I decided to start this blog after reading some articles on specialization over at Simple Programmer. He argues that you need to pick a specialization within software development to be truly successful. After reading those articles, I decided that I would check out his free blogging course, which helps you to setup a blog related to your chosen specialization.
From what I understand, the course is comprised of 7 lessons that are emailed to you individually on Mondays and Thursdays. Writing this article is one of the exercises required for lesson 5, so I have not yet completed all of the lessons. However, I have seen enough to form an opinion.
The thing that I like most about this course is that John Sonmez provides very concrete action items to complete with each lesson. Many software development related courses and books that I have experienced are excellent up to a point. I am one of those people that really needs to learn by doing, and that is where I feel like a lot of these resources fall flat. They don’t provide meaningful exercises to make the lessons real. The Simple Programmer blogging course does an outstanding job of this. Not only does it provide these concrete exercises, but the end result is that you will have your own functioning specialization blog when you are finished.
Another thing that I enjoy about the course is the format, whereby one lesson is mailed to you every few days. A new lesson gave me something additional to look forward to on my Mondays and Thursdays. Additionally, pacing each lesson gives your brain some time to chew on the previous lesson.
Are there any negatives to the course? It is hard to complain about a course that is free and that motivates you to accomplish something real. If I had to pin down one negative, it could be that the constant promotion of a paid workbook for the course could wear on some people. However, I do have to give Sonmez credit for such clever marketing strategies. In the end, this could actually be a benefit, as some of his tricks could easily be used by a student in marketing their own future products. In that way, this course is a bit of a two for one bargain (blogging and marketing, and at a free price).
How could the course be improved? I’m not sure how long the course has been available, but I’m guessing that it’s been around long enough to provide some real world examples of blogs that resulted from this course. Sonmez provides a lot of motivational material, but what could be even more motivational than examples of graduates whose blogs have seen success?
I hear a lot of people say that you get what you pay for. However, considering that the Simple Programmer blogging course is free, you get a lot more than you pay for here. If you’re a software developer and you haven’t chosen a specialization or started a blog yet, I would recommend that you give the course a try. You have little to lose, and seemingly much to gain.