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5 reasons why EVERY PROGRAMMER should have a BLOG!

Tuomo Kankaanpää
Full-stack web developer programming Javascript, React and PHP. I have a YouTube channel.
Originally published at tuomokankaanpaa.com ・6 min read

When you hear a word "blog" you might be thinking something like "That's so 2000, no one reads blogs anymore!".

I would argue that it's not exactly accurate. If you are a programmer without your own blog, I think you should definitely start one right away!

Having a blog has a bunch of benefits. In this article I will list five reasons why you should have a blog as a programmer.

1. A blog will make you a better programmer

When you write what you know and that way teach others, it will also make you better in the thing you write about. Because if you are teaching someone you must know your stuff.

Let's say for example that you write an article about React fragments. You might be familiar with them and you know how to use them.

But when you have to write an article about React fragments, you need to actually understand how they work, why would you use them and how to use them.

If you know all that stuff, great! Writing that article should be easy. In this case there can still be aspects that you might not have known, or use cases or properties you find out while browsing through documentation, something you would not be doing if you weren't doing a research for your article.

But if you e.g. know everything about fragments except why would one use them, why are they better than wrapper divs, you must do your research and understand the why. This way you almost accidentally get better with fragments.

It goes without saying that I just used React fragments as an example for this, but the same goes on any other concept that you might write about.

2. You help others

Since you are reading this, I assume you are a programmer. And as a programmer I am 99.9% sure that you have read blog posts. If you aren't, at least you are reading one right now!

You know the feeling when you have a problem and you find an article that solves your problem right then and there. It is a great feeling!

But let me tell you, even better feeling is to write an article yourself and then get feedback that it helped someone else to solve their problem or make their life easier. That is even greater feeling!

I love to help others and it is just so gratifying to know that something I put out there is helping other people and possibly making someone's life even a little bit easier.

We often forget when reading blog posts or watching videos, that someone took the time to write that article or shoot that video. I always try to leave a comment or like on articles & videos that are helpful or provide value.

If you are enjoying this article, please do check out my newsletter. It is the best way to show me that the content I put out there is appreciated.

3. You become a better communicator

When you are starting out, your articles most likely aren't that good. And this is totally fine! I read the first articles I ever wrote and they are quite terrible. Not to say that my articles now are exceptionally good, but I can see that they have at least improved over time.

If you have never written articles before, it is natural that you don't know how to write articles. You didn't know how to code when you started to write your first program. And I bet that if you look at some code you wrote when starting out, you are not proud. I know I'm not proud of the code in my first programs.

By constantly writing articles to your blog you improve your writing and communication skills. I would say that these skills are almost if not as important as actual programming skills.

Most often as a programmer code is not all you write. You need to also be able to work in teams, write documentation and email with a client, to mention a few. All these situations will be easier for you when you are a better communicator and writer.

Communication and writing skills are also something that is not limited just to your job as a programmer. They are essential skills in life in general.

4. You get exposure

Think about this scenario.

You are a recruiter in an IT firm and your job is to recruit a programmer for a new project.

You have two candidates.

First candidate has a great CV listing all the skills that are required for the job.

Second candidate has also a good CV listing all the skills that are required for the job. But on top of that, this candidate also has a blog. Quick browse through the blog shows that the candidate has also been writing articles about skills that are listed in the CV.

Now think about which candidate will you choose.

Most likely the second candidate. Because you actually have proof that this candidate knows the stuff he/she claims to know in their CV.

So having a blog will also act as an insurance to possible future employer that you know what you claim to know.

On top of that a blog can open doors that you wouldn't otherwise even know about.

For example you might get job offers you otherwise would not, because people find you through your blog. Or you might get speaking gigs, if that's something you want to do, just because you put yourself out there and make it possible for people to find you.

5. Blogging has low barrier to entry

Starting a blog is quite easy. You just setup a blog with e.g. Wordpress, start typing and hit publish. If you compare it to e.g. making a Youtube video, writing an article requires significantly less work to get your content out there.

While making videos is also great (I do it too) if you are just starting out to make programming content (= articles / videos), I think making a blog is a great way to get started because of the fact that it is easier to start. You also get quickly to the habit of producing content, without having to worry about cameras, lightning, audio, editing etc.

Important: Why you should NOT code your own blog when starting out blogging.

Also if you have never published anything, the idea alone about putting yourself out there, for other people to read your thoughts and possibly judge you, can be frightening.

