I'm still a junior web developer, I have some trouble with Databases, its my weakness, but I still know some things on them. My boss asked me if I knew databases and I said yes, hoping it was something easy, then he added a task for me that includes heavy knowledge on Databases which I'm not able to learn in short time, hoping me to complete while I still commit to my schedule on other higher priority tasks the higher boss assigned me.

This happened because I was advancing as fast as I could to have some spare time on other more time demanding activities, so he thought I had spare time. But right now I'm still not capable of achieving what he wants and demands I complete it by tomorrow. I stated this task about Databases was of less priority and required some support from other workmates, but so far he is just closed to giving me any support. Should I report it to my higher boss? How should I handle this?

  • If downvoted its ok i'm still tryling to addapt here, but state whats wrong in order to improve or remove this question please May 25, 2016 at 20:41
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    Do your best, make an attempt, find someone to help you when you run into trouble, with out asking them how to do it. Tell them you ran into problems at step X do you have any suggestions? May 25, 2016 at 20:45
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    I would normally never suggest working on your own time for a work problem. But as a recovering software developer myself, chances are the skills you need to complete this assignment will be vital to the rest of your career. I do suggest spending your own time to learn your craft better, and the best way to learn for me has always been to have a problem to solve. I'd get cracking on it, using what you do know to formulate the proper questions to Stack Overflow and DBA.SE. Databases are everywhere in corporate IT. This comment is localized to your exact situation, and is not general advice.
    – corsiKa
    May 25, 2016 at 22:56
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    "I stated this task about Databases was of less priority and required some support from other workmates, but so far he is just closed to giving me any support." You're still essentially lying to him. Just bite the bullet. Don't sugar coat it. There is no time. Tell him your knowledge of databases was not as good as you originally thought it was. May 25, 2016 at 23:50
  • Being clear with your boss on your expectations on the project deadline sets a line of communication about your work status; I am always clear on my comfort levels but I also mention when I need to be pushed to learn and grow. Usually this means being assigned a project with a more open deadline. Unfortunately, yours is a hard, short deadline, so I have to agree with the other answers: talk with your manager, make it clear you miscommunicated your DB skill levels, and ask who on your team is the DB expert for when you need help.
    – Marion
    May 26, 2016 at 1:26

3 Answers 3


You said yes when you knew the answer was no. Time to talk to your boss and admit you don't know as much as you thought you did. If you do so immediately, so the work can be reassigned and/of schedules adjusted, you will only look like a clueless newbie, which is curable. if you delay, you will look much, much worse..

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    your mistake was say "Yes", instead of "I have some basic knowledge" May 25, 2016 at 20:50
  • Yes, it was my bad of assuming it was going to be a simple task. It has passed a day on which I tried completing it, but so far I was unable to do so. May 25, 2016 at 20:52
  • Most real-world tasks take more than a day. Many require some additional suggest. Make sure you understand the issue before estimating time to complete.
    – keshlam
    May 25, 2016 at 20:55
  • @HPierce I will hold of accepting it then until tonight. Good point May 25, 2016 at 21:04
  • Typo: c/suggest/study/. Darned autocorrect...
    – keshlam
    May 26, 2016 at 13:46

Devote every moment not at work to studying where you are weak. Get a tutor, take a class if you need to. You miscommunicated your skill level, so it's bootstrap time. If you're intelligent enough to be a programmer, you should be intelligent enough to upgrade your skillset quickly.

Don't get discouraged, just jump in and get it done.


Given the short time-frame, learning on the job probably won't be an option. It may be that the task is actually simple for people with the required knowledge -- you could ask your coworkers for help. If not, then you need to make it clear to your boss that if things remain as they are (ie, you doing the project alone) then it will not get done on time.

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    This is exactly why I try to get to know my team members; so when I need help, I have an established working relationship with them which means they are more amiable about squeezing a few minutes to give pointers into their busy schedules. The key is to ask for help early so they have time to adjust and meet you, as their junior, on their own time.
    – Marion
    May 26, 2016 at 1:22

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