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I am an intern in a big company at my country and i am under the IT application department. I have been stuck with the same programming task for so long and I still don't have an idea on how to solve the task given.

My supervisor asks me to try but I just can't think of anything anymore. I've tried my best and when I ask questions to my supervisor, all she said is "keep trying" or "google it".

I have also asked for other tasks from my supervisor and they just wouldn't entertain me anymore. What should I do as this has been bothering me for quite long?

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closed as unclear what you're asking by Jim G., ReallyTiredOfThisGame, Michael Grubey, jmac, Paul Brown Sep 25 '13 at 14:09

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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How long is "long" and how long is your intership? –  Michael Jan 8 '13 at 9:34
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How often do you ask questions, and how much work do you put in yourself before asking? –  enderland Jan 8 '13 at 14:20
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At a high level what is the task? Is it implementing something, researching something, debugging something, or something else? –  JB King Jan 8 '13 at 18:41
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my internship is five months and i've been trying to solve the problems for more than a month.it's a system support task. –  fadzlifeizal Jan 9 '13 at 8:20
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If you do not know how to do something programming wise, I would ask your programming question on stackoverflow.com You can get help there and find new angles to approach your problem. –  crh225 Jan 18 '13 at 15:46

3 Answers 3

I could be wrong, but it could be that your manager seems unwilling to help because the volume of questions being asked of them is high and frequent. The first approach I would suggest trying is to group your questions together (so that they can quickly be explained in one meeting / discussion) and set aside some time weekly / fortnightly dedicated to going through them. They will appreciate the fact that you are making it as easy as possible to help them, and it gives you time to rubber duck the problems and make sure you have checked all avenues before asking for help.

If that doesn’t alleviate the problem, there are a wealth of resources available on and offline - for the most part there is a relatively high chance that the problem has in part been addressed by someone in your company or in the wider world. Whilst the advice you have received ‘to google it’ isn’t necessarily the most constructive, online forums can contain a wealth of information (or Q&A sites such as stackoverflow) and bouncing the problem off someone else virtually can help fire the brain in the right direction. Alternatively, do you have colleagues or friends who might be able to help? Granted you don’t necessarily want to bore friends with work problems but if you do have a contact who can help it can be good to share knowledge (as long as you don’t become a help vampire!)

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As an intern--as a regular employee even--you should be excited about this opportunity and challenge. Critical thinking that leads to problem solving is one of the leading indicators of a high performing employee. Having that opportunity to brag about as you look for your first employment is huge and is something the more sophisticated HR departments and hiring managers look for.

Instead of looking for the solution online, look for the methods by which solutions are found--for example, Issue-based methods and Ishikawa diagrams. There are many other practices easily found.

These practices involve more than just you. So this is an opportunity to lead a team, bring others into the problem, facilitate whiteboarding sessions, make assignments, lead the effort. And embrace failing. Success is a lousy teacher. Here again, more sophisticated hiring managers know this.

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I have been stuck with the same programming task for so long and I still don't have an idea on how to solve the task given.

Have you broken down your programming task into baby steps?

My supervisor asks me to try but I just can't think of anything anymore. I've tried my best and when I ask questions to my supervisor, all she said is "keep trying" or "google it".

Explain to your boss how you've broken the programming task into baby steps. Show your boss that you've solved many of the baby steps, and demonstrate that the "surface area" of your remaining problem is small and that you only need a small amount of help/guidance.

If you follow these steps earnestly, then your boss should be willing to help you through that last mile. If not, then you might want to find a better fit with a different boss and different development team.

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