14. On Writing

A programmer must be able not only to write code, but to write any text.

The skill of high-quality, clear, intelligible writing is as important as the skill of programming. A programmer who writes clearly begins to think clearly themself.

A programmer who can write well is able to communicate effectively with their colleagues and create really useful and necessary documentation. They are able to convey their thoughts and ideas and clearly express their point of view. When communicating with a programmer who can write, there is no need to guess what they mean.

Task reports and task design, comments during code reviews, guidelines for new team members, instructions for launching a project and other texts should be nice and easy to digest. They should spark interest and provide information at its best.

There are three mandatory components to developing a writing skill:

  • Studying the literature on how to write texts. “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser is a must-read;
  • Careful reading of texts by other people;
  • Constantly writing and rewriting their own texts.