If you work in tech, or even if it's a hobby for you, you'll understand that it's an ever-changing field with an endless amount to learn, regardless of your specialization. When you're trying to acquire knowledge in this dynamic space, it can be challenging to retain what you've learned or even gauge whether you're truly absorbing new information. So, how can you confirm your learning and solidify your understanding?
One effective strategy is to self-host a website and blog about your tech adventures. Blogging about my learning experiences has been a practice I've followed since my student days when I was studying for my IT degree. Back then, I was unsure why this was emphasized so much, but now I completely grasp its value. Learning about a concept might give you a momentary feeling of comprehension, but when you write a blog post as if you're explaining it to someone else, it truly validates your understanding. It's hard to articulate something in detail if you don't truly grasp it.
Here's my approach to learning: I dive into a topic, and if I'm working solo, I write a blog post or create a video explaining what I've learned. Often, I reach a point where I realize I don't understand something well enough to proceed. I then go back, relearn, and continue with my blog or video until it's complete. Even when I'm learning from someone else in person, I still blog about it afterward. Additionally, I explain the concept back to them in my own words to ensure that I'm not just hearing but genuinely understanding what's being taught. The key is to find methods that cement your knowledge and provide opportunities for feedback. Blogging, for instance, opens the door to constructive criticism, allowing you to keep learning and growing.
So, you now understand my reasoning for a blog, but why self-host it? Why not just use a provided service instead?
This is really up to you, but when you self-host a website, you gain some real-world experience of maintaining a web application. Now, you have users visiting your website, data to protect, and a need to learn how to maintain these applications, back them up, and restore if needed. Self-hosting provides valuable knowledge and room for learning compared to just paying someone for the service.
I also made a video about this, so check it out below.