Writing for Software Developers

Writing for Software Developers

In my first year of writing technical content for software engineers, I reached hundreds of thousands of readers around the world, met some of my role models, and made more money than I would have working a student job on campus. I wrote this book to help you use writing to achieve your goals.

Earn money, make connections, and get noticed.

The rates I earn from writing tutorials, usually $250 to $500 per article, add up. That isn't the only reason to write. A portfolio of published writing could help you earn a raise, land a new job, or reach new clients or customers for your business.

Practice a proven writing method.

There is no substitute for time spent writing. With intentional practice, you will become better at writing. What you practice, and how you do so, determines the rate of improvement.

Level up your skills, wherever you use them.

While this book focuses on teaching you how to envision, create, and publish mid-length technical tutorials and articles, the principles and practices developed will help you write anything from a short README to an entire technical book.

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Over 800 copies sold | Single Copy: $36 | Team License: $136

Josh W Comeau: "I've been reading @philip_kiely's “Writing for Software Developers” and it's SO GOOD. I'm only 70 pages in and I've already learned a ton."

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Featuring Interviews with...

Courtland Allen

Courtland Allen

Indie Hackers

Courtland Allen is the founder of Indie Hackers, an online community for people working on independent bootstrapped businesses, of which I am proud to count myself as a member. Indie Hackers, now owned by Stripe, has been a source of knowledge and inspiration to me throughout the process of writing this book. Allen has interviewed over five hundred founders for his site and podcast.

Jeff Atwood

Jeff Atwood

Discourse, Stack Overflow, Coding Horror

Jeff Atwood is the writer of Coding Horror (one of the internet's longest-running and most popular technical blogs), co-founder of Stack Overflow and the Stack Exchange network (one of the 100 highest-traffic sites in the United States), and co-founder of Discourse (a provider of open-source forum software aiming to improve the state of online communication).

Chris on Code

Chris on Code


Chris on Code started scotch.io with his childhood friend Nick Cerminara to publish articles and courses on front-end development. Under his care, the site grew to four million monthly page views and published over five hundred guest authors before he sold Scotch to Digital Ocean in late 2019. He joined the company as a web community manager.

Peter Cooper

Peter Cooper

Cooper Press

Peter Cooper runs Cooper Press, a publisher of a dozen email newsletters with a combined distribution of almost half a million developers at the time of writing. He reads countless technical articles in search of the best content to share with his subscribers.

Angel Guarisma

Angel Guarisma

Former Director of Content at Linode

Angel Guarisma eats, sleeps, and breathes documentation. At the time of our interview, he was the Director of Content at Linode, a cloud computing company with a major presence in the open source community. He now works as the Director of Product Education at Humio. At Linode, Guarisma led an in-house team of technical writers and editors and works with numerous freelancers to publish wide-ranging and comprehensive tutorials and documentation.

Matt Levine

Matt Levine

Money Stuff at Bloomberg

Matt Levine is a columnist at Bloomberg where he writes Money Stuff, an incredibly popular weekday newsletter on finance that is widely read in the tech sector. Previously, he wrote at Dealbreaker, and he has written for The Wall Street Journal, CNN.com, and NPR. While his substantial experience is entirely outside writing about software, his techniques and insights are applicable to the work we do.

Mark McGranaghan

Mark McGranaghan

Go by Example

Mark McGranaghan created Go by Example, a website for teaching the programming language Go. Go by Example drew attention for its two-column design and quality example code. Today, he works at Ink & Switch, a research lab that produces reports and spin-off companies in consumer software.

Patrick McKenzie

Patrick McKenzie

@patio11, Kalzumeus

Patrick McKenzie has been writing on his website, kalzumeus.com, since 2006. He has written over five hundred articles about lessons learned working on Bingo Card Creator, Appointment Reminder, and Starfighter, consulting for software companies on engineering and marketing, and most recently working on Atlas for Stripe. He is also the third highest-ranked user of all time by upvotes on Hacker News.

Tracy Osborn

Tracy Osborn

Hello Web Books

Tracy Osborn is a writer and conference speaker. She has published three books under the "Hello Web" series: Hello Web App, Hello Web App Intermediate Concepts, and Hello Web Design. She is a frequent speaker at numerous events, writes extensively on her personal website, and currently works at TinySeed.

Daniel Vassallo

Daniel Vassallo

The Good Parts of AWS

Daniel Vassallo worked at AWS for eight years. After quitting to work for himself, one of the first things he created was the self-published ebook The Good Parts of AWS, with Josh Pschorr. Thanks in large part to Vassallo's audience on Twitter, which he earned by sharing detailed insights into his work, the book sold thousands of copies in its first three months on the market, generating over $50,000 in revenue.

