Nothing is more constant in business than change. This is particularly true with software development. While it’s true you can probably find a corporate job where you do the same small tasks day in and day out for 23 years. If you’re a true professional, a software craftsman, you’re constantly working to hone your skills.
About 5 years ago a small health scare made me reevaluate what I wanted out of life, and allowed me to refocus my efforts on my career. With new found focus I was able to move up quickly in the industry and gain valuable business and technical experience.
I was recently turned on to Soft Skills: The Software Developer’s Life Manual by John Sonmez. This actually played a big role in the most recent chapter in my career. I listened to the audio book on a to-and-fro drive from St Petersburg, FL to Louisville, KY and back again. The book is a great all around guide to the skills not often discussed in programming circles. Topics include everything from career and learning, to marketing yourself, to productivity and physical fitness! It was within these words that I decided it was time to start marketing myself in my new hometown of St Petersburg, FL.
As part of this change I decided to sign up for the “How To Build A Blog That Will Boost Your Career” course, also by Sonmez. Within this course he provides great advice on how to begin a tech blog. To some it may seem a daunting task, to others it may seem a remarkably simple endeavor. While true, there’s nothing particularly complicated about creating a blog, creating a successful blog takes a fair amount of thought and dedication.
The first lesson centers around choosing a theme. Without a theme, a blog will be random and haphazard at best. With the wrong theme, or too broad or even too narrow a theme you may find it incredibly difficult get started or keep momentum.
For those looking for details on how to setup hosting and the differences between hosted WordPress or installed WordPress and which to choose, lesson two is where that is covered.
Lesson three is all about coming up with a list of topics about which to write. Sonmez recommends compiling a list of 50 topics in the beginning. I was a bit skeptical, and to be honest I had a bit of trouble completing the list at first. But, once I got going the ideas just kept coming. (I’ve now got over 100 topics on the list, so stay tuned!)
Consistency is the topic for lesson four. This is the one that I found to be the most important to me. Consistency of topics, of message, and timing and schedule of posts will help build an audience. Hopefully, with the right theme and consistency of message and timing of posts your audience will begin to grow and you get more opportunities to interact.
That brings us to lesson five, which is all about building an audience. No tricks or gimmicks here, just ideas on how to build a solid network.
The sixth and final lesson is all about marketing yourself. This is something that is often overlooked in our industry. Some may struggle to get past the stigma associated with even the term, marketing. Solid advice is offered in this lesson as well.
More about John Sonmez:
An author and Microsoft MVP, John has been a professional developer since 1999. He has focused primarily on web technologies and has experience with everything from PHP to C# to ReactJS to SignalR. Clean code and professionalism are particularly important to him, as well as mentoring and teaching others what he has learned along the way.