I have a penchant for taking "unsolvable" computer problems and getting to the bottom of them. Often times this means I'm exploring the contents of a memory dump, that is, all of the data held in RAM of the process you're inspecting. When I got started in this area about 2+ years ago I found Tess Ferrandez's blog blog was a great resource. In fact I've blogged about Tess and WinDBG before. Her blog is one of my favorites when it comes to debugging and troubleshooting .NET applications (web or otherwise).
Debugging and troubleshooting is a skill I think too many developers lack. By debugging and troubleshooting I don't mean stepping your way through code. I mean, "Holy Crap our production app is failing and we don't know why," kind of debugging. I think debugging is so valuable that I used to ask specific questions about it during interviews. Too many times I could ask questions and see the developer try to answer, but often it was easy to see that if this was a real world scenario and not an interview question, they would have long ago thrown up their arms in defeat. Computers are predictable, they don't "decide" anything, they're told what to do. If you understand that you're a step ahead of the average developer when it comes to debugging and troubleshooting.
Earlier this week DotNetRocks interviewed Tess Ferrandez, an escalation engineer with Microsoft. She's Tier 2 support. In other words, when you have a problem and call Microsoft you get Tier 1 support. Then "when thinks get too sticky" she comes to the rescue.
(I'd like to take a moment and have you consider the types of problems she gets. The typical engineer will encounter many issues over their career. I'm sure you've had them. I've had them. However, I typically will peruse articles, blog posts, and forum posts to find the answers I look for. When faced with a problem, how many times have you ever resorted to calling Microsoft? Me? Zero. So imagine for a moment that you've not found an answer on any of the typical resources and have called Microsoft. You're working with their Tier 1 support but they can't seem to help you. It as it this point that you get a person like Tess. She's smart. She know .NET like I know Mt. Dew).
If you're sitting at a desk download the podcast and listen now:
03-13-2009 2:38 PM