The Importance of Personal Projects

javila35 profile image Joe Avila ・2 min read

I am in week 9 of a 15 week coding course. The past two months have been a flurry of labs, assignments, and feelings. The strongest of those feelings is incompetence, or that I am unqualified to complete an assignment.

Just last night I was sitting in imposter syndrome. I had no idea how to move forward on a group project. I needed the help of my teammates. Not being able to move on alone, I felt not as capable or qualified my colleagues. Plenty of programmers face those irrational feeling. There are lots of articles on that topic.

One way I overcome that feeling is to reflect on what I have accomplished in my short time as a programmer. Assignments are a good measure of how much I have progressed, but personal projects provide a much more tangible feeling. They are creations of my imagination that served my needs.

The projects I've taken on are small, and really serve no purpose for the world. But in the moment they gave me a toy to practice with, break, and ultimately gain experience that would serve me down the line. I'll give a few examples I've worked on since starting this bootcamp.

My Personal Projects

100 Days of Code

This is not a technical project, and I did not come up with the idea. It has still given me a great reference to measure my learning. If you are new to code, or taking on a long term project I would suggest starting your own 100 day project.

Ruby Inheritance

This was my first personal project in school. There was a lecture in Ruby specific inheritance. Students that were further along in my program mentioned the importance of inheritance for programming. I'm glad I left a detailed ReadMe for this. I committed this project Feb 5, and writing this a month and a half later I wouldn't remember how it works without reading through that.

COVID-19 Analytics

This is my most recent project I've undertaken. It is just a website that uses ExpDev07 - CoronaVirusAPI to display information numerical data about COVID-19. With the wealth of information (true and false) being spread online, I wanted a place to look at just the numbers of cases. This project is currently in development. It only shows the numbers parsed from the API, but I plan to add more graphical information.

Again, these do not serve a purpose for the general public and they really don't have much functionality. At the times I created them, they gave me a valuable tool to play around with. Now looking back, I can show myself what I used to struggle with and now comfortably use on a regular basis. Plus there's the added bonus of having a few things to put on my portfolio once I'm looking for work. Whether these projects are portfolio worthy is a different discussion.

Feel free to drop some of your own personal projects, or ideas in the comments.

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Joe Avila


Full stack software engineer working for Collinear Group.


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