5 Ways to Use Obsidian as a Software Engineer

Yesterday, I wrote about why I think taking notes is the surprising foundation of a tester’s career.

But it’s not just testers. Every software engineer is a knowledge worker, and that means we get paid for what we know. Using a Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) system such as Obsidian.md helps us keep up with the constant barrage of new ideas in tech.

Here are 5 things I use Obsidian for.

#1: My very own Stack Overflow

If you code, you’ve used Stack Overflow.

What if you had your own Stack Overflow, one that contained cheat sheets of every language you’ve ever tried to hack something up in, including only commands relevant to your job? This is exactly what I’ve done for Python recently, and it’s helping me solidify my knowledge.

#2: Tools database

There’s a tool for everything.

To keep them straight, I have a page for every load testing tool I try, with tutorials for how to get started, an assessment of its features, and observations I had while attempting to learn it. Here’s what I have for the load testing tool k6.

Bonus: I also use the Dataview plugin to query tools that fit my criteria.

#3: An Agile workspace

If Agile is good enough for my professional work, it’s good enough for my personal work.

I use the Kanban plugin to keep track of projects, create weekly and monthly review/retro templates, and work iteratively using the Incremental Writing plugin.

#4: A public learning log

Learning in public is the fastest way to improve.

When I’m trying to figure something out, I document my attempts. With Obsidian Publish, I can quickly push this log out to my domain and share them with colleagues to get a quick review so that they can easily follow my train of thought and tell me where I went wrong.

#5: A digital garden of software ideas

Build libraries, not feeds.

I use Obsidian to save things I read/watch/listen to but also to save space for ideas I’ve learned to germinate. I publish notes before they’re fully fleshed out, with the goal of growing everything over time.

Today, I have 4,567 notes, all about things that matter to me.

Every engineer should have a PKM system.