10 Reasons to Write Tutorials as a Web Developer
It's more important than you might think
By: Ajdin Imsirovic 24 July 2021
There are many reasons why web developers should write tutorials on web development topics. Or even articles about the industry in general, even if those articles are not directly aimed at teaching others to code.
However, in this post we’ll focus on the top 10 reasons why web developers can benefit from writing coding tutorials.
Ok, it’s time to list the ten reasons. Number 10 is a real gem - a great lesson I learned from being both a published and a self-published author.
1. Tutorial Writing Improves Your Technical Communication Skills
Having to think through how to exactly phrase a technical concept that is hard to grasp is a great way to improve your technical communication skills.
2. Tutorial Writing Improves Your Coding Skills
The following quote has been attributed to Albert Einstein:
If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.
Thus, having to explain something in an easy-to-understand language, keeping in mind thay your audience is, say, mostly consisting of beginners, will do wonders for your own examination of the topic at hand. How well do you know the subject?
Tutorial writing will give you great insights towards finding the answer to this question.
3. Writing Tutorials on a Strict Schedule Will Surely Build Your Discipline
The popular self-help idea of “Miracle Morning” has some truth to it. Surely, we can benefit from getting up earlier than others - or just getting up early to begin with - and going through a pre-defined set of important activities. That way, it could be, say, 8AM, and we’ve already completed several important activities, including:
- tutorial writing (why not?)
It can be beneficial to our personal and professional well-being to batch together important activities like that. Also, it can obviously improve our discipline, because good habits can often promote and prop up other good habits.
The takeaway: Try it for a week, and see what happens.
4. Writing Tutorials Will Help You Get a Feel for Breaking Down Coding Problems into Simple Steps
Like anything else, breaking down big coding problems into smaller pieces is a skill. It can be learned. It can be acquired. And it can be improved. While many coders don’t even think about this, and out of the select few that do think about it, leave it up to chance or experience, you can be in an even more rare group of developers who is consciously pursuing the sharpening of this skill.
Keeping track of how you write about solving coding problems, while also analyzing other times you did the same thing (other times you wrote coding tutorials), can elevate your skills on breaking down complex problems into smaller, manageable pieces.
After long enough time passes, you might start getting a gut feeling of the approach to take in tackling all kinds of issues: and that’s a sign of a senior developer.
5. Tutorial Writing Helps Organize Your Code-related Thinking
This one is sort of a continuation on the previous point. But it’s far from being the same thing - actually it’s not even similar.
What I mean by “organizing code-related thinking” is: having the ability to understand the gist of the coding problem you’re solving at any given time.
By writing coding tutorials that focus on solving a specific issue, you’ll begin getting deeper insight into separating the essential and the non essential.
You’ll begin understanding the relevant and the irrelevant parts of other people’s code.
The point is - writing coding tutorials will give you a chance to get to the very core of a coding solution - to remove all the redundant pieces until all that is left is the essence of a specific solution.
6. Tutorial Writing is Great for Networking
You could write tutorials for a number of reasons:
- To try another income stream
- To improve your personal website
- To position yourself as an expert in a given tech stack
Whatever the reason, all of the above activities mean that you interact with people - thus increasing your network of contacts.
After you’ve developed a professional connection with relevant people in your industry, you could take that to the next level by looking for contributors to your projects, looking for sponsors, looking for new employment opportunities, etc.
7. Tutorial Writing is Another Skill in Your Skillset
Many developers don’t realize that technical communication abilities are a skill that can be cultivated. In your day to day work, you might be tasked with having to document an API or having to read lots of documentation. Understanding the principles and rules of good technical documentation is another skill that can improve you as that well-rounded, perfect team member.
8. Tutorial Writing Forces You to Think Outside of the Box
While writing tutorials, you might need to check your articles against plagiarism. I’m using the Quetext plagiarism checker, which I find pretty good for my needs.
9. Tutorial Writing will help You Become a Senior Developer
What makes a senior developer?
There are many skills, and of course, experience - but I firmly believe that tutorial writing (or video tutorial production) is an important ingredient.
Most tutorial writing opens up the author to public scrutiny - especially in our industry which is full of people who pride themselves with being smart and precise - and thus perfect candidates for pinpointing other people’s errors.
Thus, most developers who do write coding tutorials do their best to make them as good as possible.
This is a tall order. It is hard. It requires time and effort. It’s a specific skill.
10. Tutorial Writing Helps You Stay Ahead in the Industry
Speaking about specific skills, I remember a quote from a Liam Neeson movie: “I posses a unique set of skills acquired over a long career.”
How do you prove it?
With tutorial writing, you can set yourself aside from the pack.
It’s a numbers game:
- How many developers write tutorials (a smaller group than all web developers)
- How many developers write tutorials on a regular schedule (an even smaller group)
- How many developers write tutorials on their own blog (yet an even smaller group)
- How many developers have been writing tutorials on their own website for more than 5 or 10 years? (an extremely small number of developers - and this can be a significant advantage)
In conclusion, over the years, tutorial writing can help you move from a purely coding role to a more of an advisory, consultant, or teaching role.
There you have it, a bunch of reasons to start writing coding tutorials today.