Developer – How To Market Yourself as a Software Developer

“Everybody wants to make money and build a successful environment around and it is a universal truth my friend”, John mentioned to me while we were talking on Skype earlier this year.

Conversation: John and Pinal

John is the founder of simpleprogrammer.com and a very close friend of mine. We discuss pretty much anything and everything. He is from USA and I am from India, so our conversation usually starts either in the morning or evening, but it keeps on running for hours, thanks to our family who allows us to do this crazy long but productive talk.

When John said he has discovered how famous software developers make so much money, I found it very intriguing. I know John for many years, he does not do cheesy talk or say things without substance. I was wondering what would John do.

What would John do?

John had two options 1) He keeps this secret with him forever or 2) Tell his secret to the world. If you know John, you can easily guess that he is not going to keep quiet about it. He is going to make it public and make it universally accessible to the world. It is very similar to the publishing the books like Alchemist or The Secret or any other similar books. The author of those books does not keep the secret of success to themselves only. They share and make the secret a true instrument in people’s life.

As expected, John built a fine program of “How to Market Yourself as a Software Developer”. This is indeed a very interesting program as it is not a video, book, tutorial or any exercise file. It is the matter of the fact everything. John has not restricted the success story to a simple medium. He has let the story build around a concept and has not limited the potential of the program.

What did I do to help John?

Nothing. We all have nothing to do to help John. This is not about John or Simple Programmer. It is about a program which tells and shares secrets of How to Market Yourself as a Software Developer. We all are a software developer and we all are successful in our own field. When I say We – this also includes YOU too. Think about it, are not you successful in what you do? You absolutely are. We all have done something right in our past or present. We all have secrets which are not shared with the world.

Just like that, John has compiled his own success story with many other’s success stories and build this program. I think it is a story build with the experience of the many real software developer who has achieved something in their life.

What NEXT?

Join the program. I am sure there are plenty of things which you know, I should know to be more efficient and successful. Similarly, there are plenty of things other knows, but you need to learn to be more successful in your career. Why not learn it from each other. I will be interested to know your thoughts about how can I be more successful.

Secret Code

If you want to join the program. Here is the secret code I have got from John. You can go to the link http://simpleprogrammer.com/market to join the program. The program cost USD 299 however, when you use secret code sqlauthority, you will get a discount of USD 100 (that is 33% to the MRP).  You will have instantly access to the entire package immediately as well as 30 Day Money Back Guarantee.

What are you waiting for?

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

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Developer – Best Practices for Daily Stand-Up or Daily Scrum – Rules and Regulations

Scrum is an Agile Software Development system which helps developers to get the project done in
reasonable time and with superior quality. I have previously written about this many years ago. Well, recently I have been part of the stand-up meetings and it has been indeed fun to be part of the Stand-up meetings. No one is perfect and there are always new members joining in the organization. Additionally though basics of the Scrum stand up are the same across everywhere there are always few small details which are different from one organization to another organization. Here are few of the rules of the Stand-Up meetings. You can adopt them to your organization needs.

The Goal of Stand-ups

The most crucial points which everyone should keep on focus is that Stand-Ups are communication vehicle for team members. It is not a status update meeting to managers or a meeting to resolve any issue right there. The stand-up meeting should facilitate the communication among team member and anticipate potential challenges well in advance.

Three Questions

Most of the stand-ups usually answers following three questions. I have seen few stand-up meeting few more questions but essentially following three questions are the most crucial question any stand-up should have.

  1. What did I accomplish yesterday?
  2. What will I do today?
  3. What obstacles are impeding my progress?

Stand-up Attendees

All team members are (mostly) required for the Stand-up meetings. Stand-up are usually essential for any organization and there should be no excuse to skip the stand-up. However, due to any reason if any of the team member is not able to attend, the stand-up should continue as planned. One of the key reasons for the Stand-up meeting is to have a transparent conversation among team members. Right after the stand-up team member usually come together to solve the issues discussed in the stand-up.

Time, Duration and Location of Stand-up

Stand-up enforces discipline and organizations in team. Here are three of the most important logistic components for any stand-up meeting.

