Welcome back! We’re here to introduce you to one of our authors, Marjan Venema. Marjan has over 30 years of experience in software requirements, analysis, development, and support for the business planning, analytics, and financial and manufacturing industries.
Her specialty is writing comprehensive engaging content that makes complicated and complex topics easy to understand and consume. She writes straightforward language in a conversational style and illustrates abstract topics with concrete examples. And she’s full of great advice for bloggers and software developers. Read what she has to say below!
HS: Tell me a little bit about your background and how you started in the tech industry.
Marjan: It was more serendipitous than I’d like to admit. I’d done my apprenticeship and was in my final year at nautical college. Also technical, by the way, but much more than that. Three months in, I realized I was going to get bored onboard once I got the practical side down.
My brother was working on programming coffee machines and cash registers at the time, and I figured I could do that too. After all, at nautical college, we’d had electronics and BASIC programming on an HP3000 with those teletype printer terminals. Three months later, I was the first in my class to have a job waiting for me after graduation.
HS: When and why did you start writing for Hit Subscribe?
Marjan: February of this year.
HS: How do you see writing? As a hobby, side-hustle, or passion?
Marjan: I’ve always loved writing. As a kid, I wrote stories—mostly about women living alone with a horse and a dog. After a burnout in the nineties, I tried to make conference proceedings and ghostwriting my profession. I stopped because I wasn’t good at it, and I didn’t like the acquisition.
HS: What advice do you have for those just starting out in the tech world?
Marjan: Answer questions. On paper (physical or digital). It will help you become an expert at anything quickly. Also, don’t give in to the pressure to specialize. Especially not if you’re broadly interested or even shudder the slightest at the thought of having to do the same thing for any length of time. Flexibility and adaptability, including the ability to pick up new knowledge and skills, are what’s important and what will get you the more interesting jobs. Also, you’ll be able to talk with people from other disciplines far easier than anyone that has specialized themselves into an ivory tower.
HS: What advice do you have for software developers looking to improve their writing skills?
Marjan: Read, read, read. Not the technical stuff. Stories. Fiction or fact-based. Posts from established writers, tech or otherwise, that are skilled in engaging their audience. You’ll recognize the ones you need to pay attention to by feeling unable to tear yourself away from the next sentence. Soak it up. It will start to seep into your writing.
And, of course, write, write, write. Nothing beats practice to develop a skill. Half an hour every day, for example. Journaling, writing a paragraph or three for a post you’re working on, or even stream of consciousness writing. Anything.
Work with an editor that helps you improve structure and flow. I’d much rather read a well-constructed post full of typos than one that is perfect in spelling and grammar but is all over the place with the points it’s making.
HS: Why do you think it is important for software developers to improve their writing skills?
Marjan: Nowadays, communication, persuasion, and other soft-skills are much more important than they were. Developers no longer work as individuals. Writing, and improving your writing skills, will help you become a better communicator and team player. It will help you construct your arguments for someone other than yourself. And done right, it will help you step in their shoes so you can become more persuasive, and thus, more effective.
Thanks to Marjan for allowing us to feature her on the blog today! If you’re interested in having her write for your tech blog, you know where to find us.