Have you ever thought of having your own blog?
But then quickly dismiss it because you won’t know where to start with writing articles?
On many occasions I thought the same over the years.
Man, I really need my own website that I can put all my projects.
How about a place to put all my photos as in a photo gallery?
Or maybe it could be just a place for you to write you ideas about code and share it with others.
What ever the case my be, there’s one fundamental benefit of having a blog.
Your blog is your home base.
As many people would say;
It provides a unique platform for you to express your thoughts and ideas, opinions freely as isn’t governed by anyone other than you.
That said, your blog is where you can publish anything that you feel should be written.
As a software developer or web developer, a home base where people can find you and refer to you as a whole.
My blog is essentially just a blog but I treat it as a business.
I do all my referrals to my blog (ahem …company website) and will eventually sell consulting services through it too.
So it’s not just a blog if I don’t treat it as such.
Plus, I get my own email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why do you need to blog?
Touching on sharing your thoughts and ideas, a blog will…
Why do I actually blog? (the philosophical me asking)
What is the sole purpose of me actually writing this article?
Well partially the idea was for me to create a personal brand and market myself as a software developer and to promote a future company I wish to found.
My initial thought bubble is to have my personality as my home base; a better inside to who I am for employment opportunities.
It comes does come down to more than that though!
There are in fact many reason to create and maintain a blog, not just for you but for others too.
You can learn how to form a community or an audience around your blog to build up a reputation for the content you produce.
Or to just to add value to other people’s lives (a phrase from my dad).
Capture your history
A blog is not only a powerful platform to capture thoughts and ideas…, but also a time line of your own personal growth.
Imagine going back three years from now and think about where you were.
Who were you as a person and how have you progressed over the last few years.
Sure you may have finished school, or moved on to your next job.
I certainly remember being a nerdy kid in the 10th grade who was socially awkward and had trouble speaking to new people, especially girls.
Now that I look back on my life I can see how I have moved on from being that nerdy socially awkward kid.
Your blog in retrospect is like being that nerdy kid as you start out.
Sure you’ll have some trouble writing the first few articles but as you progress and write more you’ll become even better.
The important thing is that you do show personal growth and development over a period of time.
I certainly feel that I have in the last few months as of starting this blog.
So go ahead! Read my first article, I dare you!
Sense of accomplishment
There’s a sense of accomplishment, in a large scope of having a blog and publishing each article.
Do you remember that feeling of accomplishment when you just added that new feature to your project and it just works?
Or maybe when you just completed that daunting task on you todo list.
That same sense of accomplishment is uncanny to writing blog posts.
Eventually you’ll need to hit the publish button, and when you do you get the same feeling.
Your sense of completion and self-worth is elevated and you feel great about yourself for your work.
It boosts your happy mechanism!
It is a good idea to invest in multiple ways of accomplishing the feeling of completion.
Wouldn’t you feel great about yourself when you achieved each one?
And in turn motivates us to work a bit harder and get to the next goal.
I have nothing to write about?
No you actually do!
Being a nerd like myself, did you ever not talk about programming during and especially after IT class?
I remember it being so competitive in the 11th grade as who could finish problem questions the quickest or who could implement something the fastest.
We would often ask each other across the classroom who had finished a certain question first, especially against my friend Tristan.
When we would get stuck we too would help each other with the solution, if either of use solved it.
A little side note here: During out Matric final Practical Assessment Task, we had to somehow write a to a file on the classpath. I chose to do the INI format file for saving membership product prices and I wrote a complete Java library to do just that. Now granted when I look at the code all this time later, it’s terrible but it worked like a charm! I lent my library to Tristan for him to implement and use and it worked great for him too. That was major sense of accomplishment for me back in Matric.
Blog about what you’re learning
You can always share what you’re currently learning or reading on at this moment.
Maybe you just started with SQL and you want to share how you could use the JOIN to join two tables, explained for complete beginners.
An example I did a not too long ago an article about Top Java Technologies for Beginners where I discussed some of the Java technologies I am focused on at the moment.
You can do it!
There is so much you can start writing about right now that you may not be aware of at first.
For example I could turn that story (mentioned above) into an article about competitive pair programming, a bit about what it is and my experiences; or your experiences.
You will always have something to write about that someone else will find interesting.
Yes, my uncle.
I have been begging for him to create a blog and start writing.
Whether your just starting out in your career or have a huge experience in one or more fields, blogging can be very beneficial.
He has so much information of 30+ years of experience with working with computer systems, travel experience, photography and many stories I would instantly tune in to.
When I had and in my own experience many HDD crashes, even having my motherboard die on me; I would phone up my uncle and he would walk me through the problems and how to fix them.
For example, I learned intricately how a HDD works because of problems these problems I had faced,
Even more his work experience as an IT specialist, from having to learn how to code to write a printer driver in three months for one of his clients.
Having this wealth of information especially for a senior/expert role in many fields is too valuable to not be shared.
Unleash your creativity!
Help, I’m not a ‘creative’ person…
Have you ever gone down into deep thought about something that branched off into other ideas?
Well writing in a way allows you do just that.
When you start writing, your action encourages your creative juices to flow.
This idea is just a seed.
As you work on it and produce more you’re actively encouraging the seed to grow and eventually bare fruit.
This skill of writing is easily transferable with writing code.
I have often found myself writing cleaner and more readable code by practicing writing on these blog posts.
Maybe because I practiced my sentence structure a bit more or maybe the naming of my variables; I’m not too sure but I have noticed an adequate change.
So let’s go back a bit into your creativity.
Your writing skills may not be the best and you certainly struggle with coming up with ideas at first!
I just to feel this way not to long ago.
During my early phases I would skip writing a blog post because I had felt I had nothing valuable to share
or lacked the skill in a certain field I wanted to specialize in.
Don’t believe that you don’t. Even at a beginner level you can still contribute what you know and it may to help someone who is just one step behind you.
Add your portfolio
Being that your blog is your home base, maybe your should add your portfolio to it too.
What is a portfolio?
A portfolio is your work you have done and may include some experiences like work experience.
But as a software developer it is essential to add a portfolio section to your blog as a reference to previous projects you have worked on.
Let’s face it, a company is not going to hire you because you have told them you’re competent with programming, especially if you have nothing to show for it.
This is where a portfolio shines and will help you when applying for a job.
I had been rejected a few times during job interviews due to not having a portfolio and well, no formal education either.
But let’s leave the education part out of it. If you want to read more about choosing to go to college or be self-taught, you can check out this article: Self-studying or getting a college degree?
You need to have some experience programming and building a working application to call yourself a software developer.
Simply add your portfolio.
Remember all the applications you have effectively completed?
Ready? Maybe you have one or two lying around.
What are you waiting for man! Come on!
Publish each one on your blog and give some sort of context about the application and your experience of creating it.
Provide a bit of insight to how you wrote the software and always come up with some story behind it.
You could even turn it into a blog post if you’d like ;).
Build an audience
At this moment, my audience is very slim and I’m not an expert.
I will say that it will only come with time.
But that’s okay!
The important thing to note is that as the content of your blog grows, your audience will too.
Sure, yeah right Adrian! 500 songs and 50 listeners!
What does it matter?
If you’re producing good quality content, people who search for something may refer to your content first as your page ranking may be high.
And if you have a lot of content on your site, some people will jump around and look at different articles about other things.
I know I have when I read other people’s blogs about software development.
It can get quite addictive.
Don’t be shy! Leave a comment below on this post and tell me what you think. Get to it!
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