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Sloan's Inbox: Do I need to write blog posts to be a successful dev?

Hello! Sloan, DEV Moderator and resident mascot, back with another question submitted by a DEV community member. 🦥

For those unfamiliar with the series, this is another installment of Sloan's Inbox. You all send in your questions, I ask them on your behalf anonymously, and the community chimes in to offer advice. Whether it's career development, office politics, industry trends, or improving technical skills, we cover all sorts of topics here. If you want to send in a question or talking point to be shared anonymously via Sloan, that'd be great; just scroll down to the bottom of the post for details on how.

So, let's get down to business...

Today's question is:

I'm a beginner dev and when I see others writing about development, sharing tutorials, and posting about their follower count growing, it occasionally gives me anxiety. It makes me feel like being just a developer isn't enough, and that I need to participate in communities or build my online presence in order to become successful. Is it possible to be a successful dev and get a job without writing blog posts or being regularly active online?

Share your thoughts and lets help a fellow DEV member out! Remember to keep kind and stay classy. 💚

Want to submit a question for discussion or ask for advice? Visit Sloan's Inbox! You can choose to remain anonymous.

Top comments (15)

jonrandy profile image
Jon Randy 🎖️ • Edited

No, it's 100% unnecessary. Follower counts are irrelevant (especially nowadays on DEV where you gain like 10 bot followers every day), as are likes.

Being a developer IS enough. I'd hire a competent developer any day, over one with a pretty portfolio site or a hundred blog posts, but poor programming skills.

Don't feel pressured to blog, but by all means do so if you feel you have something to say. One thing you really shouldn't do is just post pointless listicles and/or AI generated non-content just to be seen to be doing something - that won't do you any favours. If you do decide to post, find your own voice, your own style, and your own subjects.

jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel ( • Edited

Counter argument : in the real world, being good at your job is not enough, you need others to be aware of this fact as well.
When the market is hot and you are a young single white cis hetero male with a university degree, being a dev is enough.

I think the more you don't fit the stereotype - woman, not young, children, immigrant, self taught, health issues, .... - the more you need to acquire basic career, marketing and sales skills.

I have a specific example right here.
As an agent for devs, I've told Karine who didn't fit the stereotype and had no chance at the LinkedIn game, that she needed to write publicly, not tutorials, but about her, why she switched career, choose freelancing, etc

And she delivered because she understood how important that was to get public

bekahhw profile image

Nope! I explore some alternatives for folks who aren't comfortable with writing in this post. But if folks aren't confident in writing and would like to try, I'm going to do a workshop on writing about technical topics, probably in November. I'll be sure to announce it here!

mlong profile image
Mark Long

Ooh! That sounds promising! I'd definitely be interested in that. I'll look forward to your announcement!

jarvisscript profile image
Chris Jarvis

It makes me feel like being just a developer isn't enough, and that I need to participate in communities or build my online presence in order to become successful. Is it possible to be a successful dev and get a job without writing blog posts or being regularly active online?

An online presence will help you get seen. It doesn't have to be only blogging. You can comment on posts on DEV, LinkedIn, Slack, or Mastodon. This will build your network so when you start looking for a job people already know you.
If you are learning you need to get the basics. Blogging can help cement what you learn. It can also be a distraction. It can also be a rubber duck, If you get stuck on a problem writing it down could jog something in your mind and help you see a solution.

Focus on learning but you should spend time being active where Developers are talking. read what they are saying, If you blog don't worry about likes, or followers. Write to help you learn. write to celebrate your wins.

ingosteinke profile image
Ingo Steinke • Edited

Coding is enough!

Rephrasing the question, some people feel a pressure or fear of missing out if they do not blog or contribute to a potential developer community in one way or the other.

Blogging can be useful. Journaling can be helpful. It might benefit learning, finding solutions, getting feedback and connecting to other people like fellow developers or even potential customers (more likely on less technologically focused sites like medium or LinkedIn though).

But blogging can also distract, lead to procrastination and consume time and energy without adding any value at all. And there are many other ways to find connections, get customers, and prove your skills. You can show your work on a portfolio website, on GitHub or npm, take part in a hackathon, or ask customers and coworkers to write a supportive testimonial about you.

Many bloggers state that they do it mostly for their own benefit. I would still do it if I had no followers, no readers, no likes and comments at all, but I value their feedback and it makes me proud and happy when someone appreciates my work.