I know this because I still remember when I published my first blog post, I was so uncomfortable when I hit the publish button. I didn't tell anyone about the article and the idea of someone I know reading it just felt awkward.

Over time and with practice (= writing more articles), I got over this and I no longer feel that way.

I now also have a Youtube channel where I upload videos about web development and this is something I really like to do!

I started the Youtube channel just under a year ago and if I hadn't been blogging for the past few years, I wouldn't been able to start the channel.

Because if you think about making a video and talking to a camera, that's a whole another ball game compared to writing a blog post. I could never have been able to create a video where I talk to a camera and on top of that publish it, without having some practice first.

All the years that I have been writing articles and putting myself out there also gave me the courage to start making videos.

Final thoughts

I hope you found this article helpful. I tried to give you insight that I have learned over the years and hopefully you got some value out of it.

If you are thinking of starting your own blog, read this article next: Why you should NOT code your own blog when starting out blogging.

Cheers!

Discussion (38)

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel Fayard 🇫🇷🇩🇪🇬🇧🇪🇸🇨🇴

I dislike not the content but the title, which deny that we all have different lives.

You can be a developer, mother of two small twins, therefore have no time for blogging outside of your job, therefore your title is false.

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leob profile image
leob

This! I wish I could have given this comment multiple likes.

The article title and its premise are so laughable, it borders on ridiculous.

Yes, I do recognize those 5 potential benefits ... but no, not EVERY programmer SHOULD have a blog. My reaction to the author of this post is, speak for yourself, don't speak for others.

A much better (but less clickbait-y and sensationalist) title would have been "Every programmer should consider the benefits of having a blog".

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tumee profile image
Tuomo Kankaanpää Author

Thanks for the feedback! Happy to hear that you liked the content and sorry that you found the title not to your liking.

Of course we all have different lives and I understand it is different for all of us. I'm sorry if the title offended you.

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leob profile image
leob • Edited

Well, maybe "offended" is putting it a bit too strong, I was just sceptical about the notion that "every" programmer "should" have a blog - but probably I'm just reading too much into it, and you were just super enthusiastic about the idea that devs should have a blog (and for good reasons, I'm not disputing those).

Like I said, sometimes we're reading to much into something, you never know what a person was thinking when they wrote something down, no big deal, let's not fight over it.

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aliasalan profile image
Alias

I think the title is rather more a manifestation of the source for which it was written. This a community dedicated to programming and therefore, while I agree the title could be broader, a counter-proposal to that argument is that perhaps the title is perfectly in tune with the community for which it addresses and for where it was published.

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leob profile image
leob • Edited

Right, so in fact what you imply is that this style of communication (just look at the ALLCAPS, and the ! exclamation mark in the article title) is probably the accepted norm within the author's target audience/community, and not many people would be questioning it, or giving it much thought at all - that's interesting, I haven't thought about it like that.

Still my point is that, when writing or saying something, an author should be aware of the question "How will this come across?", also looking a little bit outside of an author's "hardcore" target audience ... I even put this within the context of the "inclusive" topic that's so cherished within the dev.to community.

You see what I mean? You can tacitly assume that we all think 100% alike and that we must value the same things in exactly the same way, but then you're not aware of your subconscious bias.

But then again, maybe I'm just making too much out of all of this, I'm totally aware of that possibility.

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aliasalan profile image
Alias

@leob Very well said,

As a fundamental observationalist of human behavior and someone entrenched in the sciences of human behavior with three larger publications in poetry, philosophy, and psychology, I completely conceptualize and understand and agree with your point of view. I do wish to venture more into the realm of IT to further drive my ability to not only secure my technological resources but to also continue creating new applications and modifying old ones as I've been doing so albeit through MIT Courses, MSRC Courses, Google Developer Courses, and self-teaching. One thing I've into taken account thus far in my specific journey throughout each community(tech at large- not specifically Dev.to) is that there is a lot of deeply rooted neuroticism and narcissistic traits that seem to expose more than the actuality of purpose behind the mismanagement of articulation one has over their specific ideologies.

So, I absolutely think you're correct in what you shared when you mentioned the time allotted to handling the release of this post. From an Author's standpoint and a readers viewpoint, the line between chaos and order seems very blurry, and simply proof-reading, reading aloud the piece(even if to no audience but yourself), and taking your suggestion and trying to read the piece in an objectively pronounced 3rd person point of view are all great examples on how to better achieve a more fluent, widely-accepted, and less-aggressive stance on the material.

