Writing well: a must-have skill that no one teaches software developers
Forget that hip new technology! To take your software development career to the next level, learn... how to write well.
I started writing because the generous community of programmers had helped me by sharing their knowledge freely over the Internet. I wanted to contribute to this incredible trend so I could be a part of something bigger than myself.
Little did I know that it'll be me who gets benefitted the most by pursuing this noble cause.
3 years of writing on the Internet has done more for my career than what 4 years of college education did.
I’ve published 14 articles in the past 3 years while I was teaching myself programming, data science and machine learning. These have allowed me to reach hundreds of thousands of readers around the world, make valuable connections, get a unique job opportunity, work with people from multiple countries and make more money than I hoped.
You signed up for this newsletter because you read one of these articles!
Now, I want to help you become a better writer because I believe it’ll improve your career in a similar way.
The Writing Revolution
We are living through a Writing Revolution where good writing skills can have an immense impact on the life of every ambitious software developer.
In the past 30 years, our world has changed in a fundamental way - Internet has demolished the cost of distributing information.
"It turns days into minutes," Andrew Grove, the legendary CEO of Intel, commented on the arrival of email. "A lot more people know what's going on than did before, and they know it a lot faster than they used to."
Today we have email, Slack, Notion, Github, Twitter, Facebook and a plethora of Internet apps focused on written communication.
For 200, 000 years of human history, speaking and listening was the primary mode of communication. But in the past 30 years, reading and writing has overtaken it as the primary mode of communication.
You are now living in the early years of a Writing Revolution that has changed the way humans communicate with each other.
Traditional education, however, has failed to recognise this human-scale revolution - good writing tuitions are still reserved for students of the liberal arts.
You cannot wait for it to catch up when being a good writer can benefit your career now.
Especially, with the remote-working revolution underway.
The Remote-Working Revolution
Some of the biggest companies of our generation like Facebook, Twitter and Shopify have recently announced a permanent transition to remote working. Inevitably, they have paved the path for entire industries to follow.
Therefore, it's highly likely that your next company will be working remotely.
In remote settings, with little face-to-face interaction, good written communication becomes the key.
Your competitive advantage in a tough job market:
Work-from-home means that the competitors for your next job are not just from your city, they are from your entire country and potentially the whole world. Add economic depression and rock bottom unemployment rates to the mix, and you have a saturated job market.
You need to find a way to stand out.
Being a good writer will help you.
When deciding between a few candidates to fill a position, companies like Basecamp hire the better writer. People of Basecamp have been working remotely for more than 20 years and great writing is a prerequisite for every single position they have.
3 ways writing online boosts the arc of your entire career:
Being a good writer helps you get a new job. A better job.
But more importantly, it helps you do your everyday work better, and therefore, changes the arc of your entire career!
Here are three ways good writing skills boost your career:
Grabbing the valuable attention of people around you
Finding better career opportunities throughout your career
Improving your thinking
Writing articles for software developers on the Internet is an excellent way to acquire these skills.
Publishing articles for software developers
The software development community built the Internet and adopted it before anyone else. Naturally, it is the most mature community on the Internet.
By simply being a part of it, you get to enjoy access to 3 systems, unique to this community:
This community likes to share its knowledge for free on the Internet in the form of articles and tutorials.
This gives you access to important resources that allow you to teach yourself.
This community knows to surf the Internet to look for solutions when they get stuck or when they want to learn something new.
This gives you demand for any tutorial you write - no matter how specific. You can be sure there are developers who'll be looking for it.
Most recently, this community has built online publications to make it easier for programmers to share their knowledge. They accept articles from newcomers and share them with their huge audience of hundreds of thousands of developers.
This means you don't have to be afraid of shouting into the void.
You see - writing isn’t as difficult as it is in our heads.
“But I don’t know where to begin!”
I know all of this is probably not enough to get you to write your first article. You probably feel that you don't know enough to write just yet.
After talking to my college friends, I understand how intimidating it can be for students in tech to start writing online. Even when they understand the benefits of doing so.
So, I created a short email course to help them.
I'm sure it can help you too.
My course: Clear Writing, Clear Thinking
Clear Writing, Clear Thinking is a 6-lesson email course designed to help young developers start their writing journey - Clear Writing, Clear Thinking.
I have purposefully kept the emails short and dense - each one being just 3 minutes long.
There are 6 such emails.
As a subscriber to the Build to Learn newsletter, you will automatically be onboarded to the course for free.
You should get your first email within the next 24 hours.
Look out for one with the subject - “Grand Purpose: Why writing well is so awesome”. You will receive it from my personal email - `
Let me know what you think about it by replying below.