On blogging

9/30/2018Time to read: 3 min

Looking at this blog, it has got a decent amount of posts. Not sure about the quality, but quantity-wise, I am pretty proud of myself 😉.

My first post was written 3 months before I graduated from college. I was looking for a software engineering job, and I thought, having a blog would be a good addition to resume. I wrote a post about how I set up my development environment on Windows. When I finished it and posted online, I did a search online to see if people have written about the same topic. Well, there was a lot of content online. People have posted better dev environment setups than what I described in my post. Should I take down my post? Or should I repeat what other people wrote in my post? In the end, I just decided to leave it. Hey, it is my development environment setup, not the best environment setup.

As everyone who got their idea posted on the Internet for the first time, having a blog post online that other people can read feels very good. Who knows, maybe one day, a desperate developer would reach the end of Google search result and find my post. What I wrote could really help him/her to solve a difficult problem.

I still remember a StackOverflow question I stumbled upon. It was posted for two years. There wasn't any good solution when the original poster asked the question, but there was two years later. I left an answer thinking that the poster might not need the answer anymore, but if anybody found this question through Google, my answer would probably help. Almost another year later, someone commented on my answer

Just came across this :)

I can't express how satisfied when I saw the comment. Wow, I did help someone!

I wrote a few more technical blog posts before I landed my first full-time job after college (maybe blogging does help with job seeking 🤔?) I see keeping a technical blog as a way of expressing myself as well as contributing back to the software community. So when my manager asked us to choose a SMART goal (a specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound goal) to follow before our annual performance review, I said I wanted to keep blogging. I set a goal to write a post every two weeks. By examing the timestamps of my posts, you will find that I executed this goal poorly. But at least I didn't stop.

I started to consider more aspects of my blog lately, things like, who my target audience is. How I can describe a complex concept to my target audience who no idea what is in my head right now (I am thinking about pizza right now if that helps convey my message through 🍕🍕🍕).

I think for most of the posts, I was just talking to myself. I assumed the reader to have the exact same technical literacy as I am, who also uses similar technology stack. It's quite interesting to see how my posts become more and more technical as I grow as a software engineer. It's probably not a good idea to write about things that only software architect can understand when I become an architect (one day, maybe).

So one thing I started doing since the last post was to include a small section at the beginning to describe what the target readers are, and what I expect them to know before reading my post (I don't have one for this post, because it is not technical, <div>right? did you see any code?</div>).

The difficult part of explaining a technical concept is to explain the problem as well. You might be able to explain how dinosaur become extinct, but if you need to explain what a dinosaur is at the same time, it suddenly becomes more challenging.

Uh, the reason why dinosaur all died was 🌋👽🎆... oh wait, if you don't know what a 🦖 is...

Explaining technical concept requires practice, and I have to admit, I am not very good at it. If I have to choose my target reader group, I would say, I want my blog to serve people who are looking for their first tech jobs or people who are in the first year of their software engineering career. I have been following a few youtube channels with the similar target audience. I think targeting this group would help the most people.

"But Yiou," you might ask, "do people actually read your blog?" I don't know! At least I read it! If you like this post, let me know by giving me a like and hitting the subscribe button!

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