While I do believe you're looking a little more in-depth into this than the average person would, that specific trait is what sets you apart from a greater part of humanity. The ability to subjectively and objectively identify such difference is a very biologically out-of-sync human trait and technology is actually something that has started bringing it out in a more primarily irreducible manner so that it's less becoming from a point of counter-purpose but rather becoming from a misunderstood realm currently at odds with the generalization of one being ruthless. I personally re-read the topic and your response a few times apiece and I think overall the main point you're exercising in your claim is simply to recognize the level of accountability that is necessary to create something worthy enough that excuses are damned and can be read throughout without the tenants of, let's call it, human nature's pedantic mindset and allow it to be digested without needing followup measures to address certain specificities that are indeed left out in this piece.

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leob profile image
leob

Right ... you're not being ironic, are you? My point about the article title is probably just a matter of style and taste, there's not much more to it. But again, I'm probably making too much of a big deal out of it. Amusing discussion though ... ;)

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aliasalan profile image
Alias

No, my response was forthright, perhaps it was harsh? I re-read it and didn't suspect it to be taken harshly but I assure you that was not the intention. It was just a long-winded way of saying I agree with your points that were made, that some of us(myself included) tend to have a pedantic eye and pay too much attention to details that are of those that should remain just outside the fog so-to-speak. A rather interesting video I suspect you might find rather amusing that touches briefly on such pedantries as these. When you have a couple of minutes and any desire to venture into the fray, check out this video, youtube.com/watch?v=J7E-aoXLZGY - We're the pedants, though justifiably it was pedantic simply to insist on a better vision of how this post would benefit from such small changes.

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leob profile image
leob • Edited

I didn't say you were harsh :-)

Are you suggesting that I'm pedantic, or that the author of this post is pedantic, or only yourself? ;-)

Joking! I think we should stop taking this too seriously ...

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aliasalan profile image
Alias

Haha! Tribalistic childish banter is always enticing to toil with at any age :). I was actually proclaiming the pedantic nature of both of our outlooks in opposition to our views of the original posts, lol. Regarding the harshness, I suspect I took your words hyper-critically and applied them presumptuously without truly knowing you but allowing us to further the conversation so that which is unknown can become just that, known. At least, in my opinion, that which is known provides a less provocative draw on neurotic traits and allows us a more worldly perspective.

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leob profile image
leob • Edited

Good point about the tribes! Yes, to a large extent these sympathies and antipathies (or to put it simpler, likes or dislikes) harken back to whether one identifies (consciously or unconsciously) with a "tribe" AKA a "sub culture" - for instance, the "hard core developers" tribe, the "proud nerds" (or geeks) tribe, and so on ... so, as I alluded to before, I'm starting to believe that this is largely a "cultural thing" - we're expressing ourselves in the way we think is perceived as cool by our "peers", conforming to their norms and expectations ... man, what a discussion haha

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aliasalan profile image
Alias

With a background in behavioral research, I don't think it could be explained any more clearly than that. The intuitive nature of competition between tribes and the biological processes to come off or be seen as the more dominant member of said tribes is largely what drives competition in most fields but also what makes people high in openness which from an ELI5 mockery is simply to say the physiological dependence of anxiety that comes along with being a said member of representation is very dangerous and something I hope to better understand during my time here on Dev as I learn other things to help better improve or fine-tune certain/specific skills and abilities I have.

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leob profile image
leob

Right, sort of a large socio-psychological-behavioral experiment in the wild unfolding before our eyes, haha ... I wonder how the dev.to moderators and "community managers" are looking at these phenomena, or maybe they don't ;)

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aliasalan profile image
Alias

Actually a great point, touches on the introduction post you have to make when signing up and is in near alignment with it. I'd be curious if the owners/moderators/managers of Dev.To would be interested in the data sets thought the samples are obviously restricted but it can still be done on a smaller scale with great significance.

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sekhat profile image
Sekhat Temporus

Should. Not must. Should is always a strong recommendation not a requirement. I should clean my keyboard regularly. I should spend time relaxing in the garden. There's benefits to doing both, but I'm not required to do either

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leob profile image
leob • Edited

Well I agree that "must" is even stronger (as in, "inevitable"), but "should" is already pretty authoritative, as in "you're crazy if you don't do it" ;)

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gdenn profile image
Dennis Groß

I guess no one seriously believes that you can only be a good developer if you blog.

