Ben Borgers

A Sixth Sense for Errors

February 23, 2022

I’ve been seeing at a lot of errors lately in my code for CS 15: Data Structures. My errors, my friends’ errors, error error error. There’s always lots of cryptic errors. C++ is not a forgiving language, and would rather not tell you why it’s soiled itself yet again.

Fortunately, I have the advantage of having a couple years’ head start with programming. And it seems to me that this head start has allowed me to develop a bit of a sixth sense for solving errors.

I’m not quite sure what I look for, but things in the error message tip me off to where I should look or where I should start putting print statements to work my way through the program.

Or, I have a strong intuition for what kinds of things to google, and how to skim results for something that points towards the answer. (Then I can report the things I found on google as my own thoughts and seem smart.)

In any case, it seems to help me solve errors that come up in my programs and my friends’ programs. It gives me a solid amount of confidence that errors in my homework aren’t showstoppers, but problems that can be solved given enough time.

Nobody’s born with this sort of sense though. Or at least I wasn’t. My slight edge comes just from having seen code for a couple years ahead of my peers. I just stumbled into a head start.

That sixth sense is something that everyone will develop soon. But for the time being, I enjoy trying to be helpful to my friends.