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I have been itching to write a software development blog for some time now.

The best advice I've received about blog writing is "Write the blog you would have want to read". Its good advice but its only half the story, Once you write a blog it becomes your showcase on the Internet, it is bound to come up on any search conducted by a future colleague or employer. It can be a good thing or it can do some serious damage.

So if there are any hiring managers out there, can you give me a few pointers on what it is in a blog that give you a good impression about candidate and/or the kind of stuff that causes you to throw the candidate's resume to the nearest bean?

Does a blog have to come up with a clever piece of code every week? (Don’t think I can manage it)

Is it OK to blog more then not about development methods to improved quality and productivity (have a lot of ideas about that). Can I blog about stuff I did not try first hand but seems noteworthy?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by gnat, MichaelT, GlenH7, Dan Pichelman, jmo21 Sep 23 '13 at 15:23

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

If you care to read a book about this I would recommend Technical Blogging: Turn Your Expertise into a Remarkable Online Presence. Some parts are provided for free so you can decide if it is worth buying the book or not. –  ierax Feb 4 '12 at 18:11
faif: Thanks for pointing this book out. The two excerpts and the TOC hints strongly resembles other blogging books I've read, sketching the game field and outlining the workflow. I am not sure the author addresses the finer details of keeping a SW development blog :-) –  Sean Feb 4 '12 at 20:02
@Sean: I've read it. He does. –  pdr Feb 4 '12 at 20:57
I'd much rather read a blog about something you know and care about, than trying to be a journalist on something you don't know much about. –  user1249 Feb 4 '12 at 23:02
When you want to impress people, put some pictures into blog, some 2-3D thing with a lot of pixels. People appreciate pixels way more than written words. –  user7071 Jun 2 '12 at 14:29

3 Answers 3

If you are applying at a medium or larger company, it is very likely that the first person to see your resume will not have a strong technical background. The most this type of person can get out of seen a technical blog is "they seem to know what they are talking about." It isn't until the resume gets in the hands of someone that might actually be doing the interviewing that a technical blog can make you stand out. At smaller companies, the roles will be more condensed and is more likely that your resume will be seen by technical people sooner. However, I still believe that putting a link to a blog on your resume will something that might get looked at and not the focus of the first round of possible candidate vs trash.

With all that said, I'm not saying that writing a technical blog is a bad idea or that it will hurt your application process. I simply think that the benefits are more secondary than direct implications. Actively writing about coding and the coding process means you are doing more than just going through the motions. Doing this kind of extra critical thinking will make you a better programmer in the future. At the same time, it will give you lots of practice expressing yourself in a technical context. This is a very important skill when it comes to being interviewed. You might know all the answers, but if you can't convince the interviewer that you know what you are talking about, it doesn't matter.

Write the blog because it is something you want to do and something you will be passionate about. Let your passion push you to learn more and improve your skills. Don't write the blog just because you think a manager might look at your resume an extra second because there is a link on the bottom.

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I don't think it's about coming up with something clever every week. I think it's much more important to write about something that interests you, be it a project, a framework, a methodology or whatever and convey an understanding of the subject matter. The best blogs are written by people who a) know what they are talking about b) are passionate about what they are talking about and c) have something to say. Setting yourself deadlines can be useful for spurring you on to actually write something but they can also work against you if you don't have anything worthwhile to say. I've tried to write a blog before, not a coding blog but the point still stands, where I wrote something every day. I kept it up for a while but ultimately the blog was filled with uninteresting content that no one in their right mind would have found interesting. I've taken pretty much the opposite approach with my current blog which documents an open source project I am working on. While it's pretty light on content right now, I hope to over time be able to build up a decent amount of useful, interesting and representative content.

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A blog will showcase, not only your technical knowledge, but your communication and presentation skills as well. Even if you don't have new ideas or tricks, it looks good if you can figure out how to explain some stuff much more clearly than commonly done (e.g. more clearly than the interviewer reading your blog can, for instance.)

Also, if you want to blog about lots of stuff, you might want to consider separating your professional blog and "other-stuff" blogs. That may make the professional blog be more targeted to your goal as a professional showcase.

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