The Simple Programmer and the Quest to Market Oneself

Marketing is a dirty word in the tech industry.

We developers can be a proud bunch. We tend to believe–despite all evidence to the contrary–that the best idea should and always win. It can be frustrating to communicate this dissonance to my fellow developers, particularly when the truth of the matter is so obvious to me. So what’s a young developer to do? Give up and resign themselves to the status quo? Or maybe–just maybe–they should try to attack the problem in another way. Maybe they should demonstrate the importance of self promotion to their fellow devs by reaping its benefits firsthand. In the end that’s the path I chose.

Enter John Sonmez of the SimpleProgrammer.

I’ve never actually met John in person. Instead I heard his name while I was getting ready to submit an audition for the PluralSight series. After speaking with PluralSight Editor, Stephanie Evans, and exploring the PluralSight website his name came up:

I asked, “Hey Steph, who’s this guy with a million courses?”

She slowly smiled. “Oh him? That’s John Sonmez. …He’s actually a millionaire.”

My jaw dropped. ‘A millionaire dev who isn’t working for any member of the Big 4?’ I thought to myself. But how?

After doggishly stalking John’s blog for days it quickly became apparent why he was able to reach the level that he’s at. When the man isn’t coding and keeping up with technology he’s making use of all his non-work hours to promote himself and his business.

And he doesn’t just promote for himself, he teaches other devs how to reach the milestones that he’s reached. He does it through his website and through his free email series. I love this. Most successful people tend to hide how they’ve achieved success behind a series of paywalls and smoke and mirrors.

And that’s what I love about John. He doesn’t hide all the information he’s aggregated behind some sort of paywall (although he does have a training series that he sells). One can still reap a wealth’s worth of knowledge from the free content that is all available on the SimpleProgrammer. Truth be told I will purchase his books anyways because I’ve already benefited from the free material he has posted on his website.

I took his free email series on blogging and have already implemented many of his suggestions. I am now blogging once a week (and more when I get the chance). I’ve narrowed my focus to mobile development with a sprinkle of soft skills. I have a schedule of topics I’ll be writing on for the next few months.

For those of you who hesitate to write a blog because of fear for lack of topics, let me assure you from personal experience that this is the least of your worries. Once I sat down and decided on what I wanted to write I quickly realized I had too many things to write about and the actual battle would be finding time and remaining consistent. Something John comments on as well, coincidently.

Just implementing the few steps above has increased traffic to my site dramatically. I went from only about a few views a month to 300. In just one month!

I know, I know. You’re thinking, ‘I’m not some poser Kacheflowe. I care about my tech skills. How does blogging help me?’ To you I say, look at those developers most prolific and most well known in your community. Would you say that these developers lack the technical chops to tackle the problems we devs encounter everyday? Of course not! More often then not these are the same people you reference when trying out a new technology. So blogging consistently can increase your technical proficiency and credibility.

That’s all for now. I implore you to check out John’s site and think more about promoting yourself as a developer. This stuff matters.

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