The best (programming) answer on Quora

Lots of question marks

Let's be honest. When we have a question, the first thing we do is Google it. Or Bing it. For the more tech elite, we might Duck-Duck-Go it. (That doesn't quite work as a verb, but you know what I mean. And if you don't, just Google Duck Duck Go.)

Choose your answers

Some answers are better than others. Some are just wrong. Some are opinions, phrased as facts. I don't have to tell you that you cannot believe everything you read on the web.

Over time, we usually find a few sites that we trust for medical or tech or cooking questions. Or sites whose opinion aligns with our view of the world.

Quora is not my preferred site for any answers. Maybe I'm the wrong demographic. About 60% of Quora users are between 18 and 34, and live in India or the US. But Quora is often touted as a good marketing site, so I had a look at some questions and answers about programming.

The best answer

My opinion? I'm not going to rely on Quora for information.

But there was one answer that I enjoyed so much that I saved it to share with you.

Why are programmers so well paid even if that job is pretty easy (I'm also a programmer, it's easy)?

It's an iffy question. Are all programmers well paid? By comparison to what? And is the job "pretty easy"? Here's the answer a (definitely more experienced) programmer posted.

I’m a programmer too. Have been for 40 years. I also find the bits I can do to be easy.

But the bits I can’t do? They’re hard.

And the bits I thought I could do, but didn’t work as expected? Yeah. Hard.

The bits nobody realised we needed to do? Those seemed easy until they bit us in the backside.

And learning enough stuff to make the easy bits easy? Yeah, that was hard. And expensive. And not everyone can succeed at that part.

That’s why it’s well paid, I think.

That sums it up rather well, doesn't it?

Clever answers to stupid questions

Carl Sagan once wrote: "There are naïve questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question".

As a course presenter, I often tell people there are no stupid questions. Quora may have proved Sagan (and me) wrong.

But I salute the people who answer the stupid questions with clever answers. Recently somebody phoned me and wanted to learn Java in time for a job interview a few days later. Quora actually has a good answer for this:

How do I learn coding in a single night?

Pack a laptop and travel to the north pole in the beginning of winter. You'll have 6 months of a night to learn coding. Once there - really just Google it. There are tons of excellent tutorial on the web.

Love it or hate it? I'd love to hear your opinion about Quora. So please share your comment.

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