Cassidy Williams

Cassidy Williams

Former Speaker with React Training

Cassidy Williams has spent years working in developer evangelism, speaking at dozens of conferences, and writing technical content, including the Stack Overflow newsletter. At the time of the interview, she taught with React Training. She now works at Netlify. She publishes a weekly newsletter, rendezvous with cassidoo.

Free Chapter

Read Chapter 1, Finding and Validating Ideas, for free.

This chapter guides you through a process for generating article ideas and helps you determine which ideas are worth pursuing first.


Table of Contents

  • Prologue: Why Write Technical Content
  • 0: You and Your Guide

  • Act 1: The Craft
  • 1: Finding and Validating Ideas
  • 2: Publishers
  • 3: Research
  • 4: Preparing to Write
  • 5: Writing for Software Developers
  • 6: Editing
  • 7: Publishing

  • Act 2: The Process in Action
  • 8: Example Tutorial: Scraping and Generating Shakespearean Sonnets
  • 9: Example Tutorial: Practicing JavaScript with a Shakespearean Sonnet Generator
  • 10: Example Tutorial: Computational Poetry

  • Act 3: The Business of Writing
  • 11: Pricing
  • 12: Contracts and Invoicing
  • 13: Intellectual Property and Publication Rights
  • 14: Content Monetization
  • 15: Promoting Your Work
  • 16: Long-Term Engagements
Writing for Software Developers

Get Writing for Software Developers Today!

Over 800 copies sold | Single Copy: $36 | Team License: $136

Filippo Valsorda: "One thing doesn't seem right: I was prepared to spend 2–3x.... It just occurred to me that I could justifiably expense a team license, which makes its price ~criminally low."

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About the Author

Philip Kiely
Hi, I'm Philip Kiely

In Spring 2019, I started writing technical tutorials. After noticing my success publishing tens of thousands of words of technical content, friends and co-workers started asking me how they could do the same. Their interest inspired me to write this book.

I published Writing for Software Developers on May 12, 2020, six days before my virtual college graduation ceremony, where I received a B.A. with Honors in Computer Science from Grinnell College. I now live in Clive, Iowa. When I am not writing and programming, I practice martial arts, read widely, and further my love of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

For more about me, check out the rest of my website.

Clients I've Written For

Smashing Magazine Smashing Magazine

CSS Tricks





Is this book good for beginning writers?

Yes. Writing for Software Developers takes you through my process, one step at a time, and helps you create and publish your first article.

Is this book good for experienced writers?

Yes. If you have already written and published technical content, you will enjoy the nuances of the eleven expert interviews and extract key insights from the main text.

How much programming experience do you need to read this book?

Some, but not as much as you might think. I started writing technical content as a junior in college, less than two years after I started programming. Many of the code examples I used in articles were based on projects that I had worked on much earlier in my journey toward becoming a software engineer.

Is there a paper copy for sale anywhere?

If enough people express interest, I will figure out how to make one.

Is there an audiobook version?

Yes! Your purchase of Writing for Software Developers includes an audiobook version narrated by Griffin Mareske. The audiobook is 6 hours and 35 minutes long and does not include the appendices, images, or code snippets.

Can I share this book with my team?

If you purchase an individual license, please respect the license terms and do not distribute any copies. If you want to share the book with your team, company, or class, please purchase a team license. Academic and nonprofit organizations can contact me for fifty percent off a team license.

Is there a return policy?

I have a 30-day no-questions-asked refund policy. If you don't like it, let me know and I will refund your money.

What if I can't afford this book?

I priced this book as I did because it teaches valuable skills in a well-compensated industry. If you are unable to afford a copy of the book, send me an email and I can give you a free copy. I only ask that once you make money using the book, you use a portion of the proceeds to purchase a copy of this book.

What are some keywords you wish you could fit on this webpage?

Wow, thanks for asking! Writing for software engineers. Writing for programmers. Technical writing. How to write documentation.

What if I have another question?

Send me an email at philip@kiely.xyz.

Get Writing for Software Developers Today!

Over 800 copies sold | Single Copy: $36 | Team License: $136

Keller Scholl: "$36 is, in this case, absurdly cost-competitive, and I am buying it...the difference in income over a single year from writing well is massive."

Click Here to Buy Now on Gumroad
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Want to Learn More First?

Listen to "Episode 426: Philip Kiely on Writing for Software Developers" on Software Engineering Radio, hosted by Jeff Doolittle and produced by IEEE. We talk about "why software engineers should care about writing things other than code.... the elements of effective technical writing and technical writers.... [and] the reason for the book and the approach for writing it."