Learning how to write
I was just reading an article about how writing can make you a better designer, and it reminded me of how essential writing is for us programmers, too.
If you happen to stand over my shoulder all day (please don't), you'd see that I actually write a loooot more than I program. I think the biggest reason for that is because I work remotely, but I bet you run into a lot of writing too even if you work with people IRL.
Let me show you how much writing I do in a typical week at work:
- Updating co-workers about the status of my project
- Making meaningful pull request descriptions
- Reviewing and commenting on a pull request
- Writing down the highlights of a meeting
- Contributing to a meeting agenda
- Sharing some feedback on projects
- Water cooler talk in chat rooms
- Writing content for new designs
Of course, this doesn't include my writing outside of work: there are blog posts, e-mails, newsletters, forum posts, and—hell—even tweets.
So don't think about writing as "soft skills" that engineers don't need to worry about much. It's an essential part of your job. It's difficult, but it's worth it because good work doesn't sell itself.
I was told that good work, really good work, sold itself. And that if you had to stoop to selling it you were demeaning the profession. This is shit advice from shit people.
So, here's to writing!