutorial online. Or the cream of the crop, random people online willing to help me run through the problem!
What I mean by “take it for granted”, though is that there is often times gaps between what is being taught and what the student is supposed to know. There are things that have become so imbedded and engrained in the teacher’s knowledge they don’t even realize people would have questions about it anymore.
I should also say, I know I’ve been guilty of this as well. I remember I was training someone and they asked me, “how do you know that?” My reply, “I just do”.
I feels ineffable, because you have spend so much time with something it has becomes second natures. We forget the person doing the learning, doesn’t have the knowledge that we do.
There are also assumptions we all make during our learning and since you don’t know there are alternative, or have been told to enough times to,“take it on faith that it works” you keep those assumptions to yourself and don’t always question them. These assumption sneak up on us and sometimes we don’t even know how we formed them. I find this funny for myself, because I’ve been told many times that I, “ask too many questions.” Yet, here I am again to tell you, that is never true. ALWAYS ask questions.
Of course, that bring us to the solution, trying to ask they RIGHT question. Trying to ask the right questions when you’re learning something new is hard.
How to be great at asking coding questions
Print this out and read it now. Then post it on your wall. Each time you have a question, read this again until it…
You have enough knowledge to get into trouble, but not enough to really solve the problem you are trying to deal with. Your vocabulary is not quite matching up to your instructors, (which is a whole other thing, learning things always comes with an new vocabulary). You’re brain tries to connect the dots, but is having a hard time since it, “not how they taught me” or, the part the drive me crazy, there is a puzzle piece missing. You know it’s missing, but you have no idea what it is. Or my favorite, it’s a question that never occured to you until you hit that specific problem.
I’ve recently experiences this again when working a massive front the back coding project. The front end makes sense, the back end makes sense, it was that gooey in between bit that I was trying to solve, this is the part that I felt like there was many assumptions on my part and my instructors. I learned a great deal during the process, (which I will come back to again later), but this is the thing: KEEP ASKING QUESTIONS. Ask questions in different ways. Google things, get the right language to ask the right questions. In the end, asking the right question is a magical thing! There are streamers and balloons and confetti, maybe even cake! When you are able to make that connection, it is a wonderful thing and should be celebrated, but don’t stop there. Keep learning, become someone who can teach and make sure the question you had get answered.