So in this Guide, We’ll Answer an important question that usually students and newcomers think “is it okay to google while coding?” an Expert View. There are a lot of questions like: “Am I a bad programmer if I have to Google a lot to look for syntax/documentations and functions?”, “Can programmers work entirely without Googling anything?”, “I can’t program without using Google; am I bad coder or beginner?”, “Does it make a programmer weak for using Google or Stack Overflow when coding?”, “Are you a bad programmer if you look at documentation often instead of having the libraries memorized?”
SO now let’s see Is it okay to Google while coding? What do Experts do?
I cannot say this about an expert programmer and I wonder what criteria you can use to classify someone as an expert programmer, but I have been programming for the last 3 years and I have googled a lot. You do not google the exact problem that you are trying to solve but its more about the small things related to it.
For example the to check whether a particular function is in-built.To see how to use some external libraries.
Sometimes to find out the more optimized way of doing a task.
Quite often you will have to use something which might be new to you, you are not going to read the documentation just to see how it can be used from your program.
When you are solving a stand alone problem then you would not google a lot but when you are working on a project that uses a lot of different technologies you end spending a lot of your time googling things.
So what so Expert Programmers Think about This?
The other day, I was having coffee with one of my closest friends, who is a brilliant programmer. He told me something amazing.
“You know, I just don’t think most people are curious at all.”
I was intrigued and asked him to explain.
“Well, a lot of people around me don’t even look stuff up in Google.”
I was flabbergasted.
He explained that a lot of times people will ask him things and he will turn around and just Google for the answer and then tell them. He runs a small software company and had to explain this to his people.
I was blown away.
He then explained how other friends and family just aren’t very often curious enough to look anything up themselves on Google or in books or anything.
For a bit of context, both he and I read a lot of books, write a lot of code, and spend hours each day using Google. Both of us are successful, expert-level programmers at this point.
It was an enlightening conversation and we both came to the conclusion that one of our real super powers is our ability to use Google and books and other sources of information to solve problems. And critically … we are both curious enough to do that for ourselves!
The average person often isn’t curious enough to even go on Quora and ask a question. Now, you might think that’s crazy (being that you are reading this on Quora), but consider this super interesting fact …
A popular writer sells thousands of books, or maybe tens or hundreds of thousands of books (fewer than say 100 ever sell a million), a popular Quora writer gets millions of article views, but a popular television or movie personality will be watched and listened to BILLIONS AND BILLIONS of times.
Pick something like The Avengers. Those movies have been watched billions of times by now.
That is a long-winded way of saying that people would rather be sitting down watching a movie or TV show than they would do just about anything else with their free time.
So, most people aren’t nearly as curious as they are willing to watch TV and movies.
However, the handful of people who are curious about things have a tremendous knowledge advantage over basically everyone else. While everyone else is being entertained, the curious are using Google, YouTube, etc. to learn things and solve problems and ultimately improve their life.
Programmers are no exception to this. The curious ones use Google a lot more than the non-curious programmers. Thus, they get a knowledge advantage and are more likely to become the experts.
Those of us who have reached a level of expertise in the field of software development all have a pretty high effectiveness at using Google, Stack Overflow, and traditional books to build a knowledge advantage.
At this particular point in history, that knowledge advantage is extremely valuable.
-Brian(Expert Programmer and a entrepreneur)
Is it okay to Google while coding? What do Experts do?
It depends on what it means to “google things”.
If you mean using Stack Overflow as a reference to find how to do something in a particular language, then yes, all the time; especially if you learn multiple languages, you’ll often forget how to do a particular thing in a language. If you mean to look up the documentation for an API or framework that you’re currently using, then yes. You might be the greatest coder in the world, but if you’re using an API you’ve never used before, you have to look it up.