Recently I attended the 2020 Wireless LAN Professionals Conference (WLPC) in Phoenix. Wireless veteran, Keith Parsons, created a conference for people who love Wi-Fi and since 2014, fourteen WLPC sessions have been held in the USA and Europe. WLPC is a vendor neutral conference that is focused on sharing knowledge, resources, and building relationships. I try to attend every February in Phoenix; And I also try to attend the European version of the conference every October. I meet smart Wi-Fi people and always learn something new.
This year, I was lucky enough to close the conference with a speaking session about “Writing to Enhance your Networking Career.” Over twenty years ago, I had a peer suggest to me that the best way to advance a career within a Silicon Valley networking company was to author technical white papers. I was self-employed back then, but I took his advice and wrote a few Wi-Fi white papers and uploaded them to public repositories on the Internet. I was then approached by Cognio, a spectrum analysis company, as well as Fluke Networks, to pen a few white papers as a third-party author. Eventually, I was approached by Sybex Publishing to author a certification study guide for the Certified Wireless Networking Administrator exam. My co-author, David Westcott, and I have since written multiple books including five editions of the CWNA book shown in Figure 1.
As authors, we have been humbled by the tens of thousands of individuals who have purchased the CWNA Study Guide to assist in their pursuit of the CWNA certification. We are also humbled that many universities and colleges have selected the book as part of their curriculum for wireless technology classes. We also discovered that about 80% of the people who purchase the book use it as a reference guide in the workplace and not just as a study guide.
But the main point of my WLPC presentation is that you do not have to write an over-sized book to advance your networking career. If you start writing blogs, white papers or create other educational content in the form of podcast or videos, I promise you that good career karma will come your way. The three main points of my presentation were that you should hone their writing skills to:
I certainly do not expect everyone to try and write a book, but anyone can write a technical blog. Just sit down and write a few paragraphs about something you are passionate about. Writing requires you to think and very often research a topic. You will learn from writing. Putting thoughts down on paper forces you to both think and learn. You will also begin creating reference material for yourself and others. Ask any prolific blogger, and they will tell you that a Google search by the blogger, often provides a technical answer that they wrote previously.
“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest” – Benjamin Franklin
Sharing the knowledge is important. Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States, once said, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” Sharing the knowledge has brought me nothing but good Karma. It has done wonders for my personal career. In our travels, we have met and become friends with many of our readers. We have also had many people tell us that the book has helped them advance in their Wi-Fi careers. Once again, we are very humbled. Sharing knowledge benefits everyone involved.
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” – Ernest Hemmingway
The Wi-Fi community that attends WLPC has already produced numerous technical blogs that I have read and learned from. My challenge to everyone who is reading this blog, is to get out there and start writing your own technical blog. Ernest Hemmingway once wrote, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”In other words, just start writing!
If you have 30 free minutes, watch the YouTube video of my WLPC 2020 presentation about technical writing. I even share a few fun writing tricks and tips.