How Writing Skills Can Help Developers Grow
With communication being the #1 in-demand skill today, writing can influence your engineering career more than you think. It's time to get the most out of it, agree?
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Let's face it: Soft developers rarely consider writing skills worthy of their note. They focus on computer science, coding, SQL databases or CI/CD structures understanding, and other technical knowledge they believe they'll need for professional growth.
Indeed, in today's data-driven, data-heavy world, when we have so much content to consume, there seems no place left for walls of text, articles, or paper books. Visual content calls the shots, and most of us would choose to listen to a podcast than read extended interviews or tutorials.
But what if I tell you that writing skills are now essential for techies to get ahead in a career more than ever?
And that's why:
Employers Want Developers to Have This Skill
The year 2020 has turned all the spheres, including the job market, upside down. COVID-19 lays down the rules and trends today, one of which is the rise of remote work.
Most employers have realized that remote teams can work well and be even more productive than in offices. They prefer hiring remote specialists now and require superb writing skills from candidates to efficiently communicate with colleagues at a distance.
Here's the example of a soft engineer job description on LinkedIn:
Communication is the number-one skill employers look for now: While a person might be a great software engineer, the team collaboration will suffer if they can't express thoughts clearly in chats and documentation.
Plus, as Milosz Krasinski from Chillifruit notes, "plenty of employers have company blogs, relying on particular team members rather than copywriters for generating some topic-specific articles there."
In the case of blogs about programming or DevOps news, tools, or tutorials, who else could write compelling articles on the topic?
Writing Influences Your Ability To Influence and Persuade
For developers planning their career progress, this ability can become pivotal.
When a techie begins their first software job, they get a set of tasks to do to the spec that other specialists designed. But as their skills and professionalism continue to grow, the opportunity comes to be more than implementors. They understand a system, and they can help other teams shape it.
And their ability to communicate and explain concepts to colleagues, influencing them and persuading them to accept suggestions, allows developers to grow in career.
That's where writing skills can help too. Persuasive writing practice gives you a habit of structuring arguments and expressing your thoughts clearly. Whether you communicate with clients verbally or explain a concept through writing, words are your weapon to get across an idea.
Remote Work Requires More Writing From You
Back to remote work with its peculiarities (in April 2020, 74% of companies planned shifting to more remote work post-coronavirus permanently), techies have to write more than ever, every day:
- They discuss technical implementations via chats.
- They write comments in codes and tech documentation.
- They write bug reports and answer questions from less technical clients via email or Slack.
- They write reviews of others' code to train less experienced colleagues and implement the best practices.
And again, stellar writing skills are what helps to succeed with all the above.
A developer needs to know how to communicate technical specifications to less technical team members or clients. They'll hardly understand walls of text full of professional slang, poor grammar, and no logical flow. Instead of their replies, you'll get tons of questions and have to spend valuable time on explanations and clarifications.
You need writing skills to explain tech terms and concepts to make sense to whoever you work with. It will help you void misunderstandings and miscommunication with clients and non-techie team members.
You need to know how to write good documentation so that your code would be understandable and maintainable. It will help you avoid misunderstandings with less experienced techies in your team, engaging them, and preventing their mistakes just because they haven't understood how the software works.
Writing Skills Are About Writing a Code Too
And last but not least:
Applying writing principles to coding, you can write even more maintainable soft than you did before.
Principles such as "know your audience," "structure your information logically," "use arguments and proofs," or "use a word that would describe the situation best" works for writing a code too. It takes time to develop this skill, but it will help you create code structures that are easy to understand for both a computer and a human being.
And isn't it a surefire way to professional growth and career success?
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