Craftsmanship, Developer growth

Unlock your true developer potential through blogging

So, you’re a software developer pushing boundaries and earning a living by writing code. You learn as part of your job or maybe by dabbling in projects or reading about the latest trends. You may be spending time, consuming content to learn awesome technologies and feel like you’re in a good place. But have you considered that consuming content as a way to keep up to date may not be the best way to learn? You most certainly will get to know about trends and technologies, but you won’t really be learning new skills.

“You suck” and that’s a good thing

I’m paraphrasing Jeff Atwood (@codinghorror) from his talk about sucking in public and being awesome. It’s an awesome video about the value of embracing that anything you produce can be done better, and the best way to get feedback and learn is by doing things in public. I don’t interpret this as we being bad programmers, but rather that we focus on doing our best and strive to move forward. Agile development practices embrace this, and with startups launching everywhere in the world and crowdfunding iterations of their products.

But I digress. Jeff Atwood has been an inspiration to me, and many other developers. He’s been involved in creating the most referenced programming Q & A website – Stack Overflow and has a kick-ass blog with great content. He’s not the only successful developer that’s found great popularity and shared their knowledge through blogging. For my part Scott Hanselmans blog and his podcast – Hanselminutes have also provided tremendous value. I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point about there are many great developers with blogs.

Getting Started

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Needless to say with all this was great inspiration and really got me going with my own personal blog. But Inspiration was soon lost and all I had was a “hello world post” and a few posts and in the beginning of a new year, a post announcing my commitment to blog actively again. The habit just hasn’t stuck…

This is when I (re-)stumbled over a developer named John Sonmez. I’ve heard about John through a few of his training videos on Pluralsight and actually followed him on twitter. What I hadn’t realised is what an immense amount of knowledge John had produced and collected on his website: simpleprogrammer.com. Needless to say I was reading one of his blog posts when I saw a link to subscribe to John’s free 3 week blogging course. I was feeling inspired and signed up.

What I’ve discovered along the way is actually a lot more than I expected. John has a really nice conversational tone, and this really shines in his mails. They’re direct, simple, funny and give you concrete advice. The email course was rock-solid and really got me going with the concrete assignments. It was so good that I decided to sign-up for his “How to Market Yourself as a Software Developer” course.

One really nice thing is that John is just an email away. He’s readily available to answer question and give advice along the way.

What’s in it for me?

Well John’s big selling point is how a personal blog can really build your personal brand and get you set up for a long-term career boost. This isn’t really news to me, but he’s gathered some tips, techniques and great content in his free and paid courses that really illustrate the value of being visible. He’s also removed all the guesswork. Loved it!

I can totally get behind this message, but it’s not the main reason I want to keep an active blog. I want to formalize my thoughts into text, my learnings into teachings, my questions into answers, my assumptions into understandings, my doubt into confidence, my over-confidence into humbleness. I want to do this for myself, but I want to do so publicly, directly and with as much feedback as possible. This has been what has driven me so far this year; I am going to keep the habit and strive for excellence.

There will be  mistakes / bad judgements / errors and possibly also making a fool of myself along the way. But I’m going to do so with the best intentions and I’m going to grow.

How about you?

I hope you feel inspired to start or re-activate your blog. You may feel like you don’t have a voice, or that it doesn’t matter. I think it should – to yourself. It doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks. Do it for yourself, the rest will follow.

So what are you waiting for? Subscribe to John’s free getting started course. Follow this course and you will be blogging in 3 weeks! Still not sure? Check out these other graduates.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter. Feel free to drop off a comment or reach out to me.