Friday, November 7, 2014

On Googling, or This Post Is a Drinking Game Where You Have To Drink Every Time I Say "Pretty Awesome"

I've heard people say that coding is very empowering, and my experience agrees with that assessment. It's a pretty awesome feeling to MAKE something with your own two lobes. Of your brain. Like making something with your own two hands, but with your brain instead. Architecting logic and working within constraints to make the computer bend to your will? So rad.

But, honestly, what I'm finding to be the very most empowering is the tenacious googling that being a developer requires. In the beginning, when I would get stuck, I would immediately ask for help. Very often, the response was something along the lines of "Did you google the error message?" When I got an internship with Rails Girls Summer of Code this past summer, the congratulations I got from pro dev friends were something along the lines of "Now you get to google error messages for money!!!" 

I started to catch on that my first step when I'm stuck, is to google the heck out of the error message. But it's not just googling it one time and if an exact match doesn't come up, then, shucks. No, what I've learned is that I may or may not find something helpful immediately. And I might not realize right away whether a search result is helpful. Slowly, I've come to be much better at the googling of error messages. Now I google, try a few results, then change search terms. Lather, rinse, repeat. 

I don't always find an answer to my problem, but I've definitely increased my percentage of success. And, more importantly, my inner monologue has changed from something like "Omg what is going on?! I WILL NEVER KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON!" to something more like "Omg what is going on?! I WILL NEVER - no, I can probably figure it out." And, often I can. Pretty awesome, no?

Even more empoweringer is that this mentality has seeped into my civilian life. Problems I never really dug into because I couldn't see how to fix them suddenly seem manageable. I just think, "No, I can probably figure it out" and then I go tenaciously google the heck out of those problems. I can say that at least two such instances have changed my life significantly:

1) Finding more interesting things to play on my guitar, by learning how to do different things with my guitar. Now I can do this:

Watch at least to the :30 mark to really see how badass I have become.

2) Hemming jeans without them looking weird! Seriously, this short-legged person can think of few things greater than good-looking jeans of appropriate length. All thanks to the internet! Check it:

Okay, fine. I didn't hem the jeans. My mom did. But she only knows how because of me and the interwebs.

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