Linux sysadmins: 6 reasons you should write technical articles
My goal is to convince you to write articles—specifically, technical articles. The six reasons to write technical articles also apply to other types of written pieces, such as documentation and project proposals. I can't promise that you'll become a billionaire or that this will improve your romantic life, but the benefits for you will be higher than for those who choose not to write.
Why should you put effort into something that is voluntary work and (apparently) won't help you pay your bills?
Below, I give you six reasons to write, or in some cases, remind you of what you already know.
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1. You can do it
You might think that writing is difficult or that you don't know how to start. Forget the situations where you needed to write for school or for your work. No one is forcing you to do this. If you write about something that you love or that know well, in your area of expertise, the ideas will come much more easily.
You also have support from your editors, who'll give you guidelines for developing and organizing your ideas in a fluid and interesting way for readers.
What if you want to write about something that doesn't resonate with the word love that I used previously? Well, even bad experiences can sometimes be useful for other readers (Of course, it's better when someone presents a problem and also a solution). It can even be funny. But don't overdo the "dark side" of situations that you write about. This world needs more good vibes.
2. You can contribute
Think about some of the times you were stuck with a technical issue. You probably did some research on the internet and found someone with the same problem who offered suggestions that ended up saving your day. Did you say "Thank you" to that person? No time for that, right?
I'm sure that there are some things that you understand better than anyone else. If you share that knowledge, a lot of people can benefit. Maybe you won't receive a direct "Thank you" but believe me, it feels really good to know that you possibly helped someone that you don't even know.
Consider it a kind of "karmic" flow of nerdiness.
3. You get better at what you do
It's one thing to know how to perform well or how to solve a problem, but when you need to explain or teach it to someone else, you're forced to go deeper into the conceptual aspects, the reasons why something works the way it does, and why it can or should be done in a certain way and not in others.
When you need to prepare yourself to answer the challenges or questions that others might ask, you rise to another level of mastery on that subject. This knowledge acquisition can give you a boost in self-confidence, which will benefit you in other areas, both professionally and personally.
4. You improve your sales skills
Even if you prefer to be a techie and don't ever want to do any sales work, you need to remember that we actually need to sell ourselves and our ideas all the time. If you're involved in a project and have the best and most elegant solution for a problem, you might need to convince others. Saying or writing an e-mail stating, "This is better because I'm saying it," won't get you very far. Being able to clearly express your ideas and understand your audience's point of view are useful skills in any life situation—even negotiating with your kids, boss, spouse, friends, etc.
Writing is like gymnastics for your brain.
5. You improve your personal value
Keeping up to date with technology isn't easy, but you have to do it. And, if I'm totally honest, you don't complain about this because you like this type of life if you're in this field.
The other thing to do to increase your value in the market is to update your resume constantly with all the benefits that you brought to the company, challenges you've addressed, etc. Publishing technical articles is definitely something that looks good on your resume and on your LinkedIn profile.
6. You make valuable connections
With exposure from writing articles, more people will see you, your work, and you'll eventually connect with some of them. This exposure can be good because you contact someone with similar interests and who appreciates your knowledge.
It's always good to increase your network, right? New connections can lead to expanding your circle of friends, areas of interest, and even a new job.
[ Free cheat sheet: IT job interview tips ]
I hope I've convinced you to write about an idea that you've always wanted to share or provide guidance on; maybe that brilliant solution you found for a puzzling issue no one else knew how to solve. Or about some point of view that you think the world deserves to know.
Don't wait for the ideal condition. Challenge yourself. And I look forward to reading your articles.