Reasons for writing and not writing a blog

Is it worth writing a developer blog? What are the benefits? Thoughts for wannabe bloggers after blogging for more than year and a half.

1. Why does tchis blog exist?

Let’s start with the reason why I’m writing this blog.

If you are a reader of this blog, you know that I publish a new post every week.

I decided to start this blog because I learnt the foundations of software development from the internet. I come from a teaching background, and although I have a degree in Mathematics, I don’t have formal qualification in Computer Science (although it’s not needed for one to become a software developer).

In the beginning, I had no idea what I was doing, so I started to read blogs and articles and watch videos. This self-learning helped me get my first job as a web developer.

I still actively read blog posts, newsletters, online tutorials and documentations. I feel that I have to give back something to the community, and the goal is to present the concepts I write about in an easy-to-understand, sometimes in a like-I’m-5 manner.

2. It takes time

Writing articles every week takes a lot of time. You have to come up with ideas, write code for them and test the code to make sure you don’t publish crap. You have to do the research to avoid making factual errors and the resources need to be linked. Once it’s all done, you need to proofread the article and correct any typos, which can be even more time consuming if your first language is not English (which is the case with me).

The process I described above can easily take anywhere between 2 and 8 hours a week depending on the topic and the length of the post.

3. The benefits

Writing a blog like the one you are reading has a lot of benefits.

If you care about your reputation, you will want to dig into the concept you are writing about. It means that you will read documentations, tutorials, and you will play with the code, tweak it and break it. And still, errors may (and will) remain in the post, but at least you’ll know you have done your best in your preparation.

Preparing properly for a post has the benefit of getting to know of deep, more abstract concepts of the language you might not read about otherwise.

It also forces you to write code, tweak and break it, which will eventually lead you to become a better developer. You’ll see basic patterns and will learn to incorporate them into your own work.

From my experience, you can’t learn coding just by reading or watching it on a video tutorial. You have to sit down and do it, which can be hard, especially if you have a day job, family and other commitments. This will consume a good deal of your private time.

Writing articles on a regular (weekly, bi-weekly or monthly) will also teach you to become disciplined. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have many readers, doing something repeatedly will be part of your schedule, and if nothing else, for just this reason it’s worth doing it.

Of course, this is not the only way to create habits. I completed the #100DaysOfCode challenge three times last year, and it felt great to get it done. I strongly recommend taking on this challenge if you have problems sitting down and working on your goals.

One common misconception is that you have to be an expert to write an article about. This is not true. Although I have some experience with NodeJS or I’m a certified AWS Solutions Architect Associate, I definitely don’t think that I’m an expert in any of these technologies. There’s still a lot to learn. But I believe that there is an audience I can help with my knowledge, and I’m more than happy to do so through this blog.

4. What a blog doesn’t help with

Let’s face it: If you have a blog, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be a more respected developer. If you have a day job, you will still be judged based on the quality of work you do there, and this is absolutely normal and understandable.

It only matters how you perform, how quickly you get the work done and how fast you understand the requirements.

The blog also won’t necessarily help you get a better job, it doesn’t matter what others say. Companies and recruiters will look at your LinkedIn profile and/or resume first, and they will immediately see how much experience you have. The number of years is still baked into many recruiters’ mind as the measurement of knowledge and experience. And, of course, their second or third question will probably be about your salary expectation anyway, and not if you are writing a blog. Chances are they won’t even look at it.

I’m not saying that this is always the case. Of course, there are exceptions, but those are the rare occasions. Bill Gates built Microsoft, Steve Jobs built Apple, but the other 90% who started a business and didn’t make it usually don’t get the attention in the spotlight, and their names won’t be mentioned anywhere. Sorry, no losers.

If you are short of free time due to long hours, family or other commitments, building side projects is probably a better way to build skills instead of writing a blog.

5. Conclusion

So am I saying that writing a blog is not worth it? Not at all. If you have a passion for teaching (just like I do), writing a blog or creating videos (which are coming soon :) ) is a perfect way to share what you know or have recently learnt.

But don’t do it just to get a promotion or a better job. Chances are that it won’t work. Do it because you want to, you have something to say, you found out something great you want to share, and not because you expect something out of it.

// The compulsory code in the post

console.log('Good luck!') // Good luck!

Thanks for reading, and see you next time.