Of the many conference sessions I attended at Xamarin Evolve16 this year, there was one that was radically different than the others. When you go to a developer conference, you assume that all the sessions are focused entirely around the latest technology trends and improving your development skills. What I did not expect was a session on skills to improve the quality of life and long term success as a software developer. As software developers, we have very analytical minds, and thus we only focus on our quantitative technical skills and ignore the qualitative. In the session, 5 Soft Skills Every Software Developer Should Know, I was introduced to John Sonmez, and his mission is to change that.
John Sonmez is a software developer who was so successful in his day job, he was able to retire at the age of 33. Since then, he has become a software developer coach who has made it his life’s mission to helping developers succeed in their careers and surpass mediocre lives. John has built a unique business revolving around this core mission, called Simple Programmer.
Simple Programmer provides a multitude of services for software developers including blog posts, podcasts, YouTube videos, published books, and training courses. A large majority of this content is completely free and worth exploring.
One course in particular that is worth investigating is his free email course on building a blog. In this course, John sends you weekly emails explaining the simple process of how to build a blog correctly and the reasons for it. While the content of his emails might first appear to be common sense, if they were so common, why do some many developers do it incorrectly, or not at all?
That’s nice, but why should I even care about blogging? The premise behind developers maintaining a blog is that it acts as a conduit to creating a brand for yourself. Developers without a brand (or name for themselves) are simply code monkeys that can be easily replaced with another developer. Adversely, developers that have both the technical skills and name recognition within an industry are sought out by employers. In essence, you want to be name not a number in a stack of resumes.
Beyond simply name recognition within an industry, blogging provides a channel of communication between other developers. While Stack Overflow is the usual go to for quick technical issues, blogs are the second resource type that ALL developers depend on. Not only are they another tool in our tool-belt, they are also better mediums for more in depth topics; the format is more conducive for tutorials and longer articles than Stack Overflow.
Most developers usually have a healthy level of skepticism. Why should we trust this John guy whom you might not have ever heard of before? Don’t just listen to him, listen to the advice of other major names in the industry like Scott Hanselman. While John’s advice isn’t some magic get rich quick pill, his advice is a compilation of life skills for developers that, with hard work, could completely change the course of your career.