Blogs, blogs, blogs. It seems like everyone in the tech world is always talking about them, sharing them, telling you to write them. Are they worth the effort and what are the benefits of them?
As a current software development bootcamp student I was surprised to learn that writing at least four or more blog posts was a mandatory part of the curriculum in order to graduate. When I first started I couldn't understand why I was required to take time out of my busy schedule to write what I considered to be a glorified diary post and share it publicly on the internet for anyone to see. I started this bootcamp to learn programming, not to dredge up my English essay writing skills. As the deadline approached for the blog presentation I began dreading the thought of writing the blog, I was filled with anxiety about choosing a topic for the post, and I was worried I would be judged on my lack of experience about the topic. Why should I, who has been studying programming for such a short amount of time be writing a public post about it that anyone can see?
As I began to write my first post and read the posts that were shared by my fellow programmers-to-be I started to see the benefits of the humble blog in the tech world. The three major upsides of blog posts that I've found are the sharing of knowledge, learning through teaching, and preparing for the professional world.
We've all been there; staring at a jumbled mess of code, banging our heads against the keyboard, desperate for someone to help us figure out how to tackle the latest problem we've run into. Our first instinct as the esteemed programmers we are is to turn to Google, after all most problems that exist have already been tackled. There is a good chance that one of the first results that will come up is going to be a blog post by a fellow programmer who once upon a time was in a similar situation and decided to share their knowledge on the solution. In a way it is comforting to know that we are not alone in our struggle and there was and will be again someone else facing the same issues you face. So when you next make your big break through consider writing a blog about it to help out the next person with keys plastered to their forehead.
I've found that one of the best ways to solidify your knowledge on a topic is to try to explain it to someone else. Teaching forces you to really examine a subject in depth and think about it from different angles. Being able to explain a topic also helps to build confidence in your abilities; if you are confident enough to teach someone about a subject then you are confident enough to apply those skills to your own personal projects. Writing blog posts is a great way to grow your skills as a teacher, and in turn improve your own self-efficacy as a programmer.
In this day and age of zoom interviews, remote work, and slack meetings, our professional personas live more and more on the internet. There are many facets to this, whether it is your LinkedIn page, portfolio, personal website or social media feed, your potential employer will likely get their first impression of you from somewhere on the internet. Posting technical blogs on the subjects you will likely be utilizing in your work will not only show a degree of skill in the field, but will also show you have the confidence and know-how to put into practice what you've been learning. Regularly posting blogs will allow your fellow professionals to see you are active in the field and allow them to get a taste of your personality without ever need to meet face-to-face. Having an online presence is more important than ever in the professional world.
As daunting as it may seem at first to put yourself out there on the internet in yet another form, I hope this blog post about blog posts has shown the benefits of writing blogs and encouraged my fellow lurkers to take the plunge and make their mark on this community. And next time you turn to a blog post for guidance, make sure to show your thanks to the writer with a comment or follow.