Cover image for DevDiscuss Episode 5: How Hobbies Like Powerlifting, Auto Repair, and Music Can Make You a Better Developer
The DEV Team

DevDiscuss Episode 5: How Hobbies Like Powerlifting, Auto Repair, and Music Can Make You a Better Developer

jess profile image Jess Lee (she/her) ・3 min read

On this week’s episode of DevDiscuss, we tackle the importance of feeding your hobbies that seemingly aren’t related to software development. Cooking, sculpting, candle-making, reading novels -- they all contribute to your overall happiness and make you a better developer anyway!

We were joined by two very well-rounded humans and developers: Milecia McGregor (@flippedcoding ), Senior UI Engineer at Mediavine and author of the DEV post, Why It's Important To Have Hobbies Outside Of Tech, and Kayla Sween (@kaylasween ), User Experience Engineer at Dogly, and author of the post, Powerlifting Has Made Me a Better Developer.

It’s no coincidence that both Milecia and Kayla are so well equipped to speak on this subject: they are both involved in the side of tech that directly and obviously affects human beings: UI and UX, respectively! As human beings, we naturally are drawn to a variety of subjects, and many UI/UX engineers have spent time cultivating these myriad interests -- which, in turn, makes them better at building software people like to use.

One thing we touch on in this episode that I think is important to highlight here, too: cultivating your hobbies should be the goal in and of itself; for enjoyment, relaxation, and creative stimulation. The benefits to your career are important and great, but if that’s the motivator in everything you do, burnout will happen. In addition to Milecia and Kayla’s writings on hobbies, writer Jaya Saxena also summed it up in a New York Times “Smarter Living” article like this: “It’s time to divest hobbies from productivity. Their value lies in more than their relationship to work. Yes, studies have shown that having a hobby can make you more productive at work, but hobbies can also remind you that work isn’t everything.”

In this episode, Ben, Milecia, Kayla, and I discuss:

  • How our career paths have changed due to shifting priorities
  • Specific hobbies that have either directly or indirectly helped our developer careers
  • The pressures within tech that can diminish our energy and humanity without life balance
  • How our mindset shifted for the better once we cultivated our pastimes

… and much more!

Check out Episode 5 of DevDiscuss: How Hobbies Like Powerlifting, Auto Repair, and Music Can Make You a Better Developer today. If you enjoy it, please consider leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts. We’ll mail you a small thank you gift if you send us a screenshot of your review by June 30! All you have to do is fill out this form.

Quick Listening Links

Huge thanks to @levisharpe for producing & mixing the show, and @peter and @saronyitbarek for their editorial oversight.

Thank you to our Season 1 sponsors who help make this show possible. If you're in the market for any of their services, please check out DigitalOcean, Heroku, CommerceJS, and Fastly.

The DEV Team

The team behind this very platform. 😄


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Having not heard the Podcast yet I can't speak to any specifics but I played and taught drums for about 14 years. I picked up drums way faster than I have developing. I see a ton of cross over in the learning process of web dev and music but have yet to be like "oh yes, this piece of playing drums has directly or indirectly helped me become a better developer!".

The one area music helped me a lot in the work space was dealing with different personalities and peoples life situations. Also working with much younger and much older musicians gave me a different perspective on life in general. Interested to hear if music has helped anyone become a better dev and how!


I think that drumming relates well to programming. Marching drums in particular. Being able to play one drum means that you can learn another, but not that you know how to play it already.


I write poetry. I used to compose electronic music.

They exercise similar paths to coding. The combination of parts, in time, to produce an effect.

Like each other, there are many ways to get the same results, but you recognise the good ones when you see them.


I enjoy drawing, writing and welding. Also 3d animation, but that's on computer. 🤓