Ask a DZone Editor: I'm a Junior Developer. Should I Blog?
As a junior developer, it might seem scary or even futile to start a blog. But documenting what you've learned is a great way to keep learning.
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Sam Jarman, a software engineer living in New Zealand, recently raised an interesting question on his blog: "Should students blog?" He says a student approached him at a tech event and asked him whether it was worth it to start a blog at that point in their career, even though they "don't know anything."
I can understand what it's like to be in that student's shoes. As you learn a new subject or a new skill, it often feels like everyone else around you is an expert, and that you couldn't possibly have anything of value to contribute. But I know, as someone who reads a lot of tech blogs for a living, that any instinct in that vein is dead wrong. Every developer has their own unique path, and sharing the steps along that path can help those behind you. One of the best ways to get better at coding is to read other developers' code, and blogging is one way to "pay it forward."
It also helps you. By organizing your thoughts into something for other people to read, you can learn to communicate more effectively — a really standout skill in the tech industry. You'll come to a more complete understanding of your subject matter. And it can help prepare you for code reviews from senior developers. Articulating your reasons for doing things a certain way puts you in a better position than not knowing why you made that choice. "As a junior developer, you should have opinions and you should have reasons as to why you have that opinion," developer Mark Sencenbaugh observed back in 2012. "Ask yourself the tough questions so that when a senior developer reviews your code you have a legitimately robust solution."
As Sam said, documenting your journey is a valuable exercise. He suggested blogging about what you're learning right now, what you find fun, what you didn't enjoy and why, what you're struggling with, and what open source work you're doing, among other topics. It will all help you see your craft in a new light, and prepare you for the road ahead.
Developer Ali Spittel (who also teaches people how to code at General Assembly) pointed out that blogging makes it easier to hold yourself accountable. If you're the type of person who has trouble giving yourself deadlines, try imagining that your blog audience gave them to you. It keeps you on your learning path. "The best way to really learn something in depth is to teach it to someone else," Ali said.
Sam (of course!) answered the student at the tech event with a resounding "Yes." Students and junior developers should blog.
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