There are so many things we, programmers, want to try out, experience and play around with every day. It is so tempting to start a new project with new technology just because we believe it is cool. Does it really bring much value? How to get a hands-on experience in a rather short time frame without putting your work in danger?
There is actually, a solution. Reserve some time for yourself and pick the task. Make sure, the task is valuable, small and achievable. In one word — just use SMART. That’s basically it. This way you definitely will get the desired result and spend a fixed amount of time without any risks.
At XING every engineer is able to dedicate 2 weeks per year to work on his own idea. We call such time — Hackweeks. I used that opportunity recently to try out 4 programming languages that I wanted to put my hands on for quite some time. I came up with the idea of a small console app and spend some time each day implementing that software using a particular programming language. By the end of the week, I had 4 repositories with the same app but written in Go, Dart, Elixir and Rust. I liked Go, but this is another story 😉