Most of us do search on Google every day, maybe looking for a website, for news, for an address, for a cooking recipe, for information about a topic we are interested in, for technical information or anything.
All developers I know use Google, another search engine, or search on webpages like stack overflow every day to find the best way to do a task.
So is it a skill?, Should you know how to resolve a task without using Google or another knowledge source?
I don’t think so, part of our skill should be know how to find information about the task. This has been done for centuries, we have just updated (added) the knowledge sources, in the past, sources were physical books, oral knowledge, etc. But now we have these sources and more, like online sources, and Google and other search engines are the way to reach the knowledge we need at some point.
Imagine you have the task of creating something like this:
Do you know how to do that? If you do, nice, lucky you, but I don’t know how to do it.
I guess the next step is to search for how to do it, but, what’s this thing name? If you don’t know it, you need to find the name of the “thing” you should develop.
How do you do it? In that case (we will suppose that you have this image as a task’s reference) I guess a good idea could be use Google Image Search.
If we upload that image, Google interprets the image as a circle. WTF? Perhaps is because it reads the words in the image and believes they are circle’s attributes. Who knows ¯\(ツ)/¯
So in a rapid view, Google doesn’t return relevant information about the name of this thing.
But if you look closely the “Visually similar images” section, most of them are beautiful images with similar colors, but the third one is similar to our image: It has words too, and if you look even closer, the title of the image is WordMap
I will not go into detail, but, it’s easy to find the relation with the term Word Cloud that is the “thing” we must create, and we could search for the theory and maths behind that, find a library which does the task or create from the scratch and finally do our task.
You will probably agree that use others’ experience it part of the developer’s job (is part of any job), we are doing it all the time, and find the way to reach that experience and knowledge I guess is a skill.
I think employers should appreciate it as another skill, perhaps it’s just a soft skill, but if your employee hasn’t it, she/he could spend a lot of time just trying to know how to find the way to do some task or find information and knowledge.
Some people even consider that know how to search on Google is the most important skill a developer must have. I would not dare to say that, but I think is an important skill.
What do you think? Should be a soft or a hard skill?