I, like many software developers, have always toyed with the idea of starting a blog, mainly for the nerdy side of it like setting up a site and having fun with all the stats and plugins and such. However, the introvert in me always held me back, saying things like “I could never have anything useful to contribute”, “I can’t write well enough”, or “Someone else has probably written that before”. Over the past year, I have come to realize that writing code is only a very small subset of being a software developer. A software developer has to have many other skills in order to succeed. Some of these skills are things like organization, good communication skills, the ability to understand complex problems, and communicate those effectively to others and so on. Most of these types of skills are the ones that programmers tend to shy away from because they are difficult and uncomfortable. However, from writing code and learning new concepts and languages, the only way to learn them is by actually doing and putting them into practice. I can watch hours upon hours of how-to videos and read countless blogs on a topic, but until I put them to use I don’t really have those skills. This is why I have started to blog, to help me acquire those, often hard to master, type skills mentioned above.
Create a Blog Email Course
John Sonmez has a very successful blog at http://simpleprogrammer.com that I have been following for some time. On that blog he promoted a free 3 week email course on how to create a blog to boost your career http://devcareerboost.com/blog-course/. When I stumbled across this post of his, I was intrigued and wanted to know what a course on blogging would contain. I signed up for the course without really having the intention of blogging and more just to learn. But after the first few emails, I was convinced of the possible benefits that blogging could bring me. John said that it had opened many opportunities for him from being asked to speak and give classes, to being able to work for himself, and make a lot more money doing so. All this he attributes to having a blog and getting his name and personal brand out there.
About the Course
The number one thing that got me excited to try this out, was a story that John tells in his first email of the course. In short, he went for an interview and the interviewer knew who he was because he had read his blog and was given an offer much larger than he expected. John wasn’t interviewed in the traditional sense of being asked a bunch of technical questions and personality tricks. I don’t know about the rest of you but, I hate interviews because of all the questions I get asked. Not because they are hard, but because of nerves and just being on the spot. I figure that writing a blog will not only help in answering questions in a clear and concise way, but because I will have answered some of them on this blog! Adding the possibility of having the interviewer know who you are, what can top that? At the very least, when an interviewer asks a question you can answer with something like “Oh, I wrote a blog post on that!”. Imagine what the interviewer would think hearing that from a candidate. They would probably be shocked and know that you really care about the topic if you wrote a post on it. They would know you have good communication skills. They would look at you as some level of expert (even if you’re not!). I’m sure there are many other positive things your potential employer would think and all of which will help you get an offer. That’s amazing! This is the part that really sold me. Not to mention the other benefits John outlines in his course.
The course is 3 weeks long and 2 emails are sent out each week. Each email has advice and motivation for the particular lecture. Some really insightful and thoughtful instructions on how to get started blogging. Each of the lectures has some little homework assignment to actually get you to action. Now I know what you are thinking, homework?!?! Honestly, they are not difficult and are just enough for you to be able to accomplish something in a small, yet meaningful way. One assignment is merely to come up with a theme for your blog. If you are already considering blogging, you probably already have several ideas. All of these little steps at the end will leave you with an up and running blog and lots of ideas to keep you going.
The course has the following topics:
- A blog that boosts your career
- The Most Important Thing For a Successful Blog
- Creating Your Blog
- The Next Step Is… (What to do after you have a physical site up)
- Time to Get Serious!
- Do You Know How to Get Traffic For Your Blog?
Each of these email lectures gently carries you along the path of getting to the point of posting your first post and having you set up to make it a habit. Most courses (for many other topics) lay the foundation for only the first few steps and leave you scratching your head asking yourself, “Well, now that I have this shiny thing what is next?”. John does an excellent job of setting you up for long-term success by having you create a long list of potential blog post ideas being always available, committing to a certain time and pace to post, and how to grow an audience.
I recommend this course to anyone who has the faintest desire to improve themselves in any field. You don’t have to blog about technical topics or software development to get use out of this course. The act of blogging can help you in whatever career you are in by giving you those soft skills that apply everywhere as well as learning about the theme you choose!