5

I am a programmer for an mobile app development company, specifically for the server side. I am wondering whether it is bad to write a blog about techniques learned during working hours.

I am not talking about ground breaking stuff here, I did a little project where I used someone else's blog post to find out how I could do it. It was however very basical;y described and I would like to blog about it in more detail.

I am wondering (specifically in programming) what I would be allowed to share and teach to others.

My first thought is asking my employer whether he would be okay with it, however I wanted to hear the voice of the internet first.

2
  • depends on the industry, in some industries, just don't do it.
    – Kilisi
    Oct 16 '18 at 0:03
  • @Joe and Milan, there's an answer mentioning a NDA, was the tag relevant to the question or not?
    – brasofilo
    Oct 16 '18 at 2:39
11

I am wondering (specifically in programming) what I would be allowed to share and teach to others.

Good for you. Sharing is not only a great way to help others, it's also a great way to build your personal brand. Many, many of us have done the same. For many years I wrote a blog about my profession. I did this through several different employers and never asked permission.

You are always allowed to share your own thoughts, your own comments, and your own code.

You won't be allowed to share any company-confidential information. You may or may not be allowed to share code from your company. And you may or may not be permitted to mention your company's name, or the names of those you work with. As @DJClayworth points out, you may not be allowed to share the fact that your company is using a specific technology, although that may not be typical.

When in doubt, ask your boss.

Oh, and make sure you do your blogging on your own time.

6
  • 1
    also be careful about what you call "your code" if you took the idea from work then typed it our on your own machine, its still their code. If you signed an NDA and they can derive its basically their code, you could still get in trouble Oct 15 '18 at 15:48
  • General +1. I've encountered extreme cases where a company doesn't even want competitors to know they are using a specific technology, so best to ask even if you don't share company code. Oct 15 '18 at 15:56
  • 3
    Worth noting that OP doesn't get to decide what is "any company-confidential information" and should presume that everything he works on AT work is company confidential until he asks and is told otherwise.
    – cdkMoose
    Oct 15 '18 at 16:40
  • @cdkMoose, this is one of those things where, if you ask, of course the answer will be "No". No one wants to stick their neck out by authorizing someone else to blog about something that may or may not violate some legal boilerplate which only a lawyer can correctly evaluate-- and if it comes to a lawyer, they'll just say "NO" for the sake of caution. The OP can do like countless others and blog about that stuff anyway, but be careful to keep any code to generalized examples which are far removed from any of the employer's intellectual property.
    – teego1967
    Oct 15 '18 at 18:35
  • @teego1967, I can't speak for all companies, but my current employer is very supportive of outside activity in the form of open source, blogging, committee membership and others. They just want to know who is doing it and make sure the people are qualified, since the company's name goes along with them.
    – cdkMoose
    Oct 15 '18 at 19:11
1

If you ever been to a conference, the speakers always talk about something they learned while on a project that is related to the subject of the conference.

With that in mind, I recommend asking your manager if you can share this with others in the group. Might benefit them as much as others. Just be sure you're not violating the NDA, don't share company secrets or anything that could give a competitor an advantage other than learning from whatever programming task or technological hurdles you encountered.

Good topics: "What I learned about using X...." "Pitfall of o-auth2..." "Good design of CRUD..." "RESTful API design hurdles..." "Getting started with..." "What I learned about injection..." "Making program A talk with B..."

Bad topics: "Our database structures..." "Hey hackers, try to hack this web server..." "Our security layout...." "A company secret..." "Loopholes in our credit card processor..." "Our password is 12345..."

0

I would advise against it.

If you use any code the company can derive as being theirs you violates the NDA. Remember all of the code you write on company time is considered company code. Unless your blog is only teaching things like OOP principles or broad concepts. If you start showing how your company does things, you are basically violating the NDA.

It's just safer to not do it.

5
  • Safer not to do it without asking, but it pretty much never hurts to ask. Oct 15 '18 at 15:55
  • Even without an NDA, you are giving away their property. Don't do it without asking.
    – cdkMoose
    Oct 15 '18 at 16:37
  • The company can never "own" specific technology stacks. Sometime like how to integrate o-auth2 or how to design RESTful APIs might be specific to your company but the overall technology cannot be owned by the company so explaining what you learned during a interview or in a blog wouldn't be violating NDA.
    – Dan
    Oct 15 '18 at 19:42
  • why are you talking about an nda?
    – bharal
    Oct 15 '18 at 19:50
  • @bharal the question is tagged with NDA Oct 15 '18 at 21:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .