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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Leap from Beginner to Intermediate Developer - PART II

TIP # 2: Finding Information Technique

Most of the time re-usable components and sample code are available on internet for the module which you are planning to develop. Being a good developer is not just your skill, but your skill at finding information. An expert programmer is the person who is expert at using a variety of reference tools and documentation to find out how to achieve their goals. One has to be good at looking at a problem, figuring out approximately what is wrong, and being able to quickly find the solution. The real talent is knowing how to rapidly research and turn your findings into usable information.

Modern languages and development frameworks are too large for most people to remember much of them. As a result, your ability to get work done is often dependent upon your ability to perform research. Unfortunately, knowing how to find accurate, high-quality information is more than just typing a few words into your favorite search engine. The research (research of R&D) will be very effective and result oriented against Re-Search (repetitive search) if performed with right approach. You need to understand techniques, tactics and strategies involved in the research.

The techniques you need to learn are the advanced search systems of your favorite search engine. How many of us really use “Advanced search” option of our favorite search engine during our research? Have we ever spent time in reading and understanding “Advanced Search Tips” of search engine? You need to learn things such as the search operators, how to filter results (negative keywords, domain restrictions etc.), what role word order plays, and more.

You should learn tactics such as knowing how to approach any particular search and knowing what you should actually look for. Errors are easy — just look for the error code — but keyword selection on many searches is much more difficult. If you are searching on error messages, instead of just copying the entire error string, you might want to add keywords of the error source, language, context of the error message etc to help search engine return the best result.

Regarding strategies, you need to learn things such as what search engines to use. General purpose search engines are not always the right answer. Which sites to visit before going to a general purpose search engine, and even which message boards to look for existing post regarding your problem.


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