Many people, including me up until a year or so ago, believe that between the documentation, videos, blog posts and experts delivering sessions on specific tech, that there is no room or necessity for them to create content or teach.
This is simply not the case! So, in a world seemingly saturated with learning material, why should you bother creating more?
How often have you read a blog post, not really understood it, read a second blog post on the same subject written by someone else and understood it a lot more clearly? This is because not everyone teaches or learns the same. Adding your personal experiences, challenges, and solutions enrich the learning experience for others and that altered context may just be what they need to grasp a concept.
Ever Evolving Challenges
The field of data is dynamic, technologies and methodologies evolve rapidly. Producing new material allows you to address current issues, emerging trends, and specific nuances. It enables you to share innovative solutions, case studies, and best practices that might not be covered in existing, slightly older resources.
There may be a hundred different videos online all explaining the same topic, but how many of them are aimed at a specific audience? Creating the 101st may feel like regurgitating the same content, but what if it was pitched at a certain technical level, a specific business sector or other niche target audience? Suddenly there is value to that 101st video, even if only one person gains something from it, it’s worth the time and effort.
The data community is exactly that, a community, it works because of the interaction between people. Knowledge is passed on from person to person and as much as we learn from blog posts, videos, etc, sometimes some of the best little nuggets of information are picked up from the comment sections. Posting that thing you think has already been covered will bring it back around to being current, spark a conversation and potentially uncover a hidden gem.
Cement Your Own Knowledge
Often, the best way to confirm your own understanding of a concept is to talk it through, put it down on paper or teach it to someone else. Writing something you have recently learned into a blogpost is mutually beneficial to both you and your potential audience. It is never a waste of time.
Inspiring Future Content Creators
My final point is also the reason for this blog post. By contributing to the community, you not only ensure its growth and sustainability, but you inspire newcomers, they see new voices and ideas are welcome which is vitally important. If we all took the view to let someone else give the presentation, post the video or write the article, it would never get done.
Want to get involved?
There are many ways to get involved in the community.
Blogs are the quickest and easiest way as they require no presentation skills and there is no in-person audience watching, which can be daunting. You don’t necessarily need a website to start blogging either, social media platforms like LinkedIn are a great way to get started.
Then there is video content. Videos are a great way to learn and practice presentation skills without the pressure of doing anything live. You can iterate the process until you get that perfect take, and still get your message across (nobody is going to ask for your outtakes).
A step up from video content is virtual presentations. Local user groups (including our own Microsoft Data Platform Group – Birmingham | Meetup) are always looking for presenters to give sessions virtually, usually with an audience of around 50 attendees. This can be quite a step up due to the live interactivity but it still feels like presenting to a screen rather than a room full of real people. It is a great stepping stone into…
…in person talks. Whether it be in front of a few people you work with, a small 20-person user group or enormous conference rooms full of people like as SQL Bits and PASS Summit, there is nothing quite as rewarding as giving an in-person talk and interacting with actual people, other data professionals, that share the same interests. There are even programs such as New Stars Of Data that will provide a mentor to get you ready to present for the first time.
If you have ever given even the slightest thought to creating some form or content or passing on some knowledge, I highly recommend acting on it.