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Do Professional Programmers Use Google Frequently?

By Stanley Udegbunam || Updated  June 15th, 2022

Do Programmers use google a lot?

Yes –  Professional programmers use Google frequently to find answers to coding issues. A survey conducted by Stack Overflow across 57,910 professional programmers shows that about a whooping 90% consult Google when stuck with a problem.

These experts have an average range of 5 – 19 years of coding experience.

Survey of Programmers that use Google

Don’t be surprised to find out that professional programmers use Google way more than beginners.

Does this make them less of a programmer?, Absolutely not.

They simply understand that they don’t need to memorize every piece of code and they rely on research to get their problems solved.

Research is an important skill required to be a good programmer and also an integral part of your software development journey.

As a programmer racing to stardom, how well can you tweak keywords relating to your exact query when conducting searches to get meaningful results on Google?

Programming experts and beginners both turn to Google when stuck with issues.
But the difference lies in the speed of obtaining results.

While beginners might spend hours navigating multiple websites and getting frustrated, experts know how to tweak keywords, and match correlating results to validate logic and answers within a few minutes.

Contrary to popular opinion, researching your code problems does make you a better developer.
Think about it, someone in this gigantic industry has had the same problem as you and already solved it.
There’s simply no point reinventing the wheel.

But you’ll get it wrong if all you do is copy and paste solutions.

Analyze the code so you’ll be able to replicate its logic in the future and that’s the only way you can improve exponentially.

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How often do Programmers Google?

There’s really no exact answer to this question. It depends on the programmer’s skill and experience.

Newbie programmers use Google when face with any slight challenge while senior developers use Google whenever they hit an unfamiliar roadblock beyond their comprehension at that point in time.

Nevertheless, both use Google to solve their coding issues making it an indispensable tool for programming.

A professional programmer using Google while coding

Is it OK to Google while Programming?

Yes.. it is ultimately ok to ‘Google while programming as it helps you find solutions to your problem. Quality research is a must-have skill for every serious programmer.

However, remember there’s a thin line between a good googler and a good programmer.

Don’t just copy and paste codes rather try to understand the logic and make meaning of the different answers availed to you on Google.

Robin Rowinski, a well-experienced software engineer has this to say:

“After 15 yrs of software engineering, I still use Google which often leads to StackOverflow, though. It’s important that you know how to solve problems, e.g. find a way through or around specific problems or issues. You don’t have to remember everything to the dot.”

Best Platforms for finding answers to code issues

#1. Stack Overflow:

Stack Overflow website for Programmers

This is the best platform to find solutions to code problems. Stack Overflow is a public coding question and answer platform that helps people find the answer they need when they need them. Over 100 million+ people turn to Stack Overflow every month to find answers to their coding challenges.

You can ask questions or post your code issues on Stack Overflow and you’ll get feedback from a ton of brilliant programmers.
However, it will interest you to know that over 21 million questions have been asked on Stack Overflow from inception to date.

Best believe your issue has already been discussed and resolved already on the platform so search to see if your problem is solved before posting.
Most searches on Google do have Stack Overflow solutions ranking as the top results.

#2. Github

GitHub is a code hosting platform for version control and collaboration. It lets you and others work together on projects from anywhere.

Github platform for programmers

As a home for over 83 million developers, Github currently sits as the largest and most advanced development platform in the world.

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#3. Quora

Quora is a social Q&A platform that hosts informative content created and shared by its users.

Quora covers a large variety of topics across multiple niches with over 300 million users discussing and sharing ideas on the platform.

While we can get a lot of correct answers from Quora, there are also a bunch of incorrect statements.

Quora Q&A for programmers

Here are a few tips on how to get the best use of Quora as a programmer.

  • Quora uses an upvote system that allows users to “like” the most credible, genuine, and factual answer pushing it up to the top of the question feed. Use this as a signal for finding answers and if you find something credible enough also upvote the post so other developers can benefit from it.
  • High answer upvotes are really not enough to ascertain post credibility, also make sure you are only consuming upvoted answers that are curated by experts in the given field. You can do this by looking up the profile of the commenter.

A Quora expert often has well descriptive profile credentials ascertaining his expertise and has correctly answered multiple questions on Quora under the said topic.

