There are lot of posts on how writing is a very important skill set for developers. These posts say the best way to become a better writer is to just start writing. I feel the same way about coding. Anyone who asks me how to get a start in the programing world I’ll tell them to just build something. So I see the value in writing to become a better writer and that’s what I’m going to try to do. Now that I’m a consultant doing software architecture, writing is a big part of my job. So, I’m going to start writing to become a better writer.
I’ve made my way up through the trenches from an entry level developer to developer to senior developer to tech lead and now architect. Up until I was an architect, I was able to get by without being a terribly good writer. Prior to the past couple of years, I was heads down programming with a little bit writing dedicated to documentation and emails. Now I spend a good amount of time gathering information, writing it down in a presentable format and organizing it for other people to consume.
People I’m writing for are development teams, vendors, clients, heads of business groups, marketing teams, doctors, lawyers and other people who need to be able to understand at a high and low level the technology systems we are creating. The types of writing I do also varies from day to day, here are a few examples of the types of writing I want to improve on:
- Technical requirements
- Contracts and proposals
- System diagrams
- “How To” documents and blog posts
- Product and code documentation
- Brand guidelines
- README files
- Code reviews
- User interactions
- Interfacing with multiple people and business groups that are not technically savvy
Communication doesn’t flow between groups easily, it’s pretty important to facilitate the information between the technology group and the other parts of the organization clearly. Misunderstandings usually end up in rewrites or bugs. Being able to communicate with my team all the requirements is a key skill to have so we’re able to build whatever it is we’re building right the first time around.
With all that, I’m going to set a goal for myself to write at least one blog post per week for the entire summer. I don’t have any hard rules for what the posts need to be about, I’m just trying to put useful information on paper in an orderly manner. They can be any length on any topic – technology, how-to, a bug fix, Minneapolis, whatever as long as they challenge me to write something. I look forward to this challenge.