How writing a blog can help me be a better developer
3 min read
At a conference that I attended years ago, an indie game developer suggested to an audience of over 100 local developers and students to start writing about themselves online.
It took me 8 years to follow his advice. I guess we all move at different speeds.
His reasoning was pretty simple: By simply talking about yourself, you are marketing yourself. And in an industry where who you know often matters more than what you know, this can make all the difference.
As an independent developer, you have to fulfill all the roles that a company would on your own. Development, research, planning, Q&A, marketing... the amount of work involved sounds exhausting, right? But if you're the type of person who doesn't mind socializing, or writing about yourself online, you might be able to accomplish that last one fairly easily.
I guess it makes sense for indies to do this, especially in game development, which often leverages creativity and artistic expression as a way of standing out.
But what about other fields of software development? And IT in general?
At first, I wasn't sure how much appreciation could be had for blogging as a developer. When I studied game dev, I always imagined the working environment of a software company to be very professional by comparison, but also a little more...well, boring. Also, my past experiences with blogging in general usually involved a bit of an artistic, personalized, and eccentric twist. So I figured that blogging as a developer would essentially be the same as making highly sanitized posts on your LinkedIn page, and also your grandma was on LinkedIn.
But now, I think my understanding of why people blog has changed.
I think the content of your blog is only a part of why blogging can be to your benefit. What is equally important is the act of writing out your experiences and getting the chance to reflect on them, while having others give their input on the same subject.
It forces you to think deeper, which challenges you to be better. Blogging can help you grow, and when you have to write about yourself, you get a chance to see how you've changed over time. This means blogging can be a very humbling experience, much like looking through old GitHub repos from early in your career.
I also think that looking back on your past blog posts can give you a bit of extra steam to keep learning and exploring new concepts and expanding what you know.
Early on, you may write about some of the technologies you're familiar with and what you've developed on your own. But there's a good chance that there is something in the distance that you haven't gotten to yet, but you know you'll be there soon. You could speculate what you could accomplish, or how many nights of sleep you might lose in the future.
And then in the future, you might write about how it wasn't as rough as you thought it would be, and highlight how much you enjoyed getting to learn new things. (Alternatively, you could share a picture of the number of coffee cups you went through trying to figure out a solution that ChatGPT solved in two minutes)
In the end, your mileage may vary when it comes to writing. While reading a few blog posts, I quickly realized how my previous conceptions of why a person might blog were based on a lot of assumptions, and I don't agree with my previous stance.
My hope is that I can at least use blogging as a way of keeping my interest as I expand my knowledge and put myself through new challenges. Getting the chance to look into the past and seeing how far I've come could give me more confidence in the future.