Duration

The stand-up meetings are usually time boxed to 5 to 15 minutes. I personally prefer 10 minutes stand-up but this can vary from team to team. We call these meetings Standup because we want to keep on reminding everybody that the meetings has to be short and precise. In no condition the meetings should go over the precise time. If there is reason for meetings to go over precise time, it is a good idea to move that conversation to separate meeting time after the standup.

Time

The time of the Stand-up is usually fixed every day. It is a good idea to have met every day right before everyone starts working. For example, if your team starts working at 8, the ideal time of the stand-up will be 8:15. The fix time also gives the sense of predicitibility and forces everybody to remain disciplined. At the times when the world is flat and people are working round the clock and across the globe collaborating with a different team, the time of the stand-up is often moved to an afternoon or even before the end of the day. Whatever, time works for your organization but make sure that always starts at the same time every day.

Location

This is going to be very interesting. There is no right answer for this question. In earlier times when the entire office used to sit together at the same premises they all use to have a stand-up meeting in one specific place. However, in the modern times, there are few team members who are working from home and few are deployed at remote locations. There are always chances that team members are traveling. I believe it is always a good idea to have a meeting using online collobaration tools. I personally prefer Skype Premium but many organizations have their own way of connecting across the teams. If you keep a regular policy to use online collaboration tool, it will additionally build discipline in team members to attend meetings from anywhere they are.

Speaking Order

There is no clear order in which team members should start. Actually, as there is no order defined for Stand-up, there should no order enforced. Scrum Leader should have a very simple algorithm for order of the talking in the session. The algorithm can be as simple as the last one to arrive in meeting goes first or the person who is sitting left goes first or any one person who is willing to start. Once the first person completes, right after that the person who is sitting next to him/her start. Order of Talking technically have no significance in the Stand-up meeting hence very least amount of the time should be spent over it.

Primary Responsibility of Meeting Leader

The goal of the Stand-up meeting is to identify all the near future possible road blocks early on hand work with the team together to resolve them. Scrum Master or Meeting Leader should start working to resolve all the road blocks team members are facing right after the meeting. If there were any topics during the meeting which was marked as “let us meet later on” the meeting should be also planned during the day.

Basic Courtesy Rules

  • Do not interrupt another speaker while he/she is talking. If you do not understand any words or statement ask for clarification but there should be no back and forth communication.
  • If attendees are consistently coming in late or missing meetings, there should be some kind of penalty over them.
  • Standing up in the Stand-up meetings is not usually mandatory but it is a good idea to stand up if a few of the members are standing up in the meeting.
  • Turn off Mobile phones and collaboration tools while in meeting.
  • Do not keep on watching somewhere else (Computer Monitor, watch or mobile) while someone else is talking.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

Blogging Best Practices – Checklist for Building Successful Blog – Part 6

Abstract of my Pluralsight Course Building a Successful Blog Module – Checklist for Building Successful Blog.

I hope everyone has learned a little or a lot with me through this whole course.  Even if you are already a professional blogger, my hope is that everyone could learn something.  I love blogging and the point of this course was to make it accessible to more people – because I believe that it is something everyone would enjoy.

If you’re excited about starting a blog, here is a checklist for things to do to get one started.

  • RSS Feed or Email Subscription
  • Easy Navigation
  • Search Function in Blog
  • Integration with Social Media
  • Easy to Read Design
  • Traffic Analytics Tool
  • Legal Disclosures (Copyright, Trademark)
  • Social Media Integration
  • Intriguing Title
  • Interesting Lead in Story
  • Section (Header Tags) and Subsections
  • Precise Summary and Call to Action
  • Bullet Lists
  • Blog Length between 500-700
  • Inclusion of Image
  • Links to Earlier Relevant Blog Posts
  • Grammar and Spellings
  • Category and Tags

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, or have more questions about a particular topic, try out my course on Pluralsight, where I go into topics in much more depth!

If you’re still curious about blogs and blogging, check out my course on Pluralsight!

Reference:  Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)

Blogging Best Practices – Frequently Asked Questions – Part 5

Abstract of my Pluralsight Course Building a Successful Blog Module – Frequently Asked Questions.

