While at work I try to speak with our CTO regularly and we try to figure out where to move next. This time he came up with something where I wasn’t sure if I would want that: Start writing more.

He came up with that great quote from Urs Hölze:

Writing is a highly underestimated skill for engineers.

I thought about that and now believe that this is very true.

Think about it, especially once your career moved on for a bit and you start spending more and more time away from the IDE writing code. What you probably still do very often is writing. You might stop writing code. But at the same time, you start writing all kinds of other documents. Be that process definition, documentation for new hires, you name it.

So you will never get rid of writing in an engineering career.

Some companies even formed some sort of cult around the habit of writing. Most famous is probably Amazon where every meeting requires a ton of text to be written before you even can call in a meeting. And while this might be overkill for most of us, the general idea is still great.

Once someone has written down an idea for a new tool, a new process, a new strategy to tackle a problem. You can be very sure that at least one person in the company has thought things through. It also allows other colleagues to catch up on the discussion and join it. That is without everything having to be explained in a meeting again, where all other people get bored during that explanation phase because they already know it.

Since good writing, like all things, needs practice: Here I am, writing more.

Let’s see where this will lead.