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Some people recommend that software developers write tech blogs for multiple reasons, including the following claims:

  1. You will learn things doing that you wouldn't learn otherwise.
  2. Your overall communication skills will improve.
  3. You will have something to useful to show to potential employers.

For the purposes of this question, let's focus only on the third claim. We can assume, for example, that the other claimed benefits can be adequately achieved through other communities than a tech blog and its comments.

My question is: When, if ever, does it make sense to have a blog only for the purpose of getting jobs?

Some aspects of when writing a tech blog for this purpose makes sense are clear. Right after you write your first "Hello World!" program, you are unlikely to have anything to write about that will look good to a potential employer. But, after one has gained enough experience to have something that could potentially look good to a potential employer, should one automatically start a tech blog for the purpose of getting jobs?

Do hiring managers even factor a candidate's tech blog into their decisions at all?

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    Whilst a good blog would undoubtedly help a candidate in the labour market, especially if the blog is widely read, I don't think there is any case where it would be appropriate to write a blog merely to help employment prospects. Those with anything useful to say in a blog don't usually need such help, and tend to be motivated by other things.
    – Steve
    Commented Sep 3, 2022 at 13:14

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When, if ever, does it make sense to have a blog only for the purpose of getting jobs?

IMHO, it never makes sense to have a blog if the only reason you do it is to get a job.

Do it because you love your profession. Do it because you like to help others. Do it because you enjoy writing. Do it because it can be fun (or at least it was for me).

You can also get some job benefits. But if that's the sole purpose, it's not worth the effort. You would be far better served spending your time improving your software development skills, building your portfolio, networking, etc.

Do hiring managers even factor a candidate's tech blog into their decisions at all?

Some do. Many don't.

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Writing a technical blog as an engineer is your chance to gain and share knowledge and build a personal brand.

There is this famous quote from Richard Feynman:

If you want to master something, teach it. The more you teach, the better you learn. Teaching is a powerful tool to learning.

Good writing requires a lot of practice. Practice in writing leads to better communication skills. But also practice with the topic you are writing about. It is a common misconception that everybody is able to write good blog posts about random topics if they only try. Writing good technical articles requires that you really understood the topic in question. You cannot teach something to others that you haven't fully understood yourself.

That means having a personal blog about topics that are related to your profession demonstrates that you spend enough time with those topics to be able to explain them to others and that you care about sharing knowledge in general. Of course, the quality of the content is important. Just a few high-quality articles that provide high value to the readers over a long period of time (and potentially rank high for certain search terms) are certainly more impressive than a lot of poor, short posts that do not really add anything new.

Can a tech blog help you to find a job? Absolutely! If the blog is written well and has good content then it is another good indicator of your skills and areas of expertise. It makes your application stand out and more interesting. It might be the point that helps you to get invited to an interview.

And it can be even more: The better the articles are and the more value they provide to the community the more they help you to build a personal brand. Even when you are not actively looking for a job, people might recognize you as a thought leader or authority in your area of expertise and employers might even approach you, because they have been following our blog for a while.

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    I think as important as writing the blog, is promoting it: taking part of community events, forums, giving talks, engaging with tech leaders on twitter, etc. All these drive people to the blog, give people visibility on your thoughts and give the feedback that nvoight points out that you need. Commented Sep 3, 2022 at 10:21
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Nothing you do only to get a job, with the solitary exception of applying for a job, is worth doing to any extent at all, ever.

It is not worth getting a degree if the only benefit is that you might get a job. It is not worth earning a certificate, taking a course, moving to another city, learning a programming language, losing weight, getting married, becoming a parent or -yes!- writing a blog if the only benefit is you might get a job. These activities all have their own benefits above and beyond your employment, and those other benefits (and costs!) must be considered when you think about doing them "to get a job."

I do feel that some small subset of things might be worth doing for no reason other than to keep a job that you know you like (training and certifications, perhaps, but even then if there is really no other goodness to it at all, not for your own enjoyment or betterment, then I would advise to look for a different job that doesn't ask this of you.)

Even writing your resume has benefits beyond just getting you a job, giving you a chance to look back at what you've done so far, and think about what you want to do in the future.

If you think there is something else you could do that would result in you truly learning (not watching a video and believing you learned) useful things for your work, and make you better at explaining and communicating topics that are relevant to your work, then go ahead and do that thing. And when someone says "do you blog?" you can say, "actually I X instead," and then do 3 or 4 sentences on what that is and what you learned doing it and (if possible) where the interviewer can see it for themselves. If it's weird and new and most people haven't heard of it, so what? That was true of blogs once upon a time.

If you don't have a candidate "other" activity, despite claiming in the question that you do, but just want to be talked into blogging, you won't get such persuasion from me. If you aren't doing it because you want to, you won't do it well, and it won't help you anyway. Don't bother. Millions of perfectly ordinary and satisfactory people don't do it. You'll be fine.

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My question is: When, if ever, does it make sense to have a blog only for the purpose of getting jobs?

It does make sense when everything else failed and you are desperate. It's better than giving up. It's a positive way of dealing with failure. The top ways to get a job are still an education and experience. A blog comes distant... maybe fifth? Somewhere between your choice of coffee and your hobbies.

For it's impact on hiring processes, see How throughly should a hiring manager read a software dev candidate's blog?

And as far as your #1 and #2 go, that's just wrong. Writing a blog is like screaming into a void or singing under the shower. You don't learn anything from it, you don't improve yourself by doing it. If you want to learn and improve, you need something that gives you feedback, something a blog is not designed for.

If you want to write a blog, then go for it, by all means. People love to sing in their shower or car. And I think it's great. It's fun. But it does not increase their prospects of a job at the Opera.

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