There be dragons…

For a beginner trying to solve a programming problem, there is a lot of readily Googleable help. You can usually solve your problem with very clear, specific, and accessible instructions.

Things are different a bit further down the programming path. As the problems become harder, the solutions become less obvious. For example, I now might spend more time trying to tease a solution out of rambling GitHub issues. This involves a different sort of problem solving skill; it’s more focused on building something out of your own knowledge mixed with a few insights from others in similar situations. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it doesn’t. It can be time consuming.

The upside is that this problem solving approach can sometimes produce solutions instead of just solving bugs. The feature you want may not exist, and your solution may make an useful contribution back to the upstream project. It’s one way to start giving back, by solving problems for others.

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