What Do Developers Do When They’re Stuck on a Coding Challenge?

No matter how extensive your software-development background, at some point you’ll get stuck while trying to code. What’s your best course of action when that happens? Where do you turn for help with a coding challenge?

As part of its extensive annual Developer Survey, Stack Overflow posed that question to tens of thousands of developers. Nearly 58,000 professional developers responded, and the answer was clear: Whenever they’re stuck on coding, they tend to turn to Google or Stack Overflow. Check out the chart: 

When they’re not willing to Google a coding solution, they rely on friends/coworkers or tutorial videos; under much rarer circumstances, they’ll visit a developer community other than Stack Overflow. If you’re stuck while working with an ultra-popular programming language or tool (such as Python or Java), it’s fairly likely that YouTube and/or a technologist colleague will present a solution. 

With more esoteric languages and tools, though, the chances that colleagues won’t be a help increases; that’s one key reason why many developers like to work with popular, familiar tools and languages when building new products and services. Fortunately, even the most little-used  and new technologies tend to come with at least some documentation—for example, there are lots of websites designed to teach everything from machine learning to data analytics to cloud

For many professional developers, the way to move past a coding obstacle is to step away for a bit—whether that means playing a game, meditating, or going for a walk. Focusing on something other than work is often a good way to unlock your creativity, or at least give your brain a rest. The next time you’re confronted by a tricky coding issue, don’t feel guilty about taking a break.