As developers, a lot of the work we do is actually communicating. Our job is to understand and solve problems, and we can only do that if we communicate effectively with clients, users, stakeholders etc. And since writing makes you a better communicator, practicing writing will make you better at your job.
You'll also need to be a good communicator to even land a job (or other opportunities like freelancing) in the first place. Unless you're the best developer in the world, you need to convince someone to hire you. And you do that through selling yourself (which is also communicating).
There's also just a lot of similarities between the writing and development process. If you think about it, developing on a project / feature generally has the same flow as writing an article. Let me explain:
Firstly, you plan and outline what you're actually going to work on. Kinda like the skeleton of your project / writing piece. You choose the tech / topic to work with, and jot down some initial thoughts. Just headlines and bullet points.
Then, you move to the production phase. This is where you just code (or write) to get everything working. It doesn't need to be perfect, and it doesn't need to be pretty. You just need to produce something based on your outline. Get to a working state.
The next step is the cleanup. This is where you refactor and improve your code readability, just like how you edit a piece of writing. You remove the fluff and polish the result to make sure everything is clear and does what it's supposed to.
And then you ship it. It's easy to get stuck in permanent feature creep or editing, but that's not how you produce the best results (or improve your own skills). You ship what you have and then iterate from there. Let the feedback from others guide you to improve the result.
Especially if you're new to coding, I think practicing this process through writing is an incredible exercise - and will directly affect how you approach coding problems too. AND you get to improve the essential communication skills all devs need. Sounds like a win/win to me!
I'm Mads Brodt — a developer, author, teacher, creator and blogger. To keep up with all of my writing, follow me on Twitter or sign up with your email above 👆