Ask a developer to write a blog and this is what his reaction may look like: :-). However, based on my personal experience, I must say that blogging at regular intervals helps the developer become a better developer, although one may need to spend a bit extra time for planning and writing blogs. However, it is worth it. This is why I suggest my colleagues and junior developers working in my team to consider writing their blogs. Do read it further and let me know what you think. Thanks for reading it further.
Some of the reasons why developers avoid writing in general, and writing blogs in particular are following:
- Lack of communication skills, primarily, written skills
- Lack of understanding on what should a blog look like? What content should it contain? How many words could form a good blog
- The question on why should I write when no one is going to read? Or, would anyone ever read it? Would it be useful to anyone? If yes, how would I know about it?
The aspects related to what a blog should look like and what are the best practices is out of the scope of this article. You could find several blogs/articles on this topic. In the meantime, let’s look at what are top 5 reasons why developers should consider maintaining their blog:
Communication is the Key
In my experience, I have seen many developers weak in English communication, particularly, written form of communication. This has got evident by the manners in which they write emails to their colleagues, managers/superiors and customers. And, once there are raised complaints/concerns about their writing skills by one or more stakeholders, the most common question that they ask is how should they improve on their writing skills thereby writing effective emails. This is where blogging helps a great deal. Blogging, for sure, gives a great boost to one’s written form of communication including emails to colleagues, managers, and most importantly, the customers.
While doing blogging, one learns following at the minimum:
- Learn to split the content in appropriate paragraphs.
- Use heading statements wherever required to create the context
- Use bullets to mention key points for enhanced reading
- Use bold/italics/regular font type appropriately to emphasize on important words, sentences etc.
Taking the Learning as You Go
Many a times, we, the developers, want to take our learning/programming experiences as we progress in our career while working with different IT companies. And, many a times, we do this by storing important documents etc that were used in projects in our private space (mailboxes, dropbox etc). This is where blogging helps a great deal. Developers could blog important aspect of their learning at regular intervals and, these blogs remain accessible as a webpage anytime, anywhere. As a result, any specific aspect of IT experiences that has been blogged becomes easier to access whenever we want rather than locating the documents from private storage. The ease of accessibility is further enabled by the fact that the blogs are written with appropriate searchable tags which could be used to search the blogs based on tags.
In order to write a technical blog in an effective manner which includes description of concepts and some associated examples, one needs to understand the topic in detail with great clarity and, also try his hand at some of the samples to see how the underlying concepts work. This is where blogging helps. Blogging motivates one to understand the topic in greater detail in order to write the same with great clarity.
Additionally, blogging acts as a great motivation to look out for relevant tools and frameworks, evaluate and learn about same and write one or more blogs.
Serve the Developers’ Community
There are various ways in which a developer could serve to the IT community, in general. Some of them are following:
- Create one or more opensource tools and framework and release it on platforms such as github, sourceforge etc for use of others in developers’ community. This not only enable other developers to use your software but also contribute to it thereby making a great software at the end of the day.
- Blogging helps one to present solutions to many a problems that one solves on day-to-day basis.
Great Booster to Your Resume
In addition to all of the above benefits, last but not the least, your blog could act as a value-addition to your resume from the perspective that it speaks a lot about your technical experience, communication skills, presentation style, problem-solving skills etc. In addition, the very fact that you have been blogging in regular manner could enable/empower you to take job interviews at any point of time as you are always ready.