Saturday, September 24, 2016

Anniversary post - Five benefits of blogging



It's been a year already since I started blogging. I'm really happy that both my motivation for writing and new posts ideas haven't depleted (quite contrary actually).

Today I'd like to encourage you to write to yourself by presenting five key benefits of blogging. All of them have been taken from my 1-year experience of writing Awesome Testing.

1. Strong encouragement for reading more

Robert Greene reads 300-400 books to collect research material for his new non-fiction publication. In terms of blogging such extremes aren't really necessary, but nevertheless, the extensive preparation phase is required. To feel confident in the described topic you need to at least Google the topic thoughtfully. 

For example, I'll soon continue my TestOps series with Continuous Testing. Here are a few very interesting articles about it available for free: Gurock, IBM, John Ferguson Smart, SDtimes, DevOps.com, InfoQ, Cognizant. This may seem a little bit intimidating at first, but you want to make sure your post is fully researched and complete.

2. Higher job market value

By publishing in a topic related to your job expectation you show a clear interest in the subject. Everyone knows it, but almost no one follows it with an action. Talking with testers on KraQA meetings I hear a lot of complaints regarding employers. Here is something that doesn't require managerial buy-in (unless of course, you want to describe things you do at your workplace). It's easy, free, and almost always beneficial.

Few words about employability. Some people say that if we are happy in our jobs we shouldn't promote ourselves in social media. I strongly disagree with that. In my opinion to have full comfort and life safety we need to always think about the worst possible scenario. Even from the employer's perspective, I would like to have people who want to work in my company, not who have to.

3. Going to the root of the problem

This is something I surfaced already in point one. To describe something in your words, you need to fully understand it first. My browser capabilities explained is a perfect example of that.  The topic that seemed easy at first turned out to be hard to figure out. Most Internet resources I found were outdated already. In the end, I had to browse the Chromium source code.

By the way, I had to change the user agent in my tests at work recently and I literally googled my post to find how to do it. Here's commit showing it for those who are interested.

Skill to find and understand the root causes of bugs distinguish good testers from bad ones. By writing your posts (especially technical) you improve such skill. You are simply forced to analyze the roots of everything.

4. Getting familiar with novelty

I know one incredibly good front-end developer with ten years+ experience in JavaScript. We were talking once about rate-yourselves first recruitment (you assess your skills in the scale of 1 to 10 before the technical interview) and he said he would rate his JS skill for 4-5. I thought it was a joke at first, but he explained there so many things, frameworks, extensions in front-end world that you can't really comprehend it fully. He knew about their existence though.

By reading & writing often you open yourselves for various things you don't even know exists. You end up analyzing not only testing stuff but also fields closely related to it. You slowly become an all-around engineer with broad knowledge about the full software engineering process. There are so many things we don't even know exists. By blogging you quickly realize that. This motivates you to learn them, which in turn opens you for something new...

5. Extending your professional circles

As an author, you distinguish yourself from the crowd. It's much easier for such a person to make professional connections (especially virtual ones). You are now no longer an anonymous member of the testing community, you start to influence and expand it.

When I was younger I thought that people who write and speak at conferences are superhuman. Now I know it's not true. We all have capabilities to do that.

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