Problem solving importance?

Hello everyone. I’ve been doing some research lately and I heard that the most important asset of a programmer is “problem-solving”. But unfortunately, my problem-solving ability aren’t all that great. In fact, quite limited… So I’m wondering if I still have a place in the industry as a web developer or even software engineer? Is there some sort of way for me to make up for my less effective brain?

People say hard-work is all you need but is that really so? I have to also admit that I’m pretty dumb, and that’s how I been feeling all week learning Javascript. Feeling really dense. I just couldn’t solve an intermediate algorithm challenge called “Missing Letter” for the past 2 days and feeling really lost, i had to look up a video to help me get through the challenge WITH understanding.

I’d like to hear all you guys thoughts on this. Thank you.

Don’t be so hard on yourself, everybody has encountered a problem that they couldn’t solve or needed help with. If you are learning JavaScript and you already have been able to go through the JavaScript algorithms section, I’d say you are doing pretty good. First time I was learning JS I couldn’t even solve basic algorithms, I felt dumb, then I decided to relearn everything again and that’s when I was finally able to solve algorithms. I didn’t feel that dumb anymore, even when there were some challenges I couldn’t solve.

I recently just spent 2 days trying to solve an algorithm using the sliding window pattern, I couldn’t do it, so I solved it the only way I knew (using nested loops), but that solution didn’t meet the requirements. Just like you I asked for advice, I was suggested not to spend a whole day tackling an algorithm, I know it’s tempting and that you really want to solve it to prove to yourself that you can do it, but honestly, don’t. Use that time for something more productive, like continuing with your lessons.

If you are as stubborn as me, try not to spend more than 3 hours a day on a specific algorithm, you can always come back the next day to tackle it again and spend another hour or so, but do not spend the whole day because it’s a tremendous waste of time. Here’s a quote from the person who gave me the advice:

Time management and learning when to give up and ask for help is an important life skill to learn as well

When you give up on an algorithm ( which is totally fina by the way) look at other’s people code and go line by line and try to understand their code and the logic they used, if there’s something you don’t understand, research on Google or ask for help, it’s very important that you understand every piece of code when you look at someone else’s solution. Understand the solution, memorize it then come back to the same problem in a week and do it yourself to make sure you understand it.


Thank you for your feedback and advice. I’ll bear what you said in mind. And as for the basic algorithms, I couldn’t solve some of them entirely myself either. I had to look at the fcc hints and also sometimes look at like the starting code of others on youtube to give me hints to solve them myself. Worse case scenario what I’ve been doing is that, if i happen to look at others answer, i would try to understand every line of code and their concept of solving the problem. then i’ll try to type from scratch again myself. I appreciate your response buddy. I’ll try to manage my time better from now on!

It’s absolutely true that the actual skill of computer programming is “problem solving”. This is a skill that can be learned and practiced, like any other.

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But what if my problem-solving skill just isn’t amazing? like for eg. im given plenty of time to solve a problem but i just can’t do it without the help of others so at the end of the day i have to give in to looking at the answers of others to move on.

Like I said, it’s a skill that you can study, practice, and improve. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help while you’re learning. You take that help and do better next time.

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