It is just that Tuomo made this title a bit controverse to make it exciting enough for people to read his content. I believe there is nothing wrong with that.

@tumee nice blog post

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z00md profile image
z00md

One more important aspect - You help yourself.

We tend to forget things quickly if we are not repeating them. For example setting up SSL on your site. But if you write about it, you can always quickly refer back.

You can always keep notes for such things but since a blog is targeted towards public, you will try to write in detail as much as you can which ultimately results in good informational text.

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tumee profile image
Tuomo Kankaanpää Author

This is true! I have many times referred to some of my old blog posts in order to get something done I know I have done, but can't just remember how. And the fact that you write towards public results in good and concise writing. Thanks!

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ayeprahman profile image
Arif Rahman • Edited

This is such a great article! Really like the fact that when we blog/teach we learn twice. That way anyone can get better as both programmer and communication skill!

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leob profile image
leob

The article is fine, but the title is too much sensationalist and "clickbait" - I don't need the author barking at me (and others) that EVERY programmer SHOULD have a blog. He can advise me to consider it, but the title as it is borders on ridiculous.

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ayeprahman profile image
Arif Rahman

Agree on the clickbait, but my guess is how blogger want their content to reach as many people out there 🤣

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leob profile image
leob • Edited

Yeah that's probably why they go with extreme article titles like this, but when I see that I'm already done reading the post and I'm skipping right away to the comments section ;)

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siddharth2016 profile image
Siddharth Chandra

Super article!

I think if anyone who is just starting writing, they can start with very small posts like those suitable for LinkedIn posts, then they can improve on that. It really helped me that way.

Would love to hear your feedback on my blog, thanks.

My Blog

Again, awesome article, keep up the good work and keep sharing.

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tumee profile image
Tuomo Kankaanpää Author

That's true! The posts don't need to be massive. Just short, clear and concise posts are great to get started in blogging.

Yours blog looks great, keep it up!

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jdinnovensa profile image
Jon Dodd

I definitely agree with point 1. When you start to dig into a topic and explore it more thoroughly, you acquire a deeper knowledge of the subject matter.

In terms of helping others, that depends largely on the content and the way it is communicated. You can think you are writing the best guidance ever, but perhaps no-one is interested in the topic or it is not clearly conveyed.

Clear communication and finding your voice comes with practice. So if you start a blog it is worth persisting.

I do think blogging is a good habit, but a personal choice and developers generally don't need to have the burden of expectation on them.

I've only written a handful of posts and finding the time is always the biggest factor, but I have to say I find the process rewarding.

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mwrpwr profile image
Joseph Maurer

As an engineer who recently started blogging I can agree with a lot of your points. I've been contemplating getting into making videos also but the barrier to entry is much higher. Any tips for getting started?

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tumee profile image
Tuomo Kankaanpää Author • Edited

Great that you have started your blog! About making videos, I'd suggest that try making screencast videos first. It is always harder to show your face and talk to camera. So starting with screencast videos is easier. When you have made couple of videos think about maybe including short "talking head" shots to the screencast videos also. This way the jump from screencast to "talking to camera" videos gets easier.

With screencast videos you also don't have to worry about equipment (camera, lights, etc) that much. You only need microphone and screen recording software (I use OBS).

Hope these help!

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metalmikester profile image
Michel Renaud • Edited

Thirty-three years of programming (professionally) and no blog, I think I'll be alright. ;)

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tumee profile image
Tuomo Kankaanpää Author

You don't know what you are missing until you try it ;P

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rahulwoll profile image
Rahul Sharma

I also have an blog that gives me a decent income from Adsense.

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tumee profile image
Tuomo Kankaanpää Author

That's great!

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andrenbrandao profile image
André Brandão

@tumee how do you choose the topics for your next article? Do you keep an editorial calendar?

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tumee profile image
Tuomo Kankaanpää Author

Yea I have an editorial calendar where I keep a list of all my blog post ideas and plan what and when I am going to write.

I usually write about things I have been working on by myself or things that I find interesting. Also if I am studying a new topic, I might write about it, so this way I learn about it better.

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justinkaffenberger profile image
JustinKaffenberger

Developers that need a blog are compensating for something.

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blueedgetechno profile image
Blue edge

Five reasons why you should have a Blog

  1. It gives you a LIFE