Hacker Career Advice
It’s OK to Use Google at Work
A reader emailed me recently, worried that she was relying too much on Google in order to complete her Computer Science assignments.
I told her that was totally fine and it reminded me of this scene from Scrubs:
Nobody begins life as an expert at anything. You become an expert by learning, doing, and reflecting. If you need some help from Google to do that, so what?
Obviously, if you’re searching “how to write a
for loop” every day—that’s not good. You need to internalize the basics.
But, as long as you retain the big concepts and aren’t stumbling over
if statements, don’t sweat the small stuff. In the real world, everything is open book.
I used Google & Stack Overflow every single day at work this week. Because:
- I’m still learning TypeScript and types be tricky
- Redshift is kinda like PostgresSQL, but also not at all
- I wanted to convert a Quicktime movie into a gif
- A library I’m using is brand new, and the only real documentation for it is a Medium post
You don’t get paid to memorize things like, “What type is
You get paid to solve problems and achieve results, per spec, in a timely manner. And it’s up to you to figure out how do that.
No matter what, you’ll have to put in the effort, synthesize what you’ve learned, and apply it to write good code.
Your professional worth isn’t defined by trivia or memorization. (I mean, where does that even go on your résumé?) It’s measured in the results you achieve.