Solving Technical Problems

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until you solve the problem (or at least get closer). You can always restore the machine back to a point when everything was working fine.

That is, if someone took the all-important step of backing up data or system state before the problem happened so you can go back to a simpler time… While every issue is like a unique snowflake, a significant number of issues can be resolved through common troubleshooting steps like rebooting the problematic machine, checking for DNS and DHCP issues, checking the device manager for driver issues, cleaning up a machine, or checking firewall or proxy settings, etc.

At this point, focused experimentation is the name of the game.

You can try tweaking changing settings related to the problem, swapping out faulty parts, repairing corrupted files, updating drivers and software, etc.

For a connectivity issue, an Ethernet cable could be damaged or unplugged (Layer 1 issue), network requests might not be going through (Layer 3), or an application might not be properly coded (Layer 6).

The evidence you’ve already gathered should have narrowed down possible root causes and positioned you to fix the issue.No matter what the underlying tech problems are (networks issues, driver conflicts, disk problems, etc), the process outlined above works well for gathering info, identifying possible causes of the issue, and getting to a solution no matter what issue you’re dealing with.But you’ll still have to make judgment calls depending on each unique case. What’s your plan of action for the next vague phone call, email request about tech issues, or help desk ticket from a big wig who needs his computer fixed… In many instances, what was reported as a general issue (e.g., the Internet is down) is actually something very particular, such as a specific website being offline. Ask those pertinent questions and then dig up more info from various sources such as: Now that you’ve gathered basic background info, it’s time to get hands-on with the problem. End users submit seemingly endless problems ranging from complaints of their Internet being “slow” to forgotten passwords to constant printer pains. We’ve got several problem-solving steps to follow that’ll help ease the stress of solving nearly any IT issue: Getting to the bottom of a computer issue can sometimes feel like playing 20 questions, so it’s crucial to ask the right questions first if you want to discover the root problem quickly.But they should be treated as a single tool in your toolbox, not the start and end of the problem-solving process. Think about the kind of information you’re looking for: If I’ve been using one of these methods for a while and I don’t seem to be making progress, I’ll often switch to another. If you see anything change as a result, that’s a success. Then keep trying things until you've made substantial progress on the problem.I find that a lot of developers I know reach for the search engine first, but for me, intentionally using a variety of methods helps me gain a broader scope of understanding. If you’re in unfamiliar territory, it can help to break down the “solution” into very small increments, and try them out piece by piece.Reproducing an issue simply means verifying you can recreate the same error the user reported.You can do this at the physical site of the problem, or through a remote desktop / remote control application. You might be able to approximate the same conditions on a similar computer.I started my software career with a combination of online tutorials and a coding bootcamp, but I've heard similar complaints about academic computer science programs.I'm not saying no one formally teaches these skills, but it seems more common for developers to have to figure them out on their own.


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