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Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Importance of Stack Overflow to Developers and Programmers

Importance of Stack Overflow to Developers and Programmers

What is Stack Overflow?

While Stack Overflow is a community based Q/A site for programmers and developers which aims to bring solutions to day to day problems faced by them.

StackOverflow is neither encyclopedia, forum, nor blog, but rather a combination of all three that  is specifically designed for programmers and developers. It’s a community for programmers to answer and ask programming related questions, a place where developers can vote on most useful answers, and an encyclopedic resource for thousands of techies to troubleshoot their problems. The site is completely built upon user contributions.

Why StackOverflow?

Stack Overflow is so widely used by a modern day programmer. Stack Overflow has made the great impact on  present day computer programming world. Stack Overflow provides sheer volume of usable content which has really helped along many developers.

StackOverflow is the number one forum for asking a coding question. Even if you don’t have an account, it’s worth it just for browsing questions and learning. Experts and some great developers are sitting there round the clock answering all the questions they can answer.

StackOverflow is jam packed with excellent candidates and loaded with tons of information about what those candidates’ skills look like!

Developers come here to find answers to the technical questions they are struggling with, to show off their coding skills, and to connect with other techies who have similar interests.

Importance of Stack Overflow Reputation Score

As a developer nothing is more important for you other than your reputation. Every answer you give here, based on the ratings from other people of your answer you build your reputation. This is the new CV for developers. You just give your profile on as your resume and it will speak for you.

Stack Overflow reputation can help you to earn a high paying job. You are more likely to get a job by maintaining open source projects, writing proficiently, leaving good impressions, and making personal connections within the community.

HRs look on stackoverflow and stackoverflow careers. You can be noticed and invited to an interview because of your stackoverflow profile. Apart from that, you can put your stackoverflow profile on your CV. That alone can’t be a reason to get hired, but it will likely be a plus. Don’t overemphasize it, though.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Stack Overflow Community

Advantages of Stack Overflow

1. Learning: You will learn a lot of things everyday by new questions and answers posted there on stack overflow. If you cannot answer any questions, still you can see the answers and make notes from there. There are questions that you can’t answer, and when you see others’ answers, you learn something new. There are questions that you research before answering, so you improve your knowledge. Why do people ask questions that they can also research? Because you have a higher level of general programming knowledge that allows you to look at the right place and find the information. Even if you already know the answer, you get a better understanding when writing it down. Answering questions on Stack Overflow can be compared to reading blogs that discuss common technical issues.

2. Self Evaluation: You see where you stand – if others agree with your answers (and upvote them), that makes you feel confident in the topics that you follow. Which is a good thing (if it’s not overconfidence). Questions that people ask show you areas that you probably didn’t know about, but that are important. That way you get a more adequate view of where you stand with your programming knowledge.

3. Improve Communication Skills: Writing good answers doesn’t necessarily mean you are a good programmer. But it certainly means you are a good communicator. And that’s a very important skill. It might even be better to be a good programmer and a good communicator than to be a slightly better programmer that can’t communicate his ideas.

4. Improving Analytical Skills and Problem Solving Ability: You get to know what the questions is about. In many cases the questions are not well-phrased or miss important information. You have to analyze what information is needed, or what the poster has meant.

5. Improve Your Speed:  For some questions you must act fast, otherwise other answers will appear before yours and get all the upvotes. Well, sometimes you need to act fast in your programming career. Production issue, unhappy customers. If you can analyze and solve the problem in 5 minutes it will be way better than 10 minutes, let alone an hour.

Limitations and Disadvantages of Stack Overflow

1. Stack Overflow is filled with a lot of silly / obsolete and repeated questions.

2. Answers to complexe questions are voted up less as compared to the answers to the simple questions.

3. Many questions on Stack Overflow remain unanswered.

4. Its time consuming. You have to spend a lot of time to build your reputation there on Stack Overflow.

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