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Bob Bass
Bob Bass

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Project NextApp (beta) needs some testers

I built a platform that I think can be very useful for people to learn new technologies. To be honest, I built it for myself because I couldn't find it anywhere else.

I have a theory that the best way to learn new technologies is by building a small project with it with no real expectations. It also helps when there's a community to consult with.

2 years ago, I never thought I would be a professional developer. I started dabbling with software for my business and realized that I enjoyed it much more than I enjoyed owning a call center. I started building small projects and it was a very effective learning tool that greatly exceeded anything that tutorials did for me.

I joined a startup accelerator to try to make a career out of my software. Now I'm at a crossroads where my software that I've been building long-term is getting really boring but I have a long waiting list and I can't abandon it. To prevent burnout, I've been looking for small weekly hackathons. Since I've been unable to find this. I created it.

ProjectNext.app is a community built around learning new technologies with small projects. Let's say that I want to learn to publish an NPM package. maybe I want to set myself a goal of one week to publish an NPM package that initializes TypeScript inside of a legacy Vue.js app. I can set that as a vague goal and set it to 1 week.
Over the course of that week, it might turn out that instead - I want to build an NPM package with a small standard library of functions that I always seem to be writing. I might modify the project to be a two-week project and update the goal.
The Monday following the project completion date will have a community zoom call hosted where I get to present what I built, what I learned, and what I plan on doing next. Other people from the community can share their thoughts with me and maybe point me in the right direction if they see that I'm stuck on a concept. Maybe, during the call I share that my next project is going to be a GoLang REST API, and user123, also on the zoom call happens to be a go enthusiast. They might want to comment on a really good udemy class that they took and recommend.

Meanwhile, you're building up a profile that will track which technologies you learn over time. It's possible that in the future I can use this platform to generate resumes. I would like for this platform to be incredibly friendly to beginners but also I wanted to be a rewarding experience for all of us developers who are constantly building side projects and learning new technologies.

Learning new technologies is 50% of the "mission" while the other 50% is helping developers find a spark for a long-term idea by providing a framework to iterate quickly and get feedback until they find something more permanent.

It integrates with GitHub so there's a lot of room for a lot of cool features down the line.

ProjectNext.app was its own first submission. It was a proof of concept. I wanted to see if I could build it in one week and learn some new technologies in the process. I did. I also went through a life-changing career change at 30 years old and I want to help other developers do the same. I'm very interested in mentoring some beginners and I think that this platform can help me scout out some beginner developers who might need that added little bit of direction.

The concept is very early on right now. I have a slack channel that is going to act as a hub for casual conversation until I build a community right into the website.
I have a handful of other developers who are also in the same accelerator as myself who are also willing to help beginners, while simultaneously interested in using this platform to hone their own skills.

A few features are missing right now. It doesn't yet have the ability to post and update. That functionality will be finished later this week. The same is true of following projects and creating teams.

I have had at least two companies express interest in sponsoring prizes for small hackathons. It's something I'm definitely going to explore a bit deeper.

I will share a proper release on here once all of the features are finished being implemented, but I would really love a few people to join early if only to help me replace some of the placeholder projects with real ones.

If you are a beginner and you're interested in this, I'm also happy to provide a little bit of mentorship to help you get going if you choose to join. I'm looking for a community feedback to help me figure out a direction to take this thing. It's not aimed at becoming a viable business model, I'm just creating a platform that I personally wish existed and have been unable to find so far.

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Please let me know your thoughts. Does this sound interesting? Are you interested in being an early tester? What turns you off from this idea? What excites you about it? This whole thing is very new. I also recorded the process of building the app from start to finish and I'm going to host that video so that it's embedded on the project page. If it goes over well, I'm going to make that a permanent feature so that others can do the same thing.

I'm looking forward to getting some feedback and helping some developers of all skill levels to level up their skills.

Does ProjectNext.app have a place in the 2021 developer ecosystem? You tell me!

Top comments (7)

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madhunimmo profile image
✨Nimmo✨

That sounds great actually

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716green profile image
Bob Bass Author

So happy to hear that! I invite you to join, and help us find our direction. I know that this platform should exist, I just need some feedback and enthusiastic devs.

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madhunimmo profile image
✨Nimmo✨

I would love to. Let me know how I can help. A little about my background: madhunimmo.github.io/

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716green profile image
Bob Bass Author

Super impressive! I'd love to hear about what you're studying. I bore my friends and family to death when I nerd out over technologies and languages. I'm genuinely interested to hear about your field of study and anything you're researching. I'm a 3obyesr old self taught CS dropout (I don't think I was mature enough for college at 19) and now I'm dying to go back and learn all of the low-level stuff that comes with a computer science curriculum.

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madhunimmo profile image
✨Nimmo✨

Its never too late you know.. Go for it.

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716green profile image
Bob Bass Author

I'm actually discussing this with a friend of mine right now. I'm building out a startup, completely separate from this app. An old high school buddy of mine is just now enrolling in college at 31. He's doing it because he wants to learn computer science. I want to do it because I'm self-taught and I feel like I've missed out on a lot.

You've been through a full computer science education, I know a lot of people have mixed feelings about it. I already have a pretty solid career path - I just don't know how to teach myself lower level concepts. For example, I haven't learned big o notation, I don't know much about how databases work behind the scenes, the lowest level language I know is either Go or C#.

I get the feeling that if I go back to school, I'll probably learn some of these low-level concepts that would never come up in my everyday life. Since I have a buddy who's going back to school, I could possibly enroll in some of the same classes as him. But it would also be time-consuming while I'm in the process of trying to launch a startup.

So my ultimate question for you is this - if a career was not part of the equation, referring only to the satisfaction that you feel from learning and understanding things - do you feel that it was worth it? I don't want to fork over thousands of dollars just to realize that it slowed down my business and I probably could have self taught if I just knew what to focus on.

Also, do you know when you're going to have some of your work posted? Are you working on a thesis right now? I'm not entirely sure about the PhD process but It looks like you're preparing to put up some research paper on the link you provided.

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madhunimmo profile image
✨Nimmo✨

If that is the case, i would say you can learn those concepts all by yourself as well in your free time rather than following the curriculum because considering how the education system is right now, it will only give you an overview and not depth of those matters.

Ya, we are working towards a submission, it us going to take a couple of months more. Thesis not yet, i am in the years of my phd, so this would be one the first research papers.

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