Contrary to popular belief, code is not the only thing you can write as a developer. Most developers work in silos — constantly writing code — but the onus of explaining the code typically relies on someone else. What if I told you that communicating those technicalities could help you be better at your job and open up an abundance of opportunities? This is exactly what technical writing can help you do.
Technical writing allows you to take your expertise as a developer and translate that information into digestible language for the reader. It’s instrumental in the tech world, where a potential customer may not understand what your product does or how it works.
I’m sure you’ve run into this issue internally too. When decision-makers are unclear about the product you’ve developed, your creations run the risk of being overlooked. By practicing your writing skills, you can educate your managers and team members properly.
Communication is a key skill in today’s hybrid world — making it even more important for developers to tap into the writing space. The employment growth for technical writers in the US is expected to increase by 12 percent by 2030. Companies need more writers who are knowledgeable about the technological world, which means there’s no better time to start than now.
This article will discuss eight reasons why every software developer should write technical content and how it can advance your career as a developer.
8 Reasons Why Every Software Developer Should Write Technical Content
1. Employers Are Looking for Solid Communicators
Communication is an in-demand skill, and for a good reason. Companies are said to lose $420,000 each year due to miscommunication within internal teams. You need to be a standout communicator to thrive in the tech space (where remote work was common even before the pandemic).
If you start writing, your communication skills (both written and verbal) will become better over time. Also, remember that software engineering is a team sport — meaning effective communication leads to more productive work. Writing will also enhance your ability to communicate in in-group (your co-workers) and out-group (potential clients, decision-makers, etc.) situations.
Image depicting the importance of communication skills in a developer job description. Image Source.
2. Writing Builds Your Credibility as a Developer
The competition in the tech space is tough and will only get more challenging with time. Writing and publishing quality content where you discuss the specifics of your expertise builds your credibility. The best way to do that is to do it from a teaching perspective. It helps you build a loyal reader base and fosters accountability.
Publishing your writing is a wonderful way to market yourself, and it’s actually pretty easy to do in today’s digital age. Very soon, you’ll become the go-to expert in your niche, which will eventually lead to more opportunities over time.
Software engineer and technical writer Kyle Jones says, “I’ve received a few writing opportunities through LinkedIn since updating my profile to indicate that I offer writing services. Each of these opportunities has requested samples; however, having previously published pieces has meant that I was offered those opportunities.”
3. Expand Your Skillset
As a developer, coding is not the only thing that’ll help you succeed. Writing is one skill that can help you expand your thoughts, clarify your ideas, and make you a better communicator.
You can actively apply these aspects to other areas of your job by creating user guides, technical documentation, and more. Writing about your topics can also enhance your problem-solving skills — making you a better developer.
Additionally, developers often work in silos where they think coding is their only job — leading to constricted roles and a lack of professional growth. By building additional skills, you can explore better fitting roles and look at the bigger picture regarding the product at hand.
4. Create Your Own Work History
Developers tend to be a wealth of information considering the impact they create every day. Despite that, many of them discuss very little about their work and the daily struggles that they go through. There are two ways to stop that — journal privately or create content publicly.
Some companies don’t allow developers to share their proprietary knowledge. You can continuously hone your writing skills by actively journaling in those cases. It acts as a personal history of your work records, and it can be used later when you run into similar issues in your work.
Sharing your journey also could prove beneficial in many other ways — some of them include honing your creative skills, writing ability, and marketing your work and company. It also encourages you to consume other developers’ content, allowing you to learn more about your field.
5. Become a Better Teacher
It’s rightfully said that those who teach are also active learners. Writing is an excellent way to break out of the mold if you’re starting out in the field or have been stagnant for some time. It forces you to consume and create more content — eventually leading to stacked industry knowledge.
Any piece you produce, especially technical documentation, will also help you understand your topic better. Why? Because when you put your thoughts into words, you tend to look at things from multiple perspectives, allowing you to foresee potential issues and plan solutions. And the more you write, the more you’ll learn, and the better you’ll become at explaining (teaching) — this will make you a valuable and indispensable team player.
6. Understand the Customer’s Perspective
Developers tend to work in their own bubbles, making it very hard for them to understand a potential user’s pain points. Most clients are non-technical users, which means that they need somebody to explain the specifics of the product. Who would be better to explain it to them than the one who built it?
By writing about your work, you’ll get to view things from the user’s perspective. This will help you create a better product while you educate your customers.
7. Open the Door to New Opportunities
Keeping in line with the ‘Build in Public’ theme, marketing yourself is the best way to land your dream job. For example, continuously publishing on your blog, writing bylined articles, and contributing to internal documentation increases your visibility.
With remote work being a common expectation in the field, you never know what opportunities might come knocking on your door when you hit publish. You could either get your dream job or pivot entirely into freelancing or contractor roles. You have more control over your career trajectory than you think.
Deepali Kishtwal, a freelance content writer in the B2B tech space, says, “I was already freelancing alongside my job as a developer. I would enjoy writing way more than my job, and that’s what led to this career switch. In the beginning, I got hired by a B2B product-based company as their marketing engineer, where my role was as a Content Marketer for their Engineering products. Also, I was very active on LinkedIn until last year, and yes, being consistent did get me some good leads.”
8. Diversify Your Income Source
While you may not initially earn a full-time income, it pays well to be a technical writer. For reference, freelance technical writers in the US make on average $30 per hour to start.
It gives you an excellent way to pocket extra income while honing new skills and building a personal brand for yourself. You can either build an active readership of developers online or even help tech companies with their content marketing and documentation efforts.
Are you a developer ready to sharpen your technical writing?
Overall, indulging in the art of writing has multiple benefits. It helps you become a better developer and communicator while helping you make some extra money. By putting in the effort to hone your writing skills, you could truly change the trajectory of your professional life by attracting more (and potentially better suited) opportunities.
These aspects can expedite your career growth much faster than you would expect — helping you build credibility and topical authority in your niche. An excellent way to do that is to work with content marketing agencies that specifically cater to technical audiences.
Once you team up with these agencies, you’ll get access to work with companies you may not be able to by yourself. You can also discover new technologies while working with editors to improve your writing. Our writers have certainly seen themselves improve as developers and writers by doing so!
Ready to share your voice? If you’re looking to explore writing opportunities by contributing to some of the biggest brands in the world of tech, send over your portfolio today!