Most programmers do not enjoy writing documentation. But did you know writing documentation can be good for your career?
Here are my top reasons why:
- You show management you want others to understand – you don’t want to hold others back or hold the company to ransom because you are the only one who knows that code. An old IBM addage: if you find a critical person, sack them. (They are an empire builder rather than someone helping the company become better.)
- When new projects come up, it’s easiest to redirect your work immediately if you keep the documentation up to date.
- It is easier to rotate between teams as your work can be taken over by others more easily. Rotations (if not too frequent) can be helpful to get a broader understanding of the company, and bring more knowledge of other teams to each new position you join. You don’t want to move too often however (!). People start to ask questions if that happens.
- It requires discipline to write good documentation, which superiors like.
- You can go on holidays and have others who have material available to support the system without out you.
- It encourages you to practice thinking at a higher, more strategic level.
So are you a developer but want to get ahead? Consider writing the product documentation for the code or system you just built!
(The image is from a slideshare presentation on writing Free Open Source documentation here.)