Stack Exchange provide a network of online knowledge sharing sites, the most notable of which is Stack Overflow. I admit to spending a lot of time on Stack Overflow and didn’t notice until recently that Stack Exchange had over 80 other similar websites on a variety of topics – luckily for us most of them are IT-related.
If you visit the Stack Exchange site listing you’ll get a graphical overview of all of their sites, as illustrated below:
If you haven’t clicked on the link, or image above, and are still reading this post then worth noting is that each site, represented by one of the boxes in the screenshot, gives you and overview of how popular it is – questions asked, answers provided etc. – with Stack Overflow just falling shy of the 3 million question mark. Links to each site will appear as you click on their respective box.
So some of the more popular IT software-related sites are:
- User Experience
- Code Review
- IT Security
- Database Administrators
- Computer Science
- Web Applications
The list goes on but I’ll stop here as you get the jist.
When I first came across Stack Overflow I used it solely as a source for answers. After a while I felt the right thing to do was start giving back to the community and answering some myself. From there I found myself coming across topics that weren’t in my particular area of expertise but were of interest so I spent some time reading through them in order to broaden my knowledge. Then when I came across Stack Exchange – I’m just about reach the point so bear with me – and found that there was an array of other topics just outside the direct field of coding; User Experience, IT Security etc. I was like a kid in a candy shop (or perhaps liquor store is more appropriate these days). Not only do you get answers to a mountain of different questions on all things IT but if you spend the time just searching around on topics you’re vaguely familiar with then there is a strong chance you’re going to learn something new.
So search around the Stack Exchange network and hopefully you’ll find it just as informative as I have.
Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky, the founders of Stack Overflow, definitely deserve a pat on the back for what they’ve created. It’s great that they’ve secured the finance to provide an online tool, like Wikipedia, that costs nothing but provides so much.