by Jonathan Moody
If you think back to your childhood (or maybe the last Comicon) I am sure most of you can relate to the following conversation:
Sam: Superman would kick Batman’s butt! He can fly! He is super strong!
Jason: Batman has the Batmobile, and would just ….
Timmy: Hulk Hogan would body slam both of them and then run wild on Spiderman!
Everyone: Shut up Timmy!
I apologize to all of you comic books fans. I read my fair share of them as a kid, but not enough that I don’t mix up my facts. I do know that Hulk Hogan and Spiderman are not part of the DC Universe. Anyway, in the pantheon of IT professionals, there are Batmen, Batwomen, some Captain Americas, Wonder Women, and some J Jonah Jamesons (project managers). There are also a rare few coders out there who were apparently born on a distant planet. Our yellow sun imbues them with the power to code Assembly in Ed, to manipulate C pointers faster than a mainframe, and to leap tall buildings in a single bound. I don’t think I am going out on a limb when I say that for the majority of us, a sunny day just means more sunscreen.
Batman, however, is a superhero that most of us can strive to emulate. Batman gets the job done, but Batman uses tools. Batman has an IDE that he likes. Batman uses source code control in case he messes up. Batman unfortunately has to occasionally track his time for J Jonah Jameson. Batman automates repetitive tasks. And Batman uses Google!
We are launching a new website tonight. Months of work coming down to the last minute. What happens? An IE only bug gets reported by the testers at the last minute. Four of us drop all of our preparation tasks and spend a couple of hours digging into the problem. But guess what – <whisper>Someone already figured out the solution</whisper>. Yes, a quick Google search solved our problem in minutes.
A lot of us older developers started before there was a large internet base of information. Or maybe even before there was an internet (gasp). I have heard a lot of younger developers say they feel like searching for an answer is cheating. Why? We aim for reusable code to save time and improve quality. We automate to free up time for the harder problems. Why not search early and often for other people’s solutions.
While they are not substitutes for core problem solving and coding skills, make sure you are using the tools available to you in improving your output. Whether that be an IDE, a second pair of eyes, or Google.