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Troubleshooting and Getting Help

Even most experienced developers have to ask for help, so you should never hesitate to ask for guidance! However, there are a few guidelines to follow when asking for help. These steps can help improve the quality of your questions and the efficiency of the help you receive.

Before asking for help.

Before asking a question, you should troubleshoot your problem to the best of your ability.

  1. Think about what should happen. What's the expected result?

  2. Is there an error message? What does the error mean? Does the message point you to a particular line of code or place in a file? Focus on one error at a time. If there are several errors, focus on the first one first, and don’t worry about the others yet.

  3. Understand your code to the best of your ability. Go through line-by-line and figure out what each line does. Get out paper and pencil and take notes. Take your time.

  4. What concept/topic is the lab/assignment focused on, i.e., what are you practicing? Is there a demo or sample code? Does that demo or sample code work in your environment?

  5. Search slack. Has anyone else posted a similar problem/question and solved it?

  6. Narrow down the problem to a file and a line of code. Use alert or document.write statements to help narrow this down.

  7. Google.

  8. Take a break. Sometimes a stepping away for a few minutes will provide you with new insight.

Asking a question

When the above have been exhausted, it may be time to ask for help! Based on your trouble above:

  • Explain in detail what the problem is.

  • Explain what should happen? What is happening instead?

  • Explain what you have tried so far.

  • Explain what you think the problem might be.

  • If posing a question to a public channel in Slack - DO NOT PASTE CODE

Where to go for Help

  • Fellow Classmates (in person, or public Slack channel)
  • Your instructor (set up a time to meet, or direct Slack message)
  • IT Guides: IT Guide Schedule
  • Google
  • W3schools