If you have been following this blog series about starting and maintaining a blog, you might be excited to go start blogging right now.  But if you have a few more questions, let me get them out of the way right now with some Frequently Asked Questions. Here are few of the questions which I discuss over here.

Should I start Blogging?

Of course!  It’s fun, easy (if you love what you do, it will be easy), it is rewarding, and you could even earn money.

What if I get bored?

One of the biggest problems with starting a blog is losing interest after a few weeks, never posting, and slowly your blog disappears into obscurity.  Here are some ways to always feel fresh at blogging: change up your schedule.  If you find yourself getting bored, try writing at different times of the day, or even sitting at a different desk.

Some people burn out because their set their expectations too high.  If you think you’ll be able to post multiple posts every day, and write extra posts so you’ll always have a queue, you’ll probably lose interesting in working so hard and stop altogether.  Set a goal for yourself: one post a day, or one post a week with one extra as buffer.  Make a to-do list and cross off things as you accomplish them – even small victories will feel like big motivators.

How much do I need to spend?

You don’t need to spend any money if you don’t want to!  There are so many free blog hosts that spending any money on a venture you’re not sure you’ll like is a waste.  However, if you feel very passionate about your subject, invest $10 in a domain name so that you’ll have the best head start on internet stardom possible.  If you don’t want to invest any, or if you’re saving your money – spend what you can afford, even if it’s $0.

What do I write?

So you’ve started a blog and now you want to know what to write.  I’m afraid you might have done things a little backward – it is best to choose a topic for your blog, and THEN start the blog.  If it’s too late for that – try not to overthink it.  Write about whatever you want, it’s YOUR blog.  Don’t stress too much about making that first post perfect – you should write about five or ten posts and post them all at once, so no one is going to go back to your first post and think “pffft, what a silly idea!”

He are few of the question which I discuss in depth in the Pluralsight course.

  • How long should it take to write a post?
  • What if I get bored?
  • How much do I need to spend?
  • What do I write?
  • The name I wanted is taken. Now what?
  • Someone is stealing my posts! Help!
  • How long should my posts be?
  • Should I be on a writing schedule?
  • Will I have more readers the more often I post?
  • How can I promote my blog?
  • How many visitors am I getting? Am I popular yet?
  • What is SEO? Should I be worried about it?
  • Can I switch blog hosts? What if I want to switch later?

There are so many more questions out there, I know.

If you’re still curious about blogs and blogging, check out my course on Pluralsight!

Reference:  Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)

Blogging Best Practices – Blogging Rules, Ethics and Etiquette – Part 4

Abstract of my Pluralsight Course Building a Successful Blog Module – Blogging Rules, Ethics and Etiquette.

To have a successful blog, your posts should be interesting, you probably would like to have a large audience, and you want to provide quality content to the subject.  However, to be truly successful, you also ought to follow a few ethical rules, as well – your blog might be popular, but if you are just plagiarizing from a less well-known source, your success is not honestly won, and not truly your own.

Legal Issues

One of the biggest issues that bloggers ought to keep in mind is copyright law.  It can be very easy when blogging to get excited about an article, idea, or photo, and immediately post a glowing review of it to your blog – only to get in trouble when the author or owner stumbles across it.  Shouldn’t they be happy with your free advertisement?  Shouldn’t they appreciate the business you are sending your way?  Unfortunately, discriminating between a blogger who is trying to help and one who is trying to pass off this cool new information as their own can be difficult to determine.  If you want to post something someone else created – text, photos, videos, music – CITE YOUR SOURCES!  Provide links, and ask permission – they may be able to provide a copy of that photo you love, but with their personal watermark.

Right now it might be feeling like posting anything on your blog can be a dangerous proposition.  How can anyone post a picture on their blog without getting sued?  This problem has a flip side – freelance photographers will also have trouble getting their work out there.  That is where Creative Commons stepped in.  It is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing licenses and legal protections to artists’ work – any element, which includes designs, photographs, logos, you name it.  There are six different kinds of licenses, and they protect and restrict in different ways.  There are now hundreds of websites that provide Creative Commons images for free or a small fee, and they do the legal footwork for the bloggers.  Everyone wins!

