GitHub for Beginners

GitHub is a popular version control and collaboration. In my experience, learning GitHub can add tremendous value to your profile as a technical writer. GitHub enables you to contribute to open source projects and build your documentation profile. It also demonstrates your collaboration skills (working with developers and other team members),  knowledge about version control, and overall technological literacy and comfort.

Getting started with GitHub is fairly easy. Follow the official guide to create your own repository!

And watch this video:

 

 

Containers for beginners

Last week, we learned about cloud platforms. This week, let’s discuss the next step in the technological evolution: Containers.

Two of the popular containers are Docker and Kubernetes (an incredible open-source project):

 

Cloud platforms for beginners

In the last post, we learned about how the internet works. This week, let’s build on that knowledge to learn about cloud computing. But before that, we need to discuss data centers:

Next, we need to understand virtualization:

Now we can learn about cloud computing:

Finally, let’s learn about two popular cloud computing platforms: Amazon Web Services (AWS) and DigitalOcean:

 

 

 

 

Everyday Tech Jargon

In January, we focused on building our tech skillset:

Now that you have familiarized yourself with the basic architecture and programming of apps and websites, you might want to scale your app, host it on a cloud platform, and deploy it on a orchestration platforms such as containers. Sounds daunting? That’s because it is.

Yet that is what deeply-technical writers do at their everyday jobs. The technologically complex products that our companies develop do not work in isolation. These products are used in an even more technologically complex environment. And to document these products well, it is imperative to understand the ecosystem they are used in. For instance, to document CockroachDB, me and my fellow technical writers at Cockroach Labs need to learn how to deploy CockroachDB on AWS, Google Cloud, Azure, and how to use orchestration technologies such as Kubernetes and Docker. And we have to evolve our knowledge in parallel with the evolving technological landscape.

This can definitely seem daunting for a beginner tech writer, and rightly so. But the important thing to remember is you can never familiarize yourself with all the technology out there – no one can. What you can do, however, is become comfortable with the technology and its ever-evolving nature. In my experience, learning how to learn is the mandatory skill for a technologically-literate writer.

To that end, let’s familiarize ourselves with the common tech jargon that forms the everyday vernacular of developers. Understanding these technical concepts will help you to communicate better with the developers and take on technically challenging documentation projects with confidence. This month’s resources will discuss:

  • How does the internet work? (Scheduled for 02/09/2018)
  • Cloud computing for beginners (What is cloud computing? Introduction to AWS and DigitalOcean) (Scheduled for 02/16/2018)
  • Containers for beginners (What are containers? Introduction to Kubernetes) (Scheduled for 02/23/2018)

HTML for absolute beginners

In the previous post, I shared a resource for Python, which is an excellent language for server-side programming. This week, I want to share a resource for the web client-side programming. This week’s resource is HTML for absolute beginners. It is an hour-long video that shows you how to build a web page from scratch. I love that it’s so hands-on and builds up from the basics of HTML programming. Check out the video here:

 

Bonus tip: Learning HTML makes it very easy to learn authoring languages such as XML and Markdown.