Now that I finally have my own blog set up I’m going to tell you how and why I started one. I had a blog in the past, but it lacked a sense of direction and my posts were all over the place. Until recently I hadn’t figured out that I wanted to write about Software Development and Technology for other people and to share my journey up until this point. So, with that goal in mind I joined Twitter with a brand new account around February of 2020 and started to get involved with the other devs in the Twitterverse. It’s been a great experience so far and I’m excited to be a part of it. The community has been a great help in times where I find I’m struggling and I’ve already picked up a few new things I wouldn’t have learned had I not started.
Why I Started a Blog
Because of the chaos that COVID-19 has created (you thought you could escape hearing about it didn’t you?) over the last several months I’ve been working from home. With all of the uncertainty and job loss in our economy I worry about my own well-being and want to gain more control over my future. The most valuable thing I feel I have to offer the world is my knowledge and understanding of software development and my ability to share the path that took me there with other people. I feel that if I can be producing my own content and using my skills outside of my job then maybe some day that will lead me down a road I never expected, or never knew I needed.
I created a Twitter account and began posting about software development and tech topics and began following other people whose content I felt was really helpful. By doing this I felt like I was getting more involved and building an even greater appreciation for the career path I’ve chosen and thus a sense of control outside of just my job. I have also been searching for ways to tutor or teach other people about technology and have not succeeded in that search up until now. COVID, again, made it even more difficult to try and find places I could tutor at. So, I took to the internet where I could reach the whole world as an audience.
My desire to write a blog comes from knowing that the most effective way to learn something is to teach it. I don’t claim to be an expert, I’m just a young buck myself in the software industry. But, I feel that no matter what stage you’re at in the development world you’ve always got something to bring to the table that someone else might not know. I hope that I can gain a greater sense of control over my future, teach other’s and learn more about my profession as I continue to share my journey with the world.
How I Started My Blog
The site you’re on now has come a long way from the sites I started out creating. This one is hosted on Digital Ocean and is running on it’s own Cloud Server. My first site ever was hosted with what was at the time, a Quickbooks company I believe, and it then became Homestead. It was a drag-and-drop editor and there was only a little spot buried deep in the settings that you could add HTML snippets to. I think I was maybe 18 when I first started using this. I still remember reading the warning text next to the HTML input saying something like, “Warning, only experienced web developers should use this box. If you are unsure of what you are doing contact support.” I never added any HTML to those sites years ago, but it would be a small stepping stone to the place I’m at today.
My root site for NorthStarCode is just a template you can purchase from Theme Forest. I decided to use WordPress for the blog because it’s just easier. When I was just starting to learn code I wanted to make everything on my own. I was adamantly against using plugins and already made products. Then, as I learned that time is limited, I started relying on more tools. So, using WordPress is just a huge time-saver and helps me to not lose sleep at night. There are people out there creating plugins that I alone would never have time to maintain or keep secure. So, don’t be afraid to use what’s already there. If you want to start a blog too, then feel good starting with WordPress.
I now use Cloud hosting because that’s where I feel I have the most control. Shared hosting kind of freaks me out, and you’re dependent upon other people not jacking up their own sites to keep yours running fast and consistently. Root access is also needed for a lot of things I do and you’re almost never allowed to do that with Shared Hosting. My server of choice is almost always Ubuntu Linux and DigitalOcean (DO) is almost exclusively Linux. I also went with DigitalOcean because they have caps on their pricing. I used Azure for about 2 months and racked up a $240 bill. A very expensive lesson learned. Now I create a $5 “Droplet,” which is what a server instance is called with DO, and I’m off to the races. Their pricing is also extremely reasonable.
Here’s some great information on how to get started with Shared Hosting from Namecheap if you’re interested. I’ve used everything from GoDaddy and Inmotion Hosting for shared environments to DreamHost and Azure for VPS and cloud. I finally landed on Namecheap for domain hosting and all SSL and DNS type products. I just like their prices and that they don’t try to up-sell as much as GoDaddy.
I’m getting a little long-winded in my post so I’m going to wrap it up here. But, I hope that what you’ve read so far is useful and maybe you found something that can help you as well. I look forward to posting many more in-depth articles about software and technology and to learn even more along the way. Thank you to anyone who read this. It’s great to know just how many people are out there who you can share thoughts with and learn from in the tech industry.