I spoke at Build Stuff 2019 in Lithuania and Ukraine about the importance of developers writing documentation.
Well-written instructions, informative comments throughout code, clearly scripted screencasts, and smart information architecture can take complex code and make it accessible to new developers. In the age of code sharing, this can be imperative to teaching the next generation of developers, passing along your code to successors, and help you better understand your own work.
When I was an engineer, helpful READMEs and other docs created by my colleagues were crucial to quick onboarding and coming back to old products. Now, as a full time technical writer, I rely on our engineers to be able to concisely explain how products work. From these experiences, I feel it is essential that everyone feel empowered to write documentation, not just the technical writers.
In this talk we’ll discuss:
- Why writing docs is important for engineers
- Understanding your audience
- Optimizing for the deliverable: READMEs, code comments, help center docs, and marketing materials
We’ll also cover some tips for communicating about your past work to your future self.