By Nathan L. Walls


As software engineers, we spend more time reading than we do writing. Immediately, we probably think of this as reading code, and, true, that is an essential element of the job. We are also writing. Sometimes code, but often we are writing to others and ourselves about code or the structures surrounding code. We are writing documentation, writing commit messages to convey the contents of a change set, feedback on code reviews, Slack messages regarding emergent situations or inquiries from other parts of the company. We write to lobby our peers and leadership for time and license to refactor production code, pursue research and development of new approaches. We write tickets, feature requests, bug reports, forum messages, and so on.

I suspect we spend far less time thinking about the words we write than our code. But, just as experimenting and practicing with code, frameworks, testing, etc. leads to improvements in technical skill and ability, so to will investing in becoming a better writer yield compounding benefits for the parts of your job around the code you write.