As the founder of Boot.dev, I've worked with countless students who are eager to break into the tech industry. And time and time again, I see the same question pop up: "Do I need to start a blog to get a coding job?"
It's a valid question. There's a lot of buzz around personal branding and the importance of building an online presence. But as someone who worked (and I guess still works) as a hiring manager, I can tell you that blogs are mostly overrated.
Let's break down the pros and cons of blogging as a developer. I'll share my own experiences and insights, and offer some practical tips for those who do choose to start a blog. So if you're wondering whether or not you need to blog to get a coding job, keep reading.
Let's start with the most important point: you don't need to start a blog to get a job as a developer. I was the only developer at my last company of roughly 100 engineers that had a blog.
A blog can certainly help you stand out in a crowded job market, as it has for me, it's absolutely not a requirement. Your skills, experience, and ability to solve problems are ultimately what will get you hired. If you're not interested in blogging or don't enjoy writing, then there's no need to force yourself to do it.
Assuming you do decide to start a blog, it's important to note that not all blog posts are created equal. For a blog to ackchyually help your job search, you need to write amazing content that showcases your expertise and adds new value to your readers.
Regurgitating information that can be found elsewhere on the inter-webs net won't do you any favors. Your blog posts need to be original, well-written, and packed with insights that can't be found elsewhere. If you're going to invest time and effort into creating a blog, make sure that you're creating content that's truly worth reading.
If you're going to start a blog, write content that slaps. Don't waste your time and energy on mediocre stuff that won't get you noticed.
If you're gonna write a blog post, make it yours. No one else should be able to write it better than you. Anyone can explain how a binary tree works for the 42,690th time. But what makes a great blog post is when you share your own experiences and insights.
If you've worked on a niche problem that you're particularly proud of, write about it. If you have a story about how you or your team overcame a unique challenge, write about it. If you've learned something new or personally changed your mind about something, write about it.
If you spend any time on Twitter or LinkedIn, you've probably seen countless posts from tech-fluencers talking about the importance of building a personal brand. While a personal brand has value in some scenarios, influencers drastically overestimate the importance of a personal brand when it comes to getting your first job as a developer.
Vanishingly few real-world (non-twitter) developers have a personal brand. Of the hundreds I've worked with personally, I can count on one hand the number that have a large following online, and that hasn't prevented them from finding success in their careers.
At the end of the day, what matters is your ability to solve problems, create value for your employer, and prove that you can do so in an interview. If you can tangibly demonstrate those skills, you'll be in good shape. I think these are much better ways to stand out:
- A good portfolio of GitHub projects
- Solid open-source contributions
- Networking with other developers at meetups in online communities
Don't let the hype around personal branding make you feel like you're not doing enough if you don't have a large following on social media. Focus on building skills in order to write amazing code that solves real-world problems. The rest will follow.
Personal branding nonsense aside, I do believe that writing a blog to clarify your thoughts and improve your communication skills is a valuable endeavor.
Being able to communicate your ideas clearly and concisely in written form can make a big difference in your ability to collaborate with teammates and work on projects effectively. In today's world of Slack, Discord, and other asynchronous communication mediums, being able to articulate your thoughts in writing is a necessity.
So, do you need to blog to get a coding job? Nope. A blog might help if you write some bangers that skyrocket to the top of Hacker News, but if your posts are fairly average, they probably won't move the needle. Your skills, experience, and ability to solve problems are ultimately what will get you hired.
All that said, learning to write effectively is still an immensely valuable skill for any developer. Being able to communicate your ideas clearly and concisely in written form can make a big difference in your ability to collaborate with teammates and work on projects effectively. So, if you enjoy writing, I'd encourage you to write to be a great writer and to write useful things, not to be an "influencer".
Don't stress too much about building a personal brand or starting a blog. Focus on building real skills and creating value through code, and the rest will follow. If you do decide to start a blog, make sure that you're writing articles that slap.