Will A Blog Help My Career?
If you are reading this, I am going to assume you are also working in IT.
This blog post is primarily directed at people working in IT - especially testers.
In this blog post, I would like to share my experience in blogging, how others have benefited from blogging and the perspectives of people who make hiring decisions.
Lastly, I will share a few ideas for people who are considering starting their blogging journey.
If you don’t want to read this whole blog post and just want to know if a blog will help your career, then the answer is:
You just need to read on to get the details. ;)
The Beginning Of My Blogging Journey
I’ve been quite into writing until I was about 15 years old. I enjoyed writing poetry then later wrote for an online teen magazine. I also wrote sporadically for the university magazine (mainly reviews though).
I also wrote in my diary almost every day for about a year when I was 16-17.
I’m providing some context so you know way before this blog started, you realise that I have been into writing for a while.
I don’t actually remember why I started my blog in the first place.
All I remember is that I set up my old blog nickytests.blogspot.com and then had some fun choosing a template and colour scheme.
How My Blog Has Evolved
At the start of my blogging journey, I blogged about what I was learning, random bugs I came across, ISTQB etc.
It was mainly just ramblings - I don’t think I made much sense except for my how-to ISTQB posts that I have since deleted.
These days I tend to blog about whatever comes to mind, but I make a much bigger effort to structure my thoughts and articulate them clearly.
Until fairly recently, I didn’t have sub-headings in my blog. I started with that because I realised that I liked other blogs that did that - as it made them easier to read.
I figured it would also make my blog easier to read.
How I Have Benefitted From My Blog
The benefits that I know about are:
- Some people bought my eBook Starting Your Software Testing Career because of what they had seen in my blog (they explicitly told me so).
- It improved my writing skills. (At least that’s what I think). I feel more comfortable with written communication. Not only has my blog (and readers) benefitted from this, but also the people I work with. My more “traditional” test documents like Test Plans and Test Strategies have improved along with my bug reports.
Actually that’s it.
That’s all I know about (Or at least remember).
- Speaking opportunities at conferences, podcasts and meetups
- Job opportunities (I got my previous role at House of Test because someone I knew from Twitter, told me HoT was hiring.)
- Great conversations with interesting people - which has also led to friendships.
How Others Have Benefitted From Their Blogs
A few days ago I saw a tweet on Twitter saying something along the lines of everyone should get a blog.
And it got me thinking.
A few hours later I tweeted asking if people felt their blog has helped their career and/or led to opportunities.
To those with blogs:— Nicola Lindgren (@NicolaLindgren) March 11, 2022
Do you feel having a blog has helped your career/opened up opportunities for you?
Would you recommend people trying to get their first role (whether as a tester, dev etc) write a blog?
I got a lot of replies.
I noticed a few trends though.
Here are some examples from Twitter:
Your blog contributes to your personal brand.
Since being a "creative" is really what will matter going forward in your career, +anything+ showing that you can communicate passionately & clearly will be beneficial to your path forward as well as your "brand."— Jim Czuprynski (@JimTheWhyGuy) March 11, 2022
Blogs or particular blog posts led to speaking opportunities for a fair few people.
* first, it helped me vizualize what I learnt and improve my own communication skills— Emna Ayadi (@emna__ayadi) March 12, 2022
* second, it's a great feeling when you receive messages thanking you for something useful you shared
* third, it brought more speaking opportunities at conferences.
I’d say yes to all really. I’ve been asked to do talks and training from my blog. Used it to point to information and had it mentioned in interviews.— Ady Stokes (@A11y_Ady) March 11, 2022
We have had folks on testing courses do blogs for their coursework and that went down really well at interviews
For some people, it helped them get a job.
I know for sure that it enhanced my probability of an interview once, which led to my second role. I am not so sure for my first role, but it definitely helped with my second. It didn't do it alone, but it contributed.— Ashley Graf (@ashleygraf_) March 12, 2022
Definitely. It makes you visible. I was once being interviewed by two people about a possible opportunity. One of the interviewers was browsing through my blog at the same time. He announced "you are obviously very thoughtful and serious". I got the work.— James Christie 🇺🇦 (@james_christie) March 11, 2022
Lastly, it helps improve your written communication skills.
The writing has helped me improve how to explain and teach things I've learned to others. I don't know if it can help you land a job directly, but it certainly improves skills that do.— Joost van der Griendt (@joost_vdg) March 13, 2022
I strongly recommend you check out the replies. I learned a lot from the Twitter community and enjoyed reading about people’s experiences in blogging and on if/how it affected their career.
What do people who make hiring decisions think?
I asked on LinkedIn whether people who hire testers, look at candidates’ blogs and whether that works in people’s favour.
I noticed that most people would check out the blogs.
Having a blog won’t necessarily help the candidate however.
Whether or not it would help the candidate also depends on how the candidate structures their thought process, but also their viewpoints - what you write may be used against you.
So, what now?
You don’t need to have a lot of experience in your field (or any), if you want to start a blog - you can blog about your learning journey. I actually started my blog when I had 6-12 months experience. (Come to think of it - I’m almost 10 years into my career, and I still see this blog as a documentation of my learning journey).
If you have absolutely no interest in writing a blog, then that’s ok - don’t start one.
But if you want to start writing a blog or you’re on the fence about it but aren’t sure exactly how to start, then here is some advice:
Focus on content for now, worry about the platform later.
Some great starting blog topics include:
- How you started your career
- Your takeaways or what your learned from an online course or online talk
- The best parts of (insert idea/tool/process)