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How do I know it's appropriate to ask a question to my team after asking several already?

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New Grad Engineer at Series A Startup2 years ago

My work is in C (which I do not have much experience in), so if I don’t understand some error that emerges (after ofc trying Google & Stack overflow & my own tests), are you sure it would be appropriate to ask a question around that??

It seems to me that after asking a few questions, my team members may feel that I should be able unstuck myself or that getting myself unstuck is simply a natural part of the process of growing as an engineer.

I'm following the guide in "There Is No Such Thing As A Stupid Question" around asking for help after being stuck for 15-20 min, but I worry this might be too frequent.



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    Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    2 years ago

    You're right that getting yourself unstuck is definitely part of the maturation process for an engineer.

    The important part of asking questions is, are you getting stuck in the same way each time? It can sometimes be hard to know this before you formulate the question, so it’s worth having 2 checkpoints:

    • After you do the work to write the question (you should be learning in this process), can you state how/why this question is novel from the last few questions you asked?
    • After you get the response to your question, how does it compare from other answers you’ve received? What patterns do you notice?

    BTW, it’s good to ask a question after being stuck for 15-20 minutes, but I generally expect the formulation of a good question itself to take another 10-15 minutes.