How did the stack overflow get its first traction

Does using documentation make me unprofessional as a developer?

Don't worry: you are a professional and act like one.

Professionals use all available resources to get the job done, including documentation, code written by others (libraries), help from experts, etc.

It is not unprofessional to consult an outside resource. Indeed, it would be unprofessional no Use documentation when you're not sure how something works.

Does your trust in the documentation show inexperience? Sure to a certain extent. But you are inexperienced . After just a few months on the job, you no longer know as much as someone with years of experience. It's just a fact and no one is likely to withhold it from you.

Even developers with 20 years of experience will check the documentation for a few things. This is always Part of a developer's toolkit.

Programming tests are something else.

Since they are designed to assess your own knowledge and skills, you often have to fill them out without documentation. This is not because the documentation is bad. It's just that in the artificial setting of a brief test trying to assess your overall ability, external resources can confuse this picture.

Typical programming tests, however, are more conceptual Nature. Typically, it is about your ability to create an algorithm, come up with a solution to a problem, and follow good coding practices. These aren't things you would get from the documentation anyway. Occasionally, you misplacing minor syntax details is unlikely to affect your judgment much.


Nothing is worse than a programmer writing a flawed solution to a common problem.

a CVn

@Chris Almost as bad, however, is an (even worse, if supposedly experienced) programmer who finds an O (n ^ 3) or O (n!) Solution to something that may even be in O (n log n) can be solved. This is especially true when the input data set cannot be trivial. The documentation can help you write the O (n ^ 3) well, but it cannot (that easily) help you find the O (n log n) approach.


And after writing software for more years than I want to mention, I STILL consult the documentation. (In fact, I have editor macros that open online documents for anything that contains man pages.) For one thing, there are quite a few things that just didn't exist in the beginning: CUDA, MPI, OpenMP, and probably stuff that someone invented only last month and that I may need soon. For another, I've found that knowing where to find what I need is much more useful than walking around and believing that I know everything :-)


That's a good answer. I would also like to add that a professional developer is constantly pushing the boundaries of his knowledge and skills. If you don't have to look it up often, it means you are unlikely to be working outside your comfort zone very often.