#4. Reddit

This list won’t be complete without mentioning Reddit.

Reddit is one of the largest and most interesting social sites out there and a very good resource for finding quick coding help.

On Reddit, there’s a community for whatever you are interested in ranging from interest, hobbies, and passion. These communities are called subreddits.

As a Redditor, you just need to know where to look for answers.

You just need to know where to look.

Sub Reddit communities for programmers

I’ve curated the 14 best subreddits for programmers cutting across both front-end and back-end programming.

  1. r//LearnProgramming
  2. r/AskProgramming
  3. r/Programming
  4. r/Coding
  5. r/WebDev
  6. r/Frontend
  7. r/CSS
  8. r/LearnJavaScript
  9. r/JavaScript
  10. r/LearnPython
  11. r/Python
  12. r/ReactJS
  13. r/node
  14. r/typescript

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5 Tips to get better at Googling Code Problems

The internet is a repository of tons of information and as a result, most search result answers don’t correlate with the searched phrase.

To achieve better search results, we have to employ the use of Google advanced search.

Google advance search is a way to customize your Google searches using operators and commands.

Using advanced Google search operators and commands helps to declutter the result and provide you with specific queries depending on the operator/command used.

Let’s see 5 helpful advanced search techniques that will take you closer to your solution.

  • Search with exact phase

It’s not surprising that you are not getting the search result that exactly matches the exact phrase of your search queries.

To search for the exact result that matches your search query, place your search query between double-quotes (” “).

This will only search for the result that exactly match your search query.

    Exact phrase Advanced google search for software engineers
    • Using the AND/OR Operators

    A search query with two or more words returns results that contain only a few of the words.

    The “AND” operator is used when you want the search result to contain both of the terms.

    Google Advanced searches using operators for programmers

      The “OR” operator is used when you want to search results to contain either one or the term.

        Advanced Google searches using operators for programmers and software engineers
        • Exclude unnecessary terms from your search.

        For some Google searches, you might wish to exclude web pages with certain terms from your search result and that’s where the exclusion search property comes in handy.

        Let’s visualize a case scenario.

        Assuming you wish to learn more about “Selenium” on Google.

        If you are new to programming, Selenium is a web-based automation tool best used for testing web applications.

        On the other hand, the term “Selenium” also represents a chemical element with the symbol “Se” and an atomic number 34.

        A basic Google search of the keyword “Selenium” returns webpages containing both Selenium for programmers and Selenium as a chemical element.

        Advanced Google Search tip for Pro programmers

        The exclusion operator (-) is used to remove search results with the assigned unwanted term or keyword.

        See snapshot of a Google refined search query.

          advanced exclusion google search for professional programmers

          And here’s what our refined search result looks like.

            Advanced Google Exclusion search operator for programmers

            Awesome right?
            Let’s see other advanced search operators.

              • Specific website search

              This is an advanced Google search that lets you zero in on a specific website or domain. With the Google search-specific site operator, you are telling Google that you don’t want to search the entire web, but instead just a particular site.

              To achieve a specific website site, you have to employ the use of the Google operator “site: “

              Let’s say we wish to obtain results only from Stack Overflow.
              Our search query will look like this: 

                Specific site advanced Google search for Programmers
                • Search for a related website

                The related search advanced Google search lets you find websites that are similar to one another.

                Related website search is conducted using the Google operator “related:”

                Let’s assume you are using Leetcode to solve coding interview problems and you wish to see similar technical interview preparation platforms like Leetcode, you can do a related search on Google just like this.

                  Related website advanced google search tip for programmers

                  Conclusion

                  We’ve come to a consensus that Google is an indispensable tool for programming all programmers use Google.

                  Using Google often doesn’t make you a lesser programmer and trying always solve code issues on your own without Google still doesn’t make you superior to others.

                  What matters is all well you use the resources at your disposal to achieve the results you desire.

                  Don’t fall into the habit of copying and pasting code from Google but strive to learn the logic behind the correct answers.

                  It’s okay to Google your code problems but it’s a crime to Google the same problem multiple times across different projects.

                  It only shows you learned nothing from it initially.

                  Get familiar with coding platforms like Stack Overflow and Github and improve your searches with the advanced tips mentioned above.

                  As usual, I wish you a stress-free coding journey.

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