Welcome to Programming. Here's your tools of the trade: computer, IDE, library of books and your blog. What does the blog have to do with creating software, you ask.....let's talk.
First off, the idea for this post came from a recent article at Ruby Inside "How to Get A Job at a Top Ruby Shop". I really enjoy the site and find many good articles there. After I read it, I had a feeling that people who are trying hard (but maybe not in all the "right" places it seems) are getting left out. Because I'm currently a student and a job is important to find for me, I decided to share my opinion. Twice even. Go read it.
Here's my take on what was said in the article: Programming, especially within the Ruby community, has become more than just writing good code. It has become a game of expanding your "sphere of public influence".
Is this really what is important? I obviously understand that communication skills are important because I'm playing the game right now writing on my blog, but is the time I'm spending developing these blog ideas, writing them, and publicizing them really worth it? What else could I be doing with my time that would be more beneficial towards my progress as a highly skilled developer than writing? More importantly, where do you find the time to do it?
To do something well and get a return out of it, you must spend solid amounts of time on it. For instance, this blog: for my writing to do any good, I've got to get it in front of the faces of other people. I've got to publish it on my Facebook status, make a few well-timed tweets about it, and find some places (like the Ruby Inside site) to publicize it. I spend on average 2 hours a day reading through tweets and blogs in hopes of learning something amazing and telling people about how amazing I am. On new post days, this time goes up significantly. We'll call it ten hours because math is easier to follow that way.
So, ten hours a week of my time is spent on social media. Let's say I charge $50 bucks an hour to do a website for someone and that is how much my time is worth doing anything "professional". Therefore, it costs me $500 bucks every week to try to get my name out there and voice listened to. Let's say that I've been doing this for 4 months steadily in preparation for graduation and impressing top shops with my communication skills. That means I've spent around $8,000 on blogging and tweeting. Can I really expect to get a return of $8,000?
Did you say you spend more than 10 hours a week on social media? Oh dear....break out the calculator....
I'm going to have to stop here for now and see if I can get some comments about this last part. This is what is really interesting to me to find out before I discuss more of my thoughts. I'm going to start tweeting this and finding relevant places to talk about it and see what kind of return I get.