Starting a blog has never been easier than it is now. There are many resources that allow you to create beautiful websites for free! There are so many benefits to owning a blog (and so few negatives) that I firmly believe that all engineering students should start a blog while they are in school. Here are some of my favourite reasons why.
01 | Become a better communicator
The habit of blogging helps us become better writers but also better communicators. Why? Sometimes, when we think about a concept we think we understand it. Then we try to explain that concept to someone else and find that we didn’t understand it as well as we thought. We can't think of the right words and realize the gaps in our own knowledge. However, when we write out our thoughts we are forced to structure our ideas and determine what we do and don't understand. The habit of structuring our ideas helps us become better communicators over time.
02 | Create an online portfolio
In an article published by Forbes, it was stated that 56% of hiring managers are impressed with candidates that have an online portfolio. However, I was shocked to read that ONLY 7% of job seekers actually have one! A blog can function as an online portfolio and dramatically increase your chances of getting hired. Online portfolios are like resumes on steroids. They allow us to highlight our best work and discuss it in a more creative and expressive way than a resume would. We can post pictures, and videos of our work and let the hiring managers experience it rather than simply read about it.
03 | Create a personal brand
Your personal brand is what people think of when they think of you (or what they see when they google you). By creating a blog, you get the advantage of curating what people see when they look you up. Do you want people to know you are a mechanical engineer with lots of experience in the automotive industry? Blog about the industry. Blog about cars, car design, or about your experience designing a car as a part of one of the clubs on your campus. Blogging will help you learn more about a topic, contribute to it, and eventually become an expert on it. Hiring managers will be impressed to see how involved you are in your industry and eventually see you as a thought leader.
04 | Grow your network
If you make your blog public (you don’t have to) you can connect with like minded people. You can grow a network within your niche. This could lead to making new friends, or gaining access to rare opportunities. If you read my “Does GPA Matter In Engineering” article, you have already seen the case studies I presented. For example, Francine Lee made a blog post that suggested redesigning the user experience of Dropbox photos. She then ended up getting a job there. As I said before, people with blogs are more likely to impress hiring managers and thus gain access to more job opportunities. If you ever start up a business within your niche, you will have the added advantage of already having a vast network.
05 | Develop the habit of discipline
If you dedicate yourself to blogging consistently, you will develop the habit of self-discipline. By self-discipline I mean the ability to do an activity independent of how you feel.
I seriously believe that self-discipline is the most important habit you can develop. Those who are self-disciplined will keep applying even when they get rejected. They go to the gym even when they don’t feel like it. They study even though they don’t want to. They are committed to the action, and not their feelings about performing the action.
06 | Serve the world. Teach. Learn.
Many of you are probably familiar with Blooms Taxonomy. Blooms Taxonomy is a scale that demonstrates how well one understands a concept.
The higher on the pyramid you are, the better you understand a topic. For example, those who can take the knowledge they have and CREATE something understand a concept better than someone who can remember facts about a concept. This is exactly what a teacher does. They create homework assignments, and tests for their students using their deep knowledge about a subject.
Serve the world by teaching people what you know and, in return, you will understand the material more deeply yourself. According to an article published on TIME, students who taught material to other students performed better than students who just learned the material for their own benefit.