Privacy

User privacy is a huge issue.  With the abundance of spam and spammers out there on the internet, all users are rightfully careful about protecting their private information.  Gathering private information about your readers without their knowledge is strictly prohibited, and you could be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  Spreading or, worse, selling information given to you willingly – such as a form filled out to become a commenter – without the commenter’s knowledge or permission, is also strictly illegal.  Even if you are gathering e-mail addresses from readers to send out a weekly newsletter, please be sure to provide an opt-in or opt-out box, so that there is no question of whether your readers were spammed by you or received a desired e-mail from you.

Ethics and Etiquette

This is my favorite subject and there are so many to discuss. There are many does and don’ts to do for blogging. Online behavior of any person represents a lot about them. There are other rules to keep in mind while blogging, especially my “grandma rule”. It will be not possible to write about everything which I discuss in the course over here so I suggest you head over to Pluralsight course and read them in detail.

If you’re still curious about blogs and blogging, check out my course on Pluralsight!

Reference:  Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)

Blogging Best Practices – Writing an Interesting Blog – Part 3

Abstract of my Pluralsight Course Building a Successful Blog Module – Writing an Interesting Blog.

Getting Started

Is writing an interesting blog so simple that I can just TELL you how to do it right now?  Almost!  I’m sure you started your blog because you had something you felt you had to write about.  But now you’ve created the site and are staring at a blank page that represents all the millions of different directions you can go with this new idea.  Just remember as you write – if you wanted to write about it, there are certainly a few people who want to read it.  Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Write what you would want to read.  You started this blog because you probably felt that there was something more you could personally add the subject, or that wasn’t being addressed.  There is surely a subject that gets you really hot under the collar (in a good way or a bad way).  This will always make an exciting blog post.  It’s something you wanted to read about and couldn’t find – so write about that!

Create a picture in your mind of who you think is reading your blog – or who you’re like to read your blog.  You can even come up with a cast of characters who you think would be interested.  Each one will be different and have different interests – and then you can write posts to these imaginary readers.  The larger the cast, the more ideas who will be able to generate.

Writing an Interesting Post

Some of the best orators start out with a story, and then link back to the original topic in a unique or interesting way.  This captures the audience’s attention at the very beginning, and then they are along for the whole ride.  Here is how to capture this same magic in your blog posts.

Ask a question at the very beginning.  Here is an example: how can you write the most amazing blog post of all time?  Well, this question certainly is leading the readers to think they are about to find out!  Don’t overuse this technique, it can seem hackneyed and old, but used in the right context it can be very effective.

Here are two tricks of many I discuss in my course.

Start with action – A lone blogger, in front of a flickering computer screen, with an unknown fate – to prevail in the face of writing a blog post, or to crumble under the pressure.  This is obviously a little bit too melodramatic for an average blog post, but you get the idea.

Paint a Picture – I don’t mean literally, of course.  But if you can paint a picture with words: the dark night sky was sprinkled with tiny stars, but I knew I could see dawn on the dusky horizon.  Very soon, my blog post would be due.  Long descriptions may not work for the average technical blog, but there are certainly ways to work them in.

If you are really stuck and are staring at a blank screen because you can’t think of a catchy intro, just start writing and worry about it later.  You can even write your last paragraph, and work backwards from there.  Eventually you will get into the swing of writing and the introduction will come naturally.

Make Your Blog Scannable

A scannable blog is a readable blog.  It does not mean that readers will stop by, scan for 15 seconds and leave – it means that readers will stop by, scan for 15 seconds, easily find a topic of interest, and stay – maybe becoming permanent readers!  You have to remember – people tend to read blogs in-between doing other things.  Blogs have to be quick and easy to read so that they can get back to work, minding their children, or cooking dinner.  Having an easily scannable blog will make your blog more likely to become a popular stopping place for readers.  So what makes a blog scannable? Well, that is the secret I talk about in my course.

