MVR (Most Valuable Resource)
The developers of today live in a Golden Age… That is to say an Age of Google, where developers joke (not so jokingly) about Google being the only reason they still have a job. Think about it; an entire generation of developers who rely so much on ‘The Google (TM)’, that any time we get any sort of error or issue we don’t expect BAM straight onto Google (or StackOverflow). What would happen if tomorrow, both StackOverflow and Google both died instantaneously, never to be revived (ignoring the fact that someone else would most likely knock up a replacement pretty quick)?
The shit would hit the fan, hard and that safety net for developers everywhere would be gone.
Over the past year or so I’ve tried not using Google and StackOverflow for my troubleshooting issues (see here), and its been an interesting experience. I’ve delved into areas I otherwise wouldn’t go into (because once we see that magical fix on Google or SO, we don’t look into any further because we need the problem fixed NOWNOWNOW), and while it has been more difficult and frustrating it’s helped me actually understand the problem at hand. And to be honest while it does take me a bit longer to get things done, I like it because I actually learn something, and better yet – and this is the part most people will struggle with – retain something. In the Google Age of ‘Search and Forget’ (ie. Search for a problem, fix it and then forget it) information retention is sorely lacking. We (and I’m guilty of this myself) Google the same things over and over our mind filters out the ‘quick-fix’ of information we sift through on a daily basis.
Originally this post was going to be about what you, as a developer, use as your most valuable resource/s and how much we love them, but once I started typing I kind of went off track a bit. But you know what, I think I’m going to keep it like this, and leave you with a thought experiment…
The next time you have an error or problem you need resolved, ask yourself what would you do if your MVR wasn’t around to help you out? How would you go about troubleshooting or fixing the problem? Instead of jumping onto your MVR site, actually take a step back and try to look at the problem at hand. Research the concepts around whats going wrong (you can use Google for this!), or what you’re attempting to do and compare it to what you’ve done. Who knows, you might just learn something you didn’t expect 🙂