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