Real SWEs, how often do you look up documentation or stack overflow?

Sep 13, 2019 8 Comments

Currently working as a ML scientist. Came from research background. No formal CS education. I learn to code by 'reverse engineering' ( run each line and see what happens ).

I'm trying to benchmark myself against real SWEs in terms of my coding skill. Even though I've had almost 4 YOE of coding in Python (and 10 YOE if you consider bash scripting), I still look up documentation and stack overflow quite often. Sometimes I also test code interactively (especially if it's a new thing) to make sure it's doing what I think it is. Many times once I figured something out, I write a function/class, save it in my repo. And if you ask me how I did it a few mths down the road, I would not be able to code it up from scratch from memory.

Am I just a bad coder? I have this impression that real SWE just code everything from memory without looking at external sources.

What are the signs that you are a great SWE? What are the signs that you suck? How do I improve myself?


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TOP 8 Comments
  • Charles Schwab / Data HvGo52
    A sign of a great SWE is being able to get things done without upsetting too many people (delays, unexpected bugs, etc.).

    Benchmarking yourself is just going to lead to unnecessary stress. You do you. As long as you keep building on your skill set, you’re doing just fine.

    Who doesn’t constantly google issues and land on stackoverflow? It’s literally the point of them.

    I can honestly saw that it takes me a decent amount of time to digest code I wrote periods ago because once I get a project completed, I move on to the next one. That and my comments are weak.
    Sep 13, 2019 0
  • Microsoft x4ls
    I look up how to do things all the time and I’m a reasonable successful principal engineer with a CS background.

    Why keep an entire languages syntax in your head when you can save those cycles for understanding your codes architecture or product scenarios instead? Syntax is easy to look up 😀
    Sep 13, 2019 0
  • Microsoft AYOQ08
    Real SWEs post a poll on Blind.
    Sep 13, 2019 0
  • Apple G218d245
    May be not always syntax, but we look up stackoverflow all the time in order to find out the best way of doing certain things. However, what real SWEs really care about is software architecture, code readability and maintainability. We don’t code just for the heck of it. Sometimes not coding at all turns out to be very good decisions since a good swe should always push back against crazy feature asks that his current code base can’t support in a generic way. Also, not all but most of us understand what’s happening under the hood in a computer system when we write code which helps us optimize performance. You have to understand that writing code is easy, but writing good code isn’t.
    Sep 13, 2019 0
  • Amazon BlingKing
    I look it up all the time. Multiple times an hour - especially when I feel that something can be done better. I do try reading documentation and having my own idea of what is the best possible way to solve it before I reconcile it with the wisdom of the crowd. Worked on at least 5 languages in production with many years of experience
    Sep 13, 2019 0
  • 3D Systems / R&D tds70
    StackOverflow is the new RTFM.
    Sep 13, 2019 0
  • eBay buyit
    I feel like a majority of real SWEs won’t waste time on blind to even see your post.
    Sep 13, 2019 0
  • Oracle pzd
    About once every 🌲5️⃣0️⃣ seconds.
    Sep 13, 2019 0


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