In my course on Pluralsight, I also include information about writing a post from beginning to end, and overcoming the biggest of all bloggers fears: blogger’s block.

If you’re still curious about blogs and blogging, check out my course on Pluralsight!

Reference:  Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)

Blogging Best Practices – Getting Started with Blogging – Part 2

Abstract of my Pluralsight Course Building a Successful Blog Module – Getting Started with Blogging.

Choosing a Blog Host

If you’ve recently decided to start blogging, the very first thing you have to decide on is which hosting service to use.  There are many blog hosts: Blogger, WordPress, Typepad, to name just a few.  With so many options, how can you choose?

There are a few criteria to keep in mind when choosing a blog host. What is the purpose of this blog?  If it a personal website, you don’t need anything too technical or one that is uniquely designed for you.  However, if you are starting a blog for a business, you will want to make your blog look unique and stand out from the crowd – and you don’t want to run into trademark issues later.

Customizability and technical abilities are also something to think about.  If you want your blog to have the perfect shade of blue and a special font, you will want a blog host with those options – but if you don’t feel comfortable coding in HTML, make sure your blog host takes care of those technical details for you!  Your budget will play into these considerations.  Many blog hosts are completely free – but these are often the kind of “cookie cutter” blogs that all look identical.  If you want something tailored to you, you can expect a monthly fee.

Choosing a Domain Name

Choosing a domain name is no easy task.  Some people might say its the hardest part of starting a blog or website (and I do not recommend thinking up a name and then choosing what to blog about).  However, if the millions upon billions of websites already on the internet are any indication, you will be able to think of a domain name.  Here are some general rules to stick with:

Use keywords.  Search engines use keywords to find your site and bring it up during searches.  These keywords are generally found in the content of your site – but these search programs check your domain name, too!  Use a “.com” address at all costs.  If your only option with a certain name is to choose .net or .biz, scrap the name and start over.  These suffixes scream “I don’t know what I’m doing!”

Make it easy for your readers to find you again – make your domain name obvious.  It should be easy to spell, because 90% of individuals are terrible spellers, and avoid unnecessary additions at all costs.  These additions include “z” instead of “s”, hyphens (cool-website-look-here.com is terrible!), numbers instead of letters (especially the letter 0, which is easily confused with “o”), and slang or purposely misspelled words.

Design Elements

Lets talk about the real details of blog design.

As I mentioned, a dark background and light font almost never looks good.  Start off with basic colors at first, and then branch out.  A good rule of thumb is that your blog should have no more than three colors, and they should blend well together.  A white background, black text, and a bright color for headlines, titles, etc will look very nice and can easily be customized down the road.

Be just as careful when choosing a font.  When you’re designing your blog, the thought of using Times New Roman or Arial might seem so boring you just want to scream.  But those fonts are universal for a reason – they are easy to read.  If your font is so unique that it is distracting, your content is not what people will remember.  Unless you are writing a blog about funny fonts, stick with something simple.

Be sure to leave a decent amount of space between posts, or add a divider between posts so that readers won’t get confused.  This kind of ritual will actually make readers feel more comfortable – it is a steady, comforting presence.  Menus and links will help keep your blog organized and navigable.  They can reassure readers that your blog has a strong history of posts, and is not just another newcomer that will be here today but gone tomorrow.

Well, there are few more interesting tips as well, which I have discussed in depth in my Pluralsight Course.

Comments – Yea or Nay?

Most blog hosts allow commenting on individual posts or the blog as a whole.  Some will also provide the option to allow comments at all.  If you have ever stumbled into a nasty blog fight, it might give you pause to allow this kind of risk on your own blog, but there are so many benefits to allowing comments.  First of all, it allows you to build a community of like-minded individuals.  Commenters will interact with your material as well as each other.

Of course, the downside of comments is the spam.  It can be mean commenters, people trying to stir up trouble, or just your average spammer trying to get their links clicked.  Because spam is such a widespread problem, any blog host that allows comments will also have a way to deal with the spam.  It can mean screening all comments, or simply keeping on top of comments and deleting the spam.

If you’re still curious about blogs and blogging, check out my course on Pluralsight!

Reference:  Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)