Code is your content.
Should you create content?
I had this intriguing conversation with Varun Mayya some time ago. It was based on whether engineers, especially early career professionals or students, should invest time in content creation. The discussion went in multiple directions. Think of this newsletter issue as a comprehensive gist of my thoughts around it.
Learn the skill first.
Consider a 1st year engineering student who has just started learning how to code. Within a week, he puts out a YouTube video titled "5 things every programmer should do." I think we are pretty clear that he is not a programmer yet. Moreover, he spends a decent amount of his time creating those videos rather than investing it in learning coding better. Unless you are in the top 1% of creators, you do not get money anyway. And let's say, he gets a job offer from a startup based on that video by some lucky chance. He then replies to the job offer that he does not really know coding and is still learning himself, or that he is a content creator, not a coder. Imagine what the company would think of him.
I would tell the kid to invest in the skill, rather than creating content every day. Think 10 months ahead, think about what are you getting out of either of the two exercises - actually learning coding and making videos on coding - and then decide what will benefit you in the long run.
Pure content creators
There's a reason why our parents push us towards engineering and medicine and away from arts, specifically content creation. It's because the failure rate in those fields is much lower. Pure content creators monetize just the content. They can fit into any role. But the sad reality is that the average content creator hardly makes any money.
Content creation is a lottery. You may win or lose. But you cannot bet your life on a lottery.
There is an inherent safety in the roles of engineers and doctors. And with experience, they get more valuable. On the other hand, content creators have a comparatively shorter life cycle, and they have to redefine themselves more than often. The harsh truth is that engineers and doctors are solutions to problems, whereas content creators are nice to have, but not necessary.
Side hustle to full time
I think I should mention it again at this point (before you come attacking me from all sides) that this issue pertains to students and engineers. As an engineer, the basis of your content should be your work. It should be your code. Write an article about a project that you made, how the idea came to your mind, how did you build it, what problems you came across, etc. Your code is your content. Get really good at it. Let content be your secondary skill and code your primary. Start with content creation as a side hustle, and if you think you have reached a certain level where you can pay your bills just by content creation, go for it full-time. If there's one thing I am sure about, it is that content opens doors for you only when you are excellent with your primary skillset.
Your side of the story.
What do you think of this subject at hand? I would love to hear your views. Drop them in the comments below and let's see if your ideas can change mine.