How Regular Blogging Improves My Programming Expertise

Learn how writing can be beneficial to your programming work

Yong Cui
Yong Cui
Mar 15, 2020 · 5 min read
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Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

I’ve been blogging on Medium, particularly the Better Programming publication, for about three months. Across the entire Medium platform, I have published over 40 articles, most of which are on programming-related topics, such as iOS development, Python, and data science.

Some of my articles are more received than my other pieces by getting more claps, and some of them just have about 100 views or so. However, the overall experience of blogging here has been gratifying.

Old dogs can’t learn new tricks — it’s been almost ten years since I got my terminal degree — I thought that I couldn’t study effectively anymore.

Quite surprisingly, this period where I’m blogging regularly has turned out to be a prime time for me because I have re-discovered myself — I can still learn and program as a 20-year-old undergraduate.

More specifically, I realize that drafting and publishing these technological articles has helped me improve my programming expertise.

Why am I saying this? There are two reasons.

1. You Have to Know the Content Well

Every programmer can probably appreciate that self-learning is a career-long critical component as technology nowadays is evolving rather rapidly, and we need to keep up with technological advancement.

Unfortunately, self-learning means that there are holes somewhere in one’s knowledge set.

Some people didn’t believe such knowledge holes, but when someone asked them about an in-depth explanation on a particular topic, they started to scratch their heads. Has this situation ever happened to you or some of your colleagues? Probably.

Blogging on programming and other technology topics is precisely the process of explaining things thoroughly in a transparent fashion.

The reason is simple — if you don’t understand it, you can’t write about it well, with the assumption that you want to be a responsible blogger who cares about the quality of their blogs.

When you publish a blog article, you’re showcasing your content knowledge on the specific topic of your article. You can’t pretend to own the content expertise on the subject, because you’ve got no place to hide behind as you’re the only actor on the stage.

As a blogger, you have to present the best show (i.e., your article) to your audience (i.e., your readers), which means that we bloggers have to prepare the presentation properly in the first place.

Take my recent blog on Python’s list comprehensions as an example.

List comprehension is an often-used feature in Python. However, many beginners don’t know to use it effectively.

In my work projects involving Python programming, I have accumulated considerable experience in using it in various scenarios, such as creating a list and replacing the map() function.

Thus, I thought that I would be able to share probably everything important about list comprehensions. However, when I started to write that article, I realized that I didn’t have an in-depth understanding of list comprehensions.

I did use them a lot in my coding, but I hadn’t studied its usage from a systematic perspective.

Thus, to make that article a quality blog, I had to read the pertinent official documentation as well as several online tutorials on list comprehensions.

In other words, I re-learned list comprehensions multiple times during the process of writing that blog, which allowed me to share the crucial aspects of its various usages comfortably.

By drafting that particular article, I now have a deeper understanding of list comprehensions.

2. You Get to Learn From Other Bloggers

Indeed, you don’t have to blog to learn from other bloggers, but being a blogger yourself, you can have a somewhat different mindset when you read others’ blog articles. Here are a few relevant points that you may consider.

Before I started to blog, how I read Medium articles was more or less like reading some news feeds — too casual to be meaningful.

I just let the information passively flow through my brain and didn’t care about the destination of these streams of information — most of the time, they ended up getting nowhere. I felt that I was staying outside of the articles.

However, since I started to blog, I have read articles with more concentration. I’m studying these articles, learning how the writers are presenting their thoughts, and analyzing how the writers may have developed their ideas behind the scene.

I was inside of the articles, which helps me learn a lot more, such as how to identify a topic and how to pick the right angle.

I didn’t bother to know how to use lambdas correctly in my Python coding, because the couple of ways I knew served all my work needs, which gave me little motivation of studying it thoroughly.

However, after I started to blog, when I read someone’s blog on discussing arrow functions in JavaScript, I started to think about why I couldn’t explore all the proper ways to use lambdas in Python and thus help other Python programmers.

Therefore, I did some research and wrote an article on common misuses of lambdas and their corresponding best practices.

I didn’t care too much about various programming topics that weren’t directly related to my work.

For example, I would probably have never done any research on 3D machine learning or use artificial intelligence to discover new antibiotics because neither has a direct relationship with my daily work in preventing and treating smoking.

However, after I started to blog, I paid attention to some trending topics in artificial intelligence in general, because these topics are relevant to a considerable amount of Python programmers — a group of peers who are reading my articles.

Thus, as a blogger, I feel obligated to know these trending topics on technology to keep my readers up to speed.


This three-month blogging period has been an excellent journal for me. I have learned a lot in the content areas that directly pertain to my work, but also, I have touched base on several topics that I could have never imagined working with.

Programmer folks, start blogging today, I bet you’ll like it.

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Thanks to Zack Shapiro

Yong Cui

Written by

Yong Cui

Work at the nexus of biomedicine, data science & mobile dev. Love to write on these technological topics. Follow me @ycui01 on Twitter to get latest articles.

Better Programming

Advice for programmers.

Yong Cui

Written by

Yong Cui

Work at the nexus of biomedicine, data science & mobile dev. Love to write on these technological topics. Follow me @ycui01 on Twitter to get latest articles.

Better Programming

Advice for programmers.

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