Having a blog as a Developer

Hello guys, I’d like to ask if having a blog as a developer is necessary and what would be the benefits of having a blog especially on a portfolio website? If yes, how do you work towards starting one?

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I wouldn’t consider it necessary most of the time.

The situations where a blog would be more necessary are situations where your role is somewhere along the lines of “developer relations”, like an open source maintainer, or an actual role for a company that works with devs.

Or your a freelancer and want to have a brand, a blog can help with that.

You could also want a blog for more personally reasons, such as keeping track of what you’ve done or showing stuff off.

how do you work towards starting one?

There are multiple dedicated blogging sites out there, for non-devs and dev specific. You could also use your skills and build your own, but I’d only do that if you want the experience. If you want the blog more, then I’d use an off the shelf solution.

A few popular ones off the top of my head would be:

  • dev.to
  • medium
  • twitter
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I definitely don’t think it’s necessary. I’ve never had a blog and I can only think of one or two devs I’ve known who do - and usually those folks have really focused their career on writing blogs and giving conference talks.

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I’ve spent some time searching for blogs that are related to this. Apparently it was advised that if you’re a freelancer and intend to showcase your work, this is one of the ways that you can do so. Personally, I see merits to it as it seems to act almost as a sort of diary showing how far that you’ve come in terms of skill and experience.

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I don’t think is necessary, but is my personal opinion. I had a LOT of blogs in the past, I enjoyed blogging quite for a long time, but when I’ve started my portfolio I didn’t see it’s value (for my portfolio at least). Maybe for a team or brand portfolio can be more usefull. Or for any other kind of sites, for example I have an online shop where I sell leather crafting, and I have a blog on this site where I can talk about the techniques I use, materials, tips for use and care the same products I’m selling.

For developers I like these two:

dev.to

For pure blog sites I use wordpress.org.

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Yeah, I’d say a blog isn’t really needed. It can be fun if you enjoy blogging, but you can certainly get hired without any blog.

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First:
Let me say, I’ve read many of the posts you’ve written, and you are very well spoken, well educated, well structured and considerate in your responses to people. I imagine you would make an Excellent Tech Blogger.

Second:
I don’t feel qualified to have an opinion on the topic, but if you decide to choose the blogger route, I would suggest to you, that you also create a number of Youtube Videos as well, (specifically tutorials) directly linked to your blog.

I don’t blog now, but had a Design & Photoshop blog in the past, and found that creating Youtube tutorials in tandem with blogging, brought in significantly higher amounts of Organic traffic . In the first few months, the videos brought in about 120,000+ visits to the blog.

This was in 2012. So, I don’t know what kind of numbers that you would see now… but I Imagine they would be significantly higher than this.

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@bradtaniguchi Thank you for your insight. I would definitely check out the dedicated blogging sites.

@ArielLeslie Thank you for your response. I was just wondering if having a blog is conventional amongst devs but it’s getting clearer.

@NDR Thank you for your response. So, do you think it could just be like an explanation or thought process of a project(s)?

@raven666 Thank you for your reply. Will think carefully if having a blog would be beneficial if I ever decide to have that on my portfolio.

@JeremyLT Thank you. But having a blog can be a catalyst in getting a job yeah?

@ALLESS Thank you for your kind words :slight_smile: .

This seems like a good idea would really consider this.

I really appreciate everyone for taking the time to share their thoughts and experience regarding this topic. Just one last concern which I think I need a bit of clarity on.

When writing a blog as a dev, it has to be 100% personal and not in any way should you have any content from other devs, or if we would reference other devs we need to seek permission?

@JeremyLT Thank you. But having a blog can be a catalyst in getting a job yeah?

Not really… That’s what we’ve been saying. Typically it doesn’t really help you get a job. WebDev isn’t WebBlogDev.

If you want a guide on how to start a blog there is this really comprehensive piece on the /news platform

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Thank you @ilenia. Will definitely check that out…

I’ll throw my two cents in too.

TL;DR no it’s not necessary, but I think there’s some nuance to it.

First, I noticed in a comment below you asked if it helps get a job.

I guess that depends but in my experience it absolutely did help me get a job. Being mostly self-taught all I could put on my resume was personal projects. My blog was a project in and of itself plus it demonstrated that I had learned a lot of concepts well enough to teach them.

I know for a fact that the first few jobs I landed, my blog was visited by the people I would end up working with and definitely had an influence on their decision to hire me.

That being said, maybe I would have landed those jobs anyway, I honestly don’t know.

It can also be a way to earn a small bit of money on the side while you work your way into the industry. I never actually made money off of any of my blogs but I know people who have.

Is it it necessary?

No. But I honestly think it’s a great idea.

Blogging helped me become a pretty solid technical writer which I think is important no matter what kind of role or position you want to be in. All devs need to be able to communicate technical ideas, especially in written form. Documentation, technical specifications, troubleshooting guides, RFC’s, and code audits etc; all devs are going to end up writing at least some of those at some point in their career so it’s helpful to be good at it.

I also found that blogging has helped me learn. To take something you know and then write about it in a way that others can learn from you forces you to really know what you’re talking about. And if you don’t, people will correct you and you just learn even more that way!

It can also work as a personal learning journal (that just happens to be public) to look back on because if you’re like me, you’ll forget stuff you learned all of the time and what better refresher than an article you wrote yourself?

But as great as I personally think it is, if you just don’t enjoy it or care to try it there’s no need to worry or stress about. Most people that get into this gig don’t blog and they all do just fine.

As for how to go about starting one?

I’ll just add to what others have said already. In addition to using hosted solutions you could also go the self hosted route and use something like WordPress which is pretty nice because you get a whole admin side to compose and manage your articles which includes drafting, scheduling, having multiple authors etc

Another option would be to look into JAM Stack frameworks like Gatsby for example and host your site for free on a service like Netlify. Advantage being super simple, cheap and you get an incredibly fast website. Disadvantage is you don’t get any frills as an admin without a little bit of research and work.

Hope that helps!

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Thank you so much @DanJFletcher. I really appreciate the insight. Also, welcome to the FCC community.

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I have no interest in starting a blog. I always battle: “Why would people want to read my blog or watch my YouTube”… when there’s millions of other ones (redundant content even). Possibly even more competition now since maybe at the height of the pandemic, people looked for something to do from home for a while (perhaps it caused a surge in that activity).

My version of that is to try to engage in answering questions in these forums for the similar effect. A year in and I am a big fan of what fCC has going, but unfortunately, I’m not in a position to contribute financially.

Trying to explain or help others really makes you think hard and shows yourself areas you might not understand as well as you initially thought you did and need to revisit or brush up on. Writing things out also helps it stick better in your own mind (for me at least). So I 100% agree with you, you made a great takeaway point!

While I try not to touch topics I know nothing about… yup… it has definitely backfired when I’ve attempted to help others but turns out I shouldn’t have touched the thread. lol

But I’ve found people here are rather gracious and understanding, unlike some other communities I’ve encountered. And the input from more knowledgeable users is always appreciated.

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