How to Ask Good Technical QuestionsSee HTML: Tips and Tricks for similar articles.
Being a techie means constant learning. Whether you’re a newbie web developer or an experienced programmer, you are bound to find yourself banging your head against a wall, trying to figure out why the new software you installed isn’t behaving correctly or why the program you just wrote is not working. Luckily, there are a lot of developers out there who are willing to help. But to get a good answer, you need to ask a good question. In the video, I give you some tips for how to ask good questions.
Being a techie means constant learning. Whether you’re a newbie web developer or an experienced Python programmer, you are bound to find yourself banging your head against a wall, trying to figure out why the new software you installed isn’t behaving correctly or why the program you just wrote is not working.
If you’re hoping to become a better developer, there are two essential skills you need:
- The first is to find answers to questions. That involves knowing the resources that are out there to help you and learning how to search them.
- The second is to ask good questions. This is the topic I’m going to cover now.
Here are six tips for asking good questions.
Tip Number 1: Clearly state what you are trying to do.
Don’t assume that the person or people who will responding to your question know what your goal is. State clearly upfront what you are trying to do.
I’m able to open the HTML file in Visual Studio Code. Now, I’m trying to open the file in the browser using the Open in Default Browser extension.
Tip Number 2: Explain your environment.
Say what operating system and software (including versions) you are using.
I’m on Mac BigSur 11.6 or I’m on Windows 10 Pro version 21H1. And I just got the latest version of VS Code (Version: 1.61.0).
Tip Number 3: If you’re trying to follow specific instructions, make it clear what instructions you’re following and where you got stuck.
I was following the instructions in the provided setup document (if it’s a web page, link to it). I’m stuck on step number 9 where it says to install the Open in Default Browser extension.
Tip Number 4: Explain what you have tried, what you expected to happen when you tried it, and what actually happened.
Learning to become a developer means learning to solve problems. So, if you run into a problem, try to solve it yourself first. You’ll learn a lot more if you figure it out yourself than if someone else tells you how to do it. But if you can’t solve it, explain what you tried when asking your question.
When I click the Install button to install the Open in Default Browser extension I get an error that says "getaddrinfo ENOTFOUND marketplace.visualstudio.com". What should I do?
Tip Number 5: Include screenshots.
Screenshots help ensure that the person answering your question sees what you see. Often, they’ll notice something that you hadn’t thought was important.
Tip Number 6: Keep your question as concise as possible, but don’t leave out anything that might be important. This can be tricky. You will get better with practice.
The art of asking a good question is an important skill for a developer, so when you have a chance to ask a question, think of it as an exercise and a learning experience and do your best to make it as easy as possible for the person your asking to help you.
Very good. That’s all the tips I have for now on asking questions. Best of luck to you.
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