Engineers are keen to become tech bloggers
In 2021, Cristian Velazquez helped Uber fix a major software problem. Initially, he and his team diagnosed a data-handling flaw that could prevent Uber’s app from functioning properly. They then developed a way to clean up memory more efficiently, saving Uber time and money.
This is an abbreviated version of the story.
Later, on Uber’s tech blog, Velázquez introduced the project in an article titled “How We Saved 70,000 Cores Across 30 Mission-Critical Services.” However, it should be noted that ordinary readers are best to understand technical terms such as Go, CPU, and fragmented ledger sets first.
Velázquez himself was of course familiar with these terms. But he doesn’t know much about blogging. In fact, he worked as an engineer at Uber for nearly 3 years, but he didn’t know that the company had an engineering blog until he was invited to blog for the company.
”This is the first time I’ve done some external communications work,” said Velázquez, who spent months writing his first blog post. Much easier.”
Velázquez did write well afterwards, and many people learned about Uber’s blog product from his article.
Uber is one of the big technology companies hoping to attract talented engineers to join them in this way. Companies like Google, Apple, and Meta that are determined to explore cutting-edge technologies have built their own engineer blog sites. You know, the content form of blog has appeared as early as the birth of the Internet.
This type of site presents articles mainly around case studies of complex programming tasks. It gives the outside world a glimpse into how a company’s technology research and development projects are unfolding. These technical posts tend to have a graduate thesis-like title and an instruction book-like editorial style. They are often intended to increase corporate transparency, provide resources to the engineering community, and attract top talent.
StackOverflow, an online question-and-answer platform for tech workers, found that 48% of developers use such blogs and other official corporate media to learn about potential employers. “It’s a great addition that fills in what isn’t in the company’s job page and job description,” says Jennifer Hindle, director of marketing at StackOverflow.
“These tech companies have a lot of drudgery and day-to-day development that has to be done that isn’t particularly compelling,” said Devin Riley, an engineer who has worked at technology companies such as open software platform GitHub and payment processing company Braintree. People get excited, and bloggers would never put them on a company blog.”
Riley recently left GitHub, where she worked for more than 3 years.
He said he was tired of working remotely. When looking for a new job, he cites compensation, company mission, and product quality as top considerations. An engineer’s blog won’t influence his job search decision any more than a high salary, but it’s still quite influential. He reads these blogs to understand what the business values.
“These blogs give you some signals as to whether companies see engineering as a core part of their business, and whether they’re willing to put in the effort to write content about what they do,” Riley said.
Some companies seem to be investing more in this area than others. Brands like Uber detail important projects, but some engineering blogs read like glorified press releases, which can turn off potential job candidates.
David Walsh, a senior full-stack engineer at cryptocurrency company MetaMask, also runs a personal tech blog. “If I read a blog and see it was written by a salesperson, I’m going to be so disappointed that I don’t want to read it after two sentences,” he said. “If I can tell it’s an engineer on a project team Written, this person must have actual combat experience, as an engineer, I will admire him very much, and I can empathize with him.”
Before joining e-commerce platform Shopify as a developer in 2020, Josh Larson browsed the company’s technical blog for engineers and data scientists.
”You can understand the technology tools that the company is using, whether it is using advanced things. Some companies’ engineer blog updates may have been going back 3 years.” Larson said.
Shopify eventually passed Larson’s scrutiny. Two years later, he also became one of the authors of these blog posts. Larson has one big advantage: He studied journalism in college. In June 2022, he published the article “How We Built Hydrogen: A React Framework for Building Custom Storefronts”. Although it was only 2,500 words, it delved into how Shopify used customer feedback to improve products, so it became the Shopify blog currently. One of the most popular articles.
Shopify’s tech blog is a success story throughout the tech industry. The blog will receive more than 1 million visits in 2022, a 56% increase from 2021, the company said. This shows that if the content is good enough, there will be a large audience interested in this type of information.
”When it comes to writing, especially online, you’ll hear self-doubt time and time again, ‘It’s already been written’ or ‘I don’t know what I’m talking about,'” Larson said. A misgiving shared by many tech bloggers. He would encourage his colleagues not to lose heart and to keep writing. “Your perspective will be helpful to others, and don’t be afraid to share what you’ve learned,” he said.