HS: Tell me a little bit about your background and how you started in the tech industry.
I started in the tech industry many years ago, and somewhat by accident. I had been pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering at Michigan Tech University but realized that I wasn’t that interested in my coursework or future employment options. Once I realized that I should make a switch, I changed majors to business administration simply because I could still graduate with that degree in a reasonable timeframe. Unfortunately, I felt a bit lost in B.A. as well and struggled to find a concentration that I enjoyed. But then I recalled how much I had enjoyed my Fortran class (yes, I’m old!) while still in M.E. and decided to concentrate in information systems.
Nearing graduation, one of my lecturers was able to get me an internship as a Java developer at an insurance company. That was a bit rough since I didn’t actually know Java. However, with that start, I was able to secure a job after graduation that provided additional training and onboarding that set me on the path to 18 years of software engineering.
HS: When and why did you start writing for Hit Subscribe?
I began writing for HS in June of 2018. Having previously worked with Erik, I followed him on social media and knew that he had created this company for software developers to share their knowledge. I thought this would be a great way to help other devs and managers by providing quality content. And of course, I thought that getting my name out could help me with future job prospects!
Although HS always interested me, I didn’t take the plunge until Mark Henke, another author, mentioned how much he was getting out of writing for HS. So thanks to both Erik and Mark for getting me started!
HS: How do you see writing? As a hobby, side-hustle, or passion?
All of the above? It’s definitely become a hobby. I enjoy writing, though I tend to procrastinate with my personal writing projects. HS helps by imposing deadlines for articles that I won’t miss. And though I see HS as a side-hustle, it’s not one that requires much risk, so it’s perfect for people like me that want to explore side work without going at it alone. And finally, I’ve always been passionate about writing. I have a few books, both technical and fiction, that I’ve started writing. I’m also passionate about helping others learn new skills and grow in their careers.
HS: How has your writing changed since you started writing for Hit Subscribe?
I’ve grown as a writer considerably. Most notably, I’ve finally been able to use more active tense instead of passive. Unfortunately, I now find myself critiquing blogs that I previously read for their excessive use of passive verbs. If anyone starts writing for HS, they should know they’ll never be able to read other blogs the same way again!
HS: What advice do you have for those just starting out in the tech world?
Learn from others, be open to criticism, and go into everything assuming good intentions from most others in the industry.
HS: What advice do you have for software developers looking to improve their writing skills?
Start writing. Anytime you learn how to do something or research new technology, write about it. Not only will your writing improve, but you might also help others understand concepts better. And finally, use tools like Yoast, Grammarly, and Hemmingway App to find areas where you can improve.
HS: Why do you think it is important for software developers to improve their writing skills?
Good communication is critical to building the right software for the right opportunity. Without it, you might waste time building the wrong thing. Additionally, new opportunities present themselves more often when you’re able to clearly articulate messages to upper management. Writing skills definitely get you ahead.
Thanks to Sylvia 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. Or if you’re an author and want to enjoy some of the same benefits of writing that Sylvia has, apply to be one of our writers!