Do I need to write blog posts to be a successful developer? No, I don't!

noblica profile image
Dušan Perković

Ha! I just published an article ( You're not missing out ) about a similar topic. The article is about the FOMO you get whenever a new JS tool pops up, but the feeling is similar.

In short: No, you do not need to be writing blog posts to be successful. If you're doing contract work/freelacing, it can definitely be something in your favor, because your skills are more clearly visible to potential clients, but it's not something you have to do.

What is way more important is: networking. Try to meet new people, and try to maintain good relationships with people you previously worked with in any capacity. If they had a good experience working with you, they will most likely want to work with you again. Even though people think our job is "just coding", you're always working with a team, or a client. So if you want to be really successful, you have to be a good communicator.

Speaking from ~10 years of experience, every job I ever got was recommendation based.

mistval profile image

There are millions of developers in the world whom I think we could call successful, and I'm sure the vast majority of them don't do any blogging. A lot do, and I imagine a lot more have dabbled, but it's in no way a requirement for success.

I'm pretty involved in hiring at my company and I read a lot of resumes. It's somewhat rare to see a link to a blog and it's in no way a requirement to have a blog (or GitHub for that matter). I do try to take a quick look though when I do see a link, and a good quality blog would get you some bonus points with me.

gabrielprrd profile image
Gabriel Afonso

I think the real question should not be if writing or being active online is necessary, but "What can I do to others be aware of my skills?" and "Can I communicate properly with people?"

The answer will depend on each scenario but, overall, experience and properly handling feedback will suit almost every case. If you don't like building an online presence and your resumé is impressive enough, you probably don't need to bother.

ademagic profile image

Blogging will make you a better developer if it helps you learn. Other than solidifying your knowledge, it invites discussion, makes you part of a community you can learn from that's not your immediate team etc etc... Its basically a conduit for more learning.

A follower count doesn't make you a better developer. It does make you look like a better developer, which makes getting jobs much easier. People will also want to work at places you work, which makes subsequent hiring easier too, making you all the more attractive to potential employers.

It sucks that the FOMO effect of social media is now also in our jobs.

navdeepm20 profile image
Navdeep Mishra • Edited

Blog writing will not make you a better dev. If you want to become a better dev then practice your skills hard but blog writing surely helps you in various ways.

  1. You can create a db of your knowledge for yourself and for others. Whenever you need you can get that easily.
  2. It improves your writing skills. As a developer, you have to write good docs. as well for your fellow dev's.
  3. It helps in your resume/portfolio as well.
  4. It helps you to share your knowledge and make it sharp with the help of other people.
  5. You can create your audience which may help you in long term.
taikedz profile image
Tai Kedzierski

If it's a question of whether you need an online presence - then no. It's not something that you "must have" as a developer. If you want to monetize through social media platforms, etc, that's an entirely different consideration. But if you just want to improve your coding, with a view to getting a job, it is by no means necessary at all.

Echoing what others have said previously - don't feel pressured to write up listicles of barely-facts and ill-planned thoughts for the sake of "having blog posts." It's a waste of your time, and as you're learning, your time is all the more precious. ⌚

Especially on - there's no monetization on this particular platform, so there's no worth in trying to get followers and subscribers etc etc. Pointless. This is blogging at its most basic: we're all on soapboxes, screaming into the Net. Some of us are better at "screaming clearly" 🤪

🎓 What blogging may help with is to get your ideas written out. Writing up what you have learned, and what you think you have understood, might help clarify your journey for you, for yourself. It works for some people - but it's not the only way to learn, and if it doesn't suit you, then don't do it. I'm sure you have other ways of learning.

🤝 The objective advantage of putting your learning thoughts on a blog site is to invite other people to help you learn - they'll see what you have written, and can point out what you need to study more, maybe even explain things for you. They may also just be mean Internet crazies, who knows who you will find...

A blog is better treated as a public diary: anyone could read it, but that's not the point of it. It should be for your own benefit. And if you're not doing it for yourself, don't feel like you need to. Focus on things that more important to you 😎

teresabond profile image
Teresa Bond

Self branding is great for long run. If you work on freelancing platforms and create a stunning portfolio website this is also enough for client hunting. If you share great knowledge about what you know then there are higher chances that you will build an empire.

irinakramer profile image

I see the benefit in blogging, as it makes one a better writer/communicator, helps being accountable and encourages giving back to the dev community.

chuniversiteit profile image
Chun Fei Lung

Most successful developers don’t write blog posts. Many aren’t even active on social media. The ones that do likely only make up 1% of all developers.