I am a junior developer. I usually google some difficult problems if I don't manage to solve problem myself. But today I googled a site that looked it might contain a solution. Unfortunately there was some pornographic material.

How bad a mistake this is? Is there some guidelines how to find help on the Internet if I meet some problem I'm unable to solve on my own and I won't get any help from other people from my work? Should I just use Lynx?

Also, is it okay to ask help for programming problems from, say, Stack Overflow or do employer assume that one has to find out the solutions by themselves?

I studied only basics of computer science in the university as I read it as my minor subject. But my current job involves data science and mathematics where I am good at and programming where I am a novice.

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    not much we can do to help here as every aspect of this question depends on your companies policies and guidelines. My advice would be tell your supervisor why you thought this link help. Show him what you googled and how the google presented it (don't click the link). Tell them about the material the website showed you. Its better you tell them than them finding out. – SaggingRufus May 24 '18 at 13:25
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    If employers didn't want people using Stack Overflow to figure out their problems, Stack Overflow wouldn't exist. They don't care if you know the answer off the top of your head, they just want you to find the answer. – Seth R May 24 '18 at 14:41
  • I don't know what search terms you are using but in Googling any software development issues (especially if it leads you to StackOverflow), the chances of you running into some explicitly NSFW material is pretty low. One would hope your boss recognises it as a rare mistake. – user34587 May 24 '18 at 15:08
  • Unsure what site, but as a general rule, don't link personal sites. Usually these sites use questionable advertisements which may end up being not safe for work material. Not only that, since nothing is controlling content except the owner, there may be questionable material on it of not only adult content but politics, or personal views. Best to use sites with a strong culture that has clear policies. For example, stackoverflow or github. – Dan Jun 8 '18 at 18:25

Use Stack Overflow as your first port of call in searching for answer.

Otherwise, explore the idea of using Ad Blocking plugins for whatever browser you're using. This will minimise adverts popping up. Also, don't log into a browser at work with the same account that you use at home (otherwise you'll be "suggested" things that you search for at home).

The more you search, the more you'll recognize websites that are both informative and advert-safe.

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    might be worth adding to check with the employer first. I am not allowed to install anything on my work PC at all. Not plugins nothin'. – SaggingRufus May 24 '18 at 13:33

Depends very much on the company, I would say. And by that I mean if it is bad you stumbled upon pornographic material when using google to find a solution. I would just mention it casually to my colleague / supervisor but would not make a big deal out of it. But this is very depending on the company culture and probably also the country / culture. I'm in Europe (Netherlands)

As for googling to find help on problems encountered while programming, I don't know a single developer that doesn't do this. I think we all do. I used to program in Python, and now I'm programming in ABL (Progress) and it is much harder to find anything about that on the net. I don't like it :D


If there is any ambiguity in what you are allowed to do I would start by asking a coworker. A coworker will know exactly what you can and cannot do.

Next, are you expected to know the answer to every problem? As a junior programmer, probably not. They will expect you to use the skills your demonstrated in your interview though.

What is the consensus on using websites for research? In general if you are a programmer you are allowed (even expected?) to use stackoverflow.com. Use that site first for all your programming related questions. After that, you should become familiar with the 4 or 5 sites that generally have the answers to your questions and try to reuse them. That is usually how research plays out.

I would under no circumstances visit a site with pornographic material in the office. If you must read the answer then maybe try to do it on your phone, or try to use an ad blocker. In the worst case, did you know you can just right click the ad and select inspect in firefox/google-chrome/Microsoft-edge and just delete the div where the ad is? That will make the ad go away. Realtime ad-blocking.

Try to be professional. Especially if you are new.

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