By Joshua Kemp
Josh started learning to program out of desperation after getting kicked by a horse and breaking 2 fingers. As he learned more, he fell in love with the superhero-like power of coding, and started a blog to share his story with the world! Recently, he formed "BFK" software with 2 other developers. Their first product is due out in 30 days!
Everyone has been told that they should start a blog. Most people still haven’t. 7 months ago, My wife convinced me to start writing about my “programming journey” -- I had just started learning how to code. I am so glad I listened.
Learning something new can be tough, challenging and downright frustrating at times. In retrospect, blogging is one of the best ways to help you as you learn something new. Here's why:
It keeps you accountable.
When I first started blogging, it became painfully obvious that I needed to develop a routine by which to study. I needed to be strategic with my time. Because I was blogging about my learning, I felt as though I couldn't make excuses and became more disciplined in making time each day to study.
At first, I decided to blog everyday. When I realized, after a month, that blogging had become a chore instead of a creative means to share what it was I was learning, I cut it down to 3x/week. You’ll likely encounter this, too. It’s okay.
Articulating what you learn helps you better understand it.
I remember being stressed and frustrated about not fully understanding a new idea or concept. Then, when I tried to write about it, I would stare at my blog, trying to figure out how to explain what and why I was learning.
Many times writing about my learning helped me to figure out what I was struggling with. Regularly reflecting on what I was learning also greatly increased the rate at which I expanded my knowledge base.
It connects you with like-minded people.
I began getting comments and emails from readers two months into my journey. They turned to me with questions on specific coding problems or issues. By helping people as much as I could and talking to them about the coding issue, I was able to learn in an entirely different way.
After four months, I started doing a small project with a developer far away. When we began to email each other about what we wanted to do, we were able to bounce ideas off of each other and solidify concepts in my mind in a way that no textbook ever could.
You get solid feedback.
Sixty days into blogging, I started getting emails from people all over the world, from India to Spain. They gave me feedback on, for example, the look of the websites I had made. 95% of all the feedback I received was positive. All the questions and opinions I got made me think and then share my new thoughts.
This lead to more feedback from other readers, making me think about coding in ways I wouldn't have without the constant feedback. There is no way to measure how much faster this made me learn.
It's a solid way to get a job.
I started blogging on October 23, 2012. After only 3 months of consistent blogging, I had people email me about possible job opportunities. When I actually started my job hunt, I received two offers for junior positions on the first day. This is just one more reason why blogging is important for hackademics who want to demonstrate off their learning and get results (in this case, a job).
I hope these five reasons are enough to sway you to start a blog today. You don't have to write everyday or even 3 times per week. Regularly writing — even if it’s just once a week — will help you to stay focused and on track.