Hello Fellow Codenewbies 👋,
I'm Ayu, a self-taught web developer based in The Netherlands.
I was learning web development alone in the first year of my learning journey. My only best friend was Google. Whenever I got stuck understanding a concept or debugging, I turned to Google. But sometimes, I got so frustrated because I couldn't find any answer and had no one to ask.
I heard we can have the opportunity to make acquaintance with other developers by going to meetups or conferences. But it was not an option because I had a two-year-old who I couldn't bring along or leave behind. Also, as a stay-at-home mom, I didn't have such a fancy budget to attend conferences.
But then the pandemic hits. Many conferences went virtual and free, and communities started to grow everywhere on the internet. I found some online communities and became part of them. And I began to get active in some of the communities and learn about the power of community, especially when it comes to supporting and helping each other.
Before Asking For Help
Before you ask for help from the community, try to find the solutions yourselves. It's always a good practice to find solutions yourselves. Because, of course, you don't want to ask something that anyone can find the answer to on Google.
Google and Stack Overflow
Google your coding problem. There are some methods on how to Google effectively.
If you encounter an error, you can search for it by copy-pasting the error message. Most of the time, you can find the solution from people who experienced the same error.
You can also use Stack Overflow to find a solution to your coding problem.
Read your code line by line
Go through your code once again and read them line by line. If necessary, you want to write your code on a piece of paper to see what they're doing step by step.
Look also if there is any typo or missing character in your code.
Fun fact: Do you know that most errors come from typos?
Get away from your screen
If you can't solve your problem after half an hour, maybe it's time to refresh your brain. Take 5 to 10 minutes to get away from your screen. Get a drink, do some stretch or take a walk.
Sometimes it helps to rest your brain so that you can come up with some ideas for solutions.
Asking For Help From Community
After you've done all possible things to unstuck yourself and still get stuck, it is time to ask for help from the community.
You might wonder, "How to start asking questions?"
My article, Guide To Asking Questions About Code, can answer that question.
Now, where can you ask these questions?
Twitter has been the biggest tech community. You might want to consider it if you're not on Twitter yet.
I have found some lovely individuals and fantastic supportive online communities through Twitter.
In my experience, many people helped me answer some questions I threw on Twitter.
You can tweet your coding question using online IDE such as CodePen or CodeSandbox or a tool like ray.so to capture and share your code.
Discord, Slack, or Forums
If you're still learning, some online courses provide Discord or Slack for students to connect and support each other. You can benefit from these text chat apps to ask questions and help you get unstuck.
And some others, such as FreeCodeCamp, use forums to ask questions.
Many tech communities also use these mediums to connect, share information, and ask questions or help.
To give you some insight, I'm part of Virtual Coffee, an intimate community for all developers at all stages. In Virtual Coffee, we have a channel dedicated to asking for help. And this is one of the most active channels. Some members ask for help, and others jump in by giving input and resources, even offering their time to pair programs to help with problem-solving.
You might want to find and join such safe and supportive communities. You can find them online through Googling or Twitter. EddieHub and Women Who Code are other supportive communities on top of my head.
Tech blogging community platforms
You can go to Hashnode, DEV, CodeNewbie, or any other similar platforms. Search for some articles that could potentially answer your problems. If you cannot find them, you can create a post and ask your questions. Use relevant hashtags, and add #help and #discuss to make people aware that you need some help.
One of the reasons I love being in tech is its community. I'm continuously amazed by so many amazing people willing to help and support each other.
A safe and supportive community is the best place to ask for help when you get stuck in coding, even beyond. You can make friends and have a support system. But keep the chain going by giving back to your community. Help other members to get unstuck whenever you can, or help with other things to support your community.
If you know any other supportive tech community, give them a shoutout in the comment below 😄.
Thank you for reading!
Last, you can find me on Twitter. Let's connect! 😊