6 Tech Bloggers to Watch and Learn From
October 12, 2015
Recently I made the outrageous suggestion that a blog, documenting your learning experiences in information technology, could give hiring managers a better representation of your skills and experience than a resume (or CV) and LinkedIn account.
This week’s goal is expose you to good tech bloggers to watch and learn from. Ideally, you observe their blogs, learn a few things, and then you to start blogging.
Understanding this list
Do you ever grow tired of reading the same old highly popular articles on Wired, Lifehacker, Gawker, CNET, The Verge, TechCrunch, Mashable, and all of these supposedly “Best Tech Blogs“? These high trafficked and promoted blogs (commercial websites?) do promote valuable content. I cannot get enough of certain Lifehacker articles.
The definition of a blog is loosely and freely applied to every website that publishes content online these days. I see blogging differently. When blogging first emerged, blogs were characterized as informal personal perspectives. They weren’t clogged with advertising banners and the obvious promotional hidden agenda.
This list intends to promote the informal tech blogs.
NullSecure provides an excellent example of a simplified design. The website clearly defines the content focus as cyber security. The blogger outlines his experience, job title, expertise. This information gives readers further insight into what possible blog posts they will encounter in the archives and future.
Lessons To Takeaway:
- Make it easy for yourself. Do not go overboard on the design.
- Clearly define your background and the content you intend to produce.
- Use images and blocked out text where appropriate
2. Tech Read…
The Tech Read… blog presents a basic WordPress blog. The older styling works perfectly. There’s no need to try hard to look around for what you want. The left sidebar, which includes categories and archives, reveals valuable information about the blog’s focus and publishing consistency. For example, the blogging consistency varies. The last published post occurred in August 2015, but the published post before happened in November 2014.
Lesson to Takeaway:
- Blog consistently: Large gaps in published blogs posts, as seen here, may deter readers. More importantly you want to display consistent writing habits. This shows that you are learning consistently.
- Content Needs to Fit Blog Focus: The stock header photo, which appears to be taken from a museum, does not relate to the blog’s content focus. Stay on topic with all content.
3. Just Another Day at the Office…
This blog boasts the subtitle “A Network Engineer in the Trenches.” No word other than “brilliant” describes the design, navigation, and focus of this tech blog. Although subtle with a brownish background, the blog’s subtitle quickly defines the website’s scope.
On the right side navigation bar there are only two choices; Home and “Who Writes this Stuff and Why?”. The blog is clear, specific, and easily readable. Observe the archive on the right sidebar and see that blog posts are published at least once a month. Scroll down further and navigate by category and even subscribe via email to the blog.
After reading the about me section you will see that Amy holds credentials and significant experience. This presentation creates trust in her expertise. Plus, she clearly states what she intends to write about. This blog is a mix of personal work experiences as a Network Engineer who “encounter[s] in [her] new role which covers not just voice, but route/switch, wireless, and security as well.”
Lessons to Takeaway:
- State your experience, credentials, and scope.
- Write about what you know and what happens to you. Your work experiences, when told from your personal informal perspective, are far more interesting than you realize.
- As seen in previous blog examples, keep it simple for the design, layout, and navigation.
4. The Lone Sysadmin
Bob Planker’s blog “The Lone Sysadmin” expresses a wild west flavor to system administration. He kept the blog design stupid simple. Other than for the logo, no images or visuals are employed. Navigation is easy to handle. Go to the About Me section and you’ll quickly identify the blog’s content scope when he states he’s a “virtualization architect, system administrator, storage administrator, network administrator, end user, project manager, and developer.”
Stick around, perhaps subscribe via email to the blog on the left sidebar, and perhaps you’ll learn a lot from this tech blogger. With “25 years of working in IT” you should certainly pay attention and read the blog.
Lessons to Takeaway:
- Reinforces and reiterates good qualities the blog shares with others such as a simple design, clear content scope, description of skills and experience.
- Add your own personality. Even though the lone ranger references may seem corny at first, it fits perfectly. The name gives Bob Plankers personality, it stands out and gives him an edge otherwise not encountered unless you probably meet him in person. The name also exudes confidence. Such a name, self appointed or not, makes you think he’s very good at his job. Confidence is good when expressed in moderation.
Jeremy Stretch’s blog PacketLife displays his knowledge as Network Engineer. On the top right side below the site navigation, Mr. Stretch states his intentions for the blog which began as a “repository for Cisco certification study notes in 2008” and grew into a site that provides “free, quality, technical education to all Networkers”.
From the description you now understand the blogger’s background and the content scope. In contrast to the previous bloggers, he provides cheat sheets, a toolbox, and additional utilities for learning about networking.
Lessons to Takeaway:
- You never know where this blogging thing can take you. It could begin as a study guide or journal of work learning experiences and develop into an entirely new beast that not only serves your career, but provides resources and a place to collaborate for like-minded invididuals.
- Pay attention to the use of visual diagrams. The diagrams may prove highly effective if you’re trying to express yourself as a visual learner.
6. Eli the Computer Guy
I highlighted Eli the Computer Guy previously in “9 YouTube Channels to Learn Linux Online” as an excellent resource. For those of you not confident enough nor unwilling to write, use Eli as an exemplary model for video blogging. He speaks on technical matters and addresses a wide variety of related topics for IT professionals. He turned this blogging habit into a reliable and highly successful career.
When observing his website you may notice the design is simple, no images are used, he employes a smart sidebar with only three call-to-action items (Pay Eli, Search, and Subscribe to Our Newsletter). Every action item is visible without scrolling. On the individual blog pages you have the option of watching the video, selecting recent posts, and reading about the author. His blog bio states his experience and interests in technology. Therefore his credentials are evident on every blog post. There’s no need for an About me section.
Pay attention to the number of blog comments. All of the bloggers on this list receive a fair number of comments. People enjoy reading their content, they feel obligated to engage. This engagement demonstrates their relatability to other technology professionals and overall readers interested in their content. Therefore they talk about things not only pertinent to their work experiences and personal life, but relevant to others in their field.
Lessons to Takeaway:
- Video blogging is a valid option. There’s no one way to blog.
- Be yourself and become more relatable to readers and even Hiring Managers. When intertwining work experiences and expertise with interests, you find common ground.