When I bring blogging up to our students, it's common to get a groan or two back in response. With work, school, self-learning, hobbies, family, and all the other things that demand our time every day -- who has the time to sit down and write about it all?
As a Campus Director at DigitalCrafts, one of my first talks to the students after class begins is on this very subject. In that talk, I usually begin with addressing the many issues I've come across for people who are hesitant to write. What are the two most common?
But I Don't Have Enough Time!
The first most common reason people choose not to write is they feel there isn't enough time for it, or there are so many more important things to do instead. I get it, trust me -- everyone has to start somewhere and it does take some effort to squeeze in the time. However, the most common misconception people have is that writing a blog takes up one big chunk of time. Of course it's difficult (at best) to find a solid two or three (or more) hours to pound out a blog post. But, that's not the only way to do it. Why not start by committing yourself to 30 minutes a day? Sound more reasonable? Of course it is -- and over a whole week that can add up to plenty of time to churn one out.
But I Don't Have Enough Experience!
The second most common reason new developers feel they can't, or shouldn't, write is due to something commonly referred to as "imposter syndrome." In a nutshell, they feel like they are so new to coding that (at best) nobody will care about what they write or (at worst) will make fun of them. This concern can be harder to overcome: simply put, I can't promise nobody will ever ridicule you, or that your writing won't be ignored. However, it's important to remember that you are in control and can choose to express as much or as little as you want about your experience, skills, and so on. If someone comments with a disparaging or patronizing remark, then deal with that if/when the time comes, but don't let the fear of ridicule or obscurity prevent you from expressing yourself as you grow in your skills and career.
The Importance of Blogging as a Student
In my soon-to-be-released "Guide to Coding Bootcamps" I go into detail on why anyone learning to code in order to become a professional (or even amateur) web developer, software engineer, or programmer needs to begin writing about their experiences.
Keep an eye out out for the guide, but for now -- why is it important for students to write? For the same reason why people say it is important to journal -- it's the perfect way to reflect upon your experience. So much can happen over a week of class that it can seem like a blur. By taking a few minutes each day to put into words what you experienced, you will find you accomplish some amazing things you didn't even consider. For instance, if you notice the same situation keeps bogging you down, you might discover ways you can optimize your time. Or, maybe through reviewing previous posts you will notice things about how you learn, such as you are better at picking up new concepts earlier in the week. It's also common for people to find that they can solve challenging or large problems better by forcing themselves to explain them in writing.
If none of these reasons serve to motivate you, then just consider how fondly you look back on photo albums or writings from your early childhood. Now, think about how amazing it will be decades from now, after a successful and rewarding programming career, to read about your first foray into code.
Blogging and the Job Search
Especially if you are new to code, writing can give you a huge advantage over other potential competitors for a job. For one thing, a public blog makes it that much more likely an employer will find you first. In fact, it is estimated that around 80% of all jobs come as a result of a relationship rather than a blind application. You can increase your visibility by sharing your post across popular channels like Hacker News, Reddit, Twitter, Google+, and more.
Something else that your writing can assist you with is in helping prove your long-term value to an employer. It takes a while for new developers to become productive at a new position -- even more time if that developer is new to code in general. Writing helps show that you have a passion for learning and growth that extends beyond what is directly asked of you at school or on the job. This is important because good employers want to know that an employee will increase in skills and value to the company as time goes on. You might have less experience than another applicant or be missing their certificates or degrees, however, your writing can give you the edge to any employer searching for proof that whomever they hire will continue to grow in their company.
Coding Bootcamp Students in Action
Need some inspiration or encouragement? Check out our new Medium publication, where you can read through a number of blog posts written by current and former students at DigitalCrafts.
Medium is a blogging platform with its own audience, which makes your content more discoverable and followable by other Medium readers and writers. If you haven't already begun writing, or want to increase your exposure to another platform, take a look at some of our stories, and when you're ready, why not get started on a blog of your own!
Questions about our Medium publication, or about blogging in general? Click the button below to send us an email and we'd be glad to help!