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I was given a task to add a few textbox by a senior which she only gave me a few files from Project A. The few files provided by the senior was not enough to compile on its own. I check with the senior to help me and she told me to check again and tried to integrate the files from Project B which I have from one of my previous tasks. I did that but I failed to compile as there were complications so it didn't work. So I keep trying whatever possible method to solve it. Sadly I failed to integrate and compile.

Later, the senior decided to step in as I did not make any progress to work on the task of adding the textbox as I failed to compile. She has tried the methods that she told me to until she manage to solve the compilation issue by integrating it. I was glad that she manage to solve the compilation issue. After that, I continue on my task of adding the textbox.

After I manage to complete the task, we had a skype call and the manager was not happy with the progress. Later that day, the manager email me saying that it is not the senior task to help solve the compilation issue.

Is it wrong to ask the senior for help? or am I just being crazy? Can someone please clarify this am I supposed to be self-independent?

FYI, I'm a newbie programmer and the language I am handling is ASP.NET VB

For those who are curious on the culture, please find the link below as I posted earlier before. Struggling in my first software development job in this SME company, not sure I should continue in the programming line

UPDATE: After talking to one of my friend, he told me to discuss with the manager to clarify the misunderstanding, expectation, limitation,etc.... I ask the manager to set a time where I can have a talk with him. So in that Skype call, I brought up the compile file issue. I told him my side. He said past is the past and then he started to rant about my mistakes and not being efficient and so on. So what happen was, I didn't get to ask my questions. He took up the whole call and just keep on talking. I didn't even get the chance and when he ask me got anything to say, I just don't know what to say after that cause I sense that he didn't want to talk about from my side. and then like that he end the call cause of some emergency

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  • So how the senior integrated it? with files from project A or from project B? Apr 16 '20 at 5:49
  • The senior integrated it together with files from Project B with Project A. She did a lot of steps which I will never thought of that can help solve my issue
    – I.Z.
    Apr 16 '20 at 6:16
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She has tried the methods that she told me to until she manage to solve the compilation issue by integrating it. I was glad that she manage to solve the compilation issue.

In your question, you're missing a key piece of information.

How did she manage to compile the code?

If you didn't even try to copy part of the error message and look it up on google, then yes, they hired the wrong person.

However, if you did that and there was some kind of missing library or missing voodoo that only the senior developer knew about (but forgot to tell you about, which happens a lot), then that's not your fault.

Now if you don't know what she did because she didn't show you, look up the diff in version control. If there was really something that she forgot to tell you about (or that you couldn't find out on your own through Google), you'll find that out through the diff.

But there is a third option still, perhaps you did search on Google and StackOverflow, and perhaps the answer was there, but you just didn't find it. That's possible too, and frankly, I couldn't blame you for that one, but it does become incumbent on you to improve your searching skills (especially now during this time of pandemic and remote work for many people).

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  • I did the 3rd option and have tried to implement it but fail. She manage to compile it together by integrating the files from Project B with Project A. From my intern experience, I have learn the hardway when my senior told me to google search first before coming to the seniors for help which then lead to the seniors not mentioning some changes that they made earlier
    – I.Z.
    Apr 16 '20 at 6:20
  • @I.Z., Yes, that happens too. Also as a newcomer, you don't know how much support you're supposed to expect from your seniors. So don't feel bad about what happened, but do try to become self-sufficient over time. By the way, can you duplicate what your senior did to finally compile the code? Also, are you working remotely? Or is your senior working remotely? Or in a separate room? Social distancing makes things that much more difficult for newcomers. Apr 16 '20 at 6:26
  • we are all working remotely.
    – I.Z.
    Apr 16 '20 at 6:30
  • @I.Z., That's what I was afraid of. Also, I just read your other question. I'm afraid you're not in a good supportive environment for learning this trade. It's not you. It's the environment. Try to keep this job and wait out the pandemic, then look for a new software developer job elsewhere. But don't get discouraged. If you get fired, it won't be your fault. With that said, if you do get fired, try to find another employer that won't change the underlying technology on you. Apr 16 '20 at 6:46
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    "If there was really something that she forgot to tell you about [..] you'll find that out through the diff." Note that environmental settings aren't evident from source control. It's possible that the issue was related to the local development environment instead of the codebase. I'd even suggest it's likely, since an issue in the codebase would likely mean that it wouldn't compile for everyone, not just OP.
    – Flater
    Apr 16 '20 at 10:53
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As a newbie programmer, and as being new to the project, you should have been assigned a coach, to help you with issues.

So as I understand it:

  • your boss did wrong by not assigning you a coach;
  • you did wrong for not asking for one;
  • the senior did wrong by not explaining you the situation - she should have sent you to your manager, to pair you with a coach.

In the end your manager was wrong again, by not understanding that he was the first one who did wrong.


On the other hand, we do not know:

  • the details of your competencies;
  • the details of your contract;
  • the verbal agreements you had with your manager;
  • the real expectations of the manager.

It might be the case that you are considered skilled enough (even though a newbie) in order to be able to fix a compilation problem.


Is it wrong to ask the senior for help?

If it is just a question with an answer, yes. If the senior needs to teach / explain you basics, then probably no.


or am I just being crazy?

You need to see a doctor for that, we cannot decide in that matter :)


Can someone please clarify this am I supposed to be self-independent?

Of course you are supposed to be self-independent!! If someone else is supposed to do your work, your job is not needed! That is the case with all jobs in the world. While cooperation is good, being able o do your own job by yourself is mandatory.

Of course that there is a learning curve, and that there are different expectations from beginners and from seniors, but in the end everybody is expected to be self-independent.


I have had a similar problem in the past, I was supposed to remove some code from a project (a driver which was not used anymore). I did not succeed, I asked for help from the previous developer, he was kind and helped. But the end result was that everybody was upset that I was not able to solve the problem myself.

Looking back at the situation, I think they were more right than I was, since the removal only took a few minutes by the other guy. My guess is that I should have spent more time trying to solve the problem alone. Maybe I should have tried other ways to do it (start the job from another "point"). Now it is too late, but occasionally I remember about it, and I am not happy with my performance. Things happen.

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  • But you still learn from that performance, good point plus 1
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 16 '20 at 6:06
  • Yeap, everything in life is about learning. From the good experiences, and from the bad ones too.
    – virolino
    Apr 16 '20 at 6:07
  • The culture of the company does not run a mentor-mentee program. I told the senior I have tried this method and that. I even google search and yet failed to solve it. I took a screenshot of the error and show it to her after whatever possible solutions I can think of and find. I am not that skilled enough to solve it. When I saw the senior help me remotely, she did a lot of stuff when she integrate the file from Project B with Project A
    – I.Z.
    Apr 16 '20 at 6:15
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    No official training program is needed. When you have any problems, just go to your manager and ask him what you should do. Then do what he tells you to do. It might backfire occasionally. but it is still the best course of action.
    – virolino
    Apr 16 '20 at 6:18
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    That is exactly what I explained. Another colleagues with less responsibilities might have been able to help you. Even if he is not officially your coach / trainer, he is still doing the job. Explaining you how to do things.
    – virolino
    Apr 16 '20 at 6:30

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