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I'm just 18 years old, so I don't have a lot of experience. I currently work for a company that develops online games for a local casino. My job is to create servers that will support Flash clients. This is not very complicated, but it's not easy, either. Because I lack experience, I sometimes need to use Google to look things up (I can be proud that I've never copied code written by others).

Some of my friends and even my parents say that I'm a swindler, that I do what I don't know, and that it'd be better if I quit. I understand this, but on the other hand I feel comfortable in this company. I always finish my work on time and I've never had more than little bugs in my applications.

I am really confused about what I should do. Quit now and finish university at first or keep learning from projects (with reading books of course)?

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A little secret. To some extent everyone is faking it in their jobs, even the experts. –  JohnFx Jun 2 '12 at 17:39
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I think it is time to find frinds that don't belittle you. –  HLGEM Jun 2 '12 at 18:55
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Welcome to the IT industry. Seriously, i actually put down (or at least mention during interviews) that I am really good at using google. it's not my main skill, obviously, but it shows i'm more than willing to learn new things on my own, and that I can find solutions to problems. –  acolyte Aug 1 '12 at 16:41
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Do what everyone does: fake it until you make it. Seriously, if you can make anything work, you are already better than many who have been in the field for years. And stop hanging around all those negative people. I expect they are just jealous because they can't keep up with you. –  kevin cline Aug 1 '12 at 22:18
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4 Answers

up vote 46 down vote accepted

This job sounds like a great way to get the experience you lack. Using Google (or Stack Overflow!) to read up on how to do things properly is not a problem, it's a perfectly reasonable solution. Nobody knows everything, and knowing how to figure out how to solve a problem is at least as important as just knowing how to solve the problem.

It sounds like you are performing your job competently. If your boss has no real problems with your work, continue working. You'll gain valuable experience in an actual work environment, and build your technical skills while you do.

Additionally, being able to face a problem you don't already know how to solve is a positive trait. The resourcefulness to research and implenent a solution is a valuable skill.

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Thank you very much for answer. You've really helped me a lot. –  Leri Jun 2 '12 at 14:04
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+1 I agree with all points. To help you even further, just remember that StackOverflow exists because people need to look things up all the time, and do -- no matter how long they've been doing their job. Unless I'm missing something to the story, I wouldn't listen to your friends or parents about this matter at all. Keep working if your boss is happy and you are happy. –  jcmeloni Jun 2 '12 at 16:42
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I'd like to add, that you should be copying as much code as possible if the License on the code allows it. No reason to reinvent things. –  Andrew Finnell Jun 2 '12 at 17:31
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+1 for "it sounds like you are performing your job competently". If you weren't then you would probably know already. How do your friends and family know what your employer expects? Also, I suspect you are being paid a pittance compared to what a truly skilled developer would be getting paid to do the same job, so the company probably looks at you as a bargain. –  Dunk Aug 1 '12 at 18:40
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Whether you should quit (or cut back) your job in order to go to school is a seperate issue from whether you are being fraudulent in accepting the pay for your current job.

IT is a funny business at least from the outside, people will suggest that you are basically doing nothing, sitting on your butt all day, so no stress and no being tired from working, or they'll ask why don't you make a new game or website that makes millions, why don't you whip up a new E-Bay over the weekend for the church fundraiser....

Unless they are or have done your job, they almost certainly have no idea of the skills necessary in order to do it, and unless they need those skills, they also have no idea as to the worth of those skills.

A job is fundamentally no different than buying a nicknack at a flea market -- the exchange is what determines the value, the seller may have bought it for more or less than he is willing to take, and the buyer probably wants to pay less but may be willing to pay more. So...

As long as your employer is happy with paying you, and you are happy with the pay you are being given, ignore the bystanders. They aren't part of the deal and their opinions of Dogs Playing Poker don't matter.

Now, all that said -- you're only 18, so there's a good chance that your current job won't last you a life time. What you should be considering is not whether you are getting paid more than your worth, but how you will continue getting paid the amount you are accustomed to.

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+1 - What you should be considering ... you are accustomed to. Well said. I was all for him keeping the job, just like everyone else, until I read that he's 18 and might well end up not finishing college. In the short term, it doesn't seem like a big deal - in the long term, it is. Not that you necessarily learn so much in college, but you need it on your resume in many cases. –  comeAndGo Mar 13 at 10:43
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Let me ask you a question, are you learning and enjoy performing your tasks? If that answer is yes, then stay. If not, then move on to something better. Life is too short.

There are many jobs out there where it is difficult to have all the knowledge to complete it properly. There is always something to learn, innovate and execute. If it ever gets to a point where this is not possible, we might as well start living in the trees as monkeys.

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I simply love this work. I've strongly decided to stay and I don't have doubts anymore thanks to you and @Jim. –  Leri Jun 2 '12 at 14:15
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Your job is to solve problems, "to create servers that will support Flash clients" just happens to be the problem you are currently facing. And that's exactly what you are doing. Solving problems can be done in several ways, by experience but also by research ("to use Google to look things up").

Your ability to set up servers for Flash clients won't be what will make you good in your job. There will be always new problems you are going to face and it's impossible to know about everything beforehand. And being able to solve the problem non-the-less will be what makes you worth being employed.

So, no, don't quit. You are doing your job perfectly fine, there is no reason to quit.

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