Thursday, November 17, 2011

Seven years of blogging in less than 500 words

In a couple of days, this blog will be 7 years old. Hard to believe so much time has passed since my first Hello World post.

I keep reading that blogging is on the wane, and it's true, mainly because of the popularity of Twitter. But I strongly believe that blogging is still important, and that more people should do it. For me, it's a way to give back to the community. I can't even remember how many times I found solutions to my technical problems by reading a blog post. I personally try to post something on my blog every single time I solve an issue that I've struggled with. If you post documentation to a company wiki (assuming it's not confidential), I urge you to try to also blog publicly about it – think of it as a public documentation that can help both you and others.

Blogging is also a great way to further your career. Back in September 2008 I blogged about my experiences with EC2. I had launched an m1.small instance and I had started to play with it. Lo and behold, I got a job offer based on that post. I accepted the offer, and that job allowed me to greatly enhance my experience with cloud computing. This brings me to a more general point: if you want to work on something you know nothing about, start small on your own, persevere, and yes, blog about it! In my experience, you'll invariably find yourself in a position to be paid to work on it.

It's also pretty interesting for me to look at my blog posts and to recognize in them the evolution of my own career. I started to blog when I was working as a tester. I was passionate about automated testing, Python and agile processes and tools. This led to digging more into automation tools, then into automated deployments and configuration management in the context of system architecture. This led into cloud computing, and these days this is leading into Big Data analytics. Who knows what's next? Whatever it is, I'm sure it will be exciting, because I make an effort to make it so!

I think it's also important to recognize that learning a tool or a technique is necessary but not sufficient: at the end of the day it's what you do with it that matters. For me the progression has been testing->automation->cloud computing->data analytics->??? (I actually started my career as a programmer, but here I include only the period coinciding with my blogging years.)

This may be self-help-kind-of-corny, but a quote which is attributed (maybe wrongly) to Goethe really applies to everybody:

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now."


Sarah said...

Thanks for the encouraging post! It's great to hear stories of people's careers advancing through blogging.

Juho Vepsäläinen said...

There's no way something like Twitter can replace blogging altogether. It's simply not persistent enough. Sure it gives you some clue of the current trends but it does not provide the longevity blogging does. Besides the real information has to come from somewhere. :)

As you suggested it's a good idea to blog about technical solutions and such. In this way my blog serves as a backup memory for me. It's easy for me to check out how I did some thing back then.

There's definitely the PR side as well. I think it's a great way to show what you are capable of. Perhaps some right person happens to read your posts at the right time. :)

Let's hope other mediums don't diminish the popularity of blogging altogether. It would be a great shame to lose such a valuable outlet.

ray said...

I'm really encouraged by this post, since I'm on the way of testing->automation->cloud... That's also the reason why I subscribe your blog. Thanks again for your post

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