I think one of my biggest weakness as a developer is that I rarely ask for help. Many times, I have spent hours trying to figure out a problem when all I needed to do was ask someone.
I started my career being the only developers of a small company. Back then, I had not heard about the importance of networking. So I had almost nobody I could turn too if I needed some help. I had no choice but to become very self-reliant. I learned pretty fast that Google was my best friend. Ok, back then it was AltaVista. I became very confident that I could find a solution to any problems I encounter. It was probably never the best solution, but I usually got what I needed done.
Today, I have a decent network. I am surrounded by very smart developers at work and online. If I have a problem, I can ask a coworker, ask on Twitter, on in IRC and chances are someone will know the answer and be willing to help me. I can also bounce ideas with those people and come out smarter out of it. Sadly, I almost never ask for help.
Maybe I got in the habit of finding solutions all by myself. But the real reason is that I am scared of what people will think if I ask questions. Will they start thinking that I am a bad developers for not already knowing that? How long would it take them to realize I am just a fraud if I ask them how to do my job all the time? I have all these brilliant developers I can reach out too, and I’m too dumb to ask them anything.
I really need to learn when it’s time to ask for help. If you are like me, you need to start asking too. Don’t be shy. Most developers are happy to help when they can. And if you don’t have a network, start now. Being part of the community is great.