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What if you start your own dev blog?

andrzejkrzywda profile image Andrzej Krzywda ・5 min read

Hello, my name is Andrzej and I think the world needs your own dev blog.

But WHY the world needs my dev blog?

You're reading this post on the dev.to platform. It's probably not the first time you're benefiting (hopefully!) from the fact that someone shared their content with the world.

There was nothing and someone made the decision to share what they know. Now you get the chance to read it.

Every time you google for that weird error in Ruby/Python library you end on someone's explanation. They helped you without even knowing that you'd need it one day.

Andrzej, I'm not an expert - nobody needs my blogposts

Yeah, I get it. I was there, for many years. It's easy for me to say to people they could blog. My confidence after 20 years in IT may be higher than someone's with 6 months of experience.

But guess what - only today, I googled for 4 different problems. You know who helped me? People who are in the Dev world only for months. I still struggle with some JavaScript/GraphQL quirks. This is a hot stack nowadays often used by juniors too. Some of them share what they found on their blog. Thanks to that I was able to solve my problem with GraphQL. Someone completely fresh helped me.

Are they experts? Nope.

What if we look at blogging this way:

Blogging is not about sharing your expertise.
Blogging is about documenting what you just learnt.

Document, don't create.

Andrzej, I do boring tasks, there's nothing worth documenting

Our perspective on what we do is always biased. We do similar things everyday. How come someone would find it interesting?

Let's say, your job is fairly easy React coding. You receive some requirements how the component should work and you code it according to the company code standards. You use redux, you know how to turn a wireframe into a set of React components. You know how to grab the data from the API using GraphQL. Your team prefers TypeScript so you use TypeScript.

Jane is working on backend APIs on Rails apps. Mostly boring, CRUDish stuff to expose some data to the mobile/web frontend apps. Every day the same. Take care of caching, take care of the right serialization methods. Sometimes some small refactoring to DRY the code.

For you the React code is boring. For Jane, it's the boring Rails API.

But then one day, you get a chance to work on the backend too. Your backend dev got sick and you need to add a new GET API call. You never needed to know what is the backend. Now you know, it's Rails. You're new to Rails. So you start googling. You find yourself on Jane's blog. She wrote about all the boring stuff she does every day. She finds it boring but she knows for others it may sound difficult. So she shares. Now you benefit from it. You're grateful to Jane.

Now imagine that Jane needs to switch to the React code too. For her React is a foreign world. She speaks JSON not JSX. She speaks Ruby not TypeScript. Even the idea of types is new to her. You see where I'm going?

Your boring job is fascinating and new to someone else.

The grass is always greener on the other side.

Andrzej, you're right, my blogposts can help people - but I don't have time for blogging

How much do you think is required for one blogpost?

When I asked some programmers, they said they would need probably full 2 days to write a great blogpost.

I can see why they think this way.

That was my thinking too.

Until I met Michael.

Michael and I were working at the same company. We practiced pairing so I got to work with Michael very often. In the morning session of pairing we would do some work. Later, just before the lunch break - Michael sat down to his laptop and started typing something quickly. Within the time, which I used to check social media he was up with a new blogpost.

In 10 minutes a new blogpost!

That has changed all my perception around blogging.

Michael has built his brand in the Python community. He's now a frequent speaker at Python conferences, he wrote books. I believe this was mainly thanks to his blog.

But I still can't imagine how you could write a blogpost in 10 minutes

Not all kinds of blogposts can be written in 10 minutes. But here's one of my example blogging sessions:

Great for Michael, but I don't care about a personal brand, I just want to write code. I'm not paid for blogging

Actually, when it comes to money. There are many companies which are more than happy to pay for the blogging time.

You see, even if you don't care about your brand, you company does care about it. A good brand brings recognition, marketing, sales or especially in the dev world recruitment.

Would you like to stay in the current company but work with great devs - help your company with a company technical blog. This will attract talent to your team!

I'm still not convinced - I don't care about recruitment

How about simplifying your code reviews. Chances are that at your company you do pull requests. They need to be reviewed. Sometimes it's your job.

Isn't that tedious to repeat the same arguments over and over? Let's say you're into small classes and you know why they're good. Somehow the team around you is almost like against you. They keep adding methods to existing classes, instead of creating new ones.

You have a choice to nitpick it in every pull request listing the arguments.

Or you can write that blogpost "This is why small classes are better" and just paste a link.

Sounds like a time saver?

OK, Andrzej, you're good at convincing but I'm still not sure, what next?

My bold promise is this:

At the end of next week you can have your fully running dev blog with at least 5 blogposts, all reviewed by me or someone from my team. We will check your English and the flow. Sometimes we will also help with promotion.

How does it work?

You have 2 options:

  1. Register for the Arkademy Blog Conference which starts April 14th 2021 - Wednesday this week. There are 4 talks, all helping you become a dev blogger.
  2. If passive watching doesn't do miracles for you - you can join our 5-days-5-blogposts challenge (disclaimer: it's a paid action as part of our Arkademy.dev community).
  3. Or there's the 3rd option - just stay a happy developer without a blog - nothing wrong with that if none of the arguments worked for you. You're still amazing and I wish you all the cleanest code possible, have a great day!

Discussion (3)

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Kyle Jones

I recently turned to blogging as a way of documenting my thoughts on topics that interest me, as well as helping me to think more deeply about things that I'm interested in learning more about as it forces me to really comprehend the what and the why. I've been posting through a combination of my personal site, DEV.to, Medium and Hackernoon.

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Mateusz Nowak

Kyle, do you copy content between those sites? Or do you write something else? What about SEO in this case :) ?

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Kyle Jones

@mateusznowak I cross-post on each site. So I usually post on my personal site first and then use canonical URLs to link back to the original