Five reasons why blogging made me a better developer
- August 24th, 2021
- 3 minute read
Even though 2021 has been a crazy year, 2012 was also quite a milestone in my life. Not only did some people believe that the world was going to end, but I was also about to finish my studies. At that time, I had an internship at Optis. The project I worked on was to build a social network for employees and employers.
One of the nice things about this internship is that I was able to work with a lot of cool technologies. To make sure I wouldn’t forget about these things, I broke down the project into many little pieces, and wrote down how I could set those up. This is how I started blogging.
Looking back, I think blogging has made me a better developer, and here’s why.
When blogging, I often start with a fun side-project and break it down into smaller pieces just like the project at my internship. Each piece covers a specific topic, and is translated into a blog post.
Splitting up code into smaller pieces is something developers have to do quite often. Whether you’re refactoring code, writing tests, isolating a problem, … . Heck, even posting a question on Stack Overflow requires you to isolate the problem and post a minimal example.
Working on a side-project is one thing, but putting the idea and thoughts behind it into words is something else. When blogging, you learn how to structure things, how to explain things to others, … .
When developing, you often have to work in teams, and thus being able to explain what you’re doing is helpful. In addition, each project requires certain documentation (technical documentation, guidelines, …), so being able to write things down and structuring it improves your documentation as a whole.
It could even improve your communication skills. I certainly still have to learn a lot, but if you asked me 10 years ago if I would ever speak to a public, I would have said “no”. Nowadays I don’t mind speaking to a public.
Before you can write a blog post, you have to do some research first. What problem does a specific technology try to solve? How can I use library XYZ? What’s the difference between those libraries? By researching things, you gain a lot of insights, insights that might be useful in the future. Regardless of that, being able to research things is something you might have to do for your job as well.
In some cases, blogging might even encourage you to try out new technologies! You might even get some feedback on blog posts about things you didn’t know before! For example, a few years ago I wrote a blog post about using Spring boot and Docker, and someone pointed out that the Jib Maven plugin makes things easier.
When you’re implementing something new, you often end up at other people their blog. The things I usually look for is what their experience is, what steps they took, the pros, the cons, … . If you start blogging, you can do that for someone else. Regardless of your experience, there’s always someone who can learn from it. So, the more people write blog posts, the better we all become.
This is also the reason why I try to answer questions on Stack Overflow as well. There’s no doubt Stack Overflow saved me a ton of hours. To keep Stack Overflow a relevant source of information, contribution is required.
When blogging, I recommend you to publish all those projects you build, regardless of how small they may be. They not only help your readers, but all those little projects turn into one big portfolio. For example, I bundled all projects related to the Spring framework into one repository, and that repository has been forked more than 200 times, and receives more than 2000 views each month.
I started out with the idea “to blog what I learned”. Nowadays, it’s often the other way around, as I’m “learning something from blogging”. So, if you’re in doubt about whether you should blog, then try it out! Your knowledge is never irrelevant, and your ideas are never too small to blog about them. Your blog posts don’t have to perfect either, you’ll learn to improve that over the years as well.