We all have so many half-baked projects that we don't want to go back to. Still, we have unicorn ideas that we can't wait to start. In turning that unicorns to donkeys we all become developers.
But how do you stay motivated in creating those donkeys? Well here are some of my opinions and learnings.
Whether half-baked or full, learn the skills of baking
Side projects are for learning at your own pace.
Most of my programming experience comes from my side projects. I learnt multiprocessing and process queues in python when I thought about gifting my friend a mosaic image. Even though it was a bummer, later it helped me at my workplace. Similarly, I touched on so many things (unfinished) just to learn something new.
What makes learning at workplace different from side projects is working at your own pace. And personally I feel more confident about my knowledge when I learn it in my own way. Most of you might agree on this one, so if you like learning at your own pace, start a new side project around what you want to learn.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for
No matter how small your side project is, sometimes it helps you or someone else at the right time. Whether it's 10 lines automation script, or 1000 lines of code, when time comes, you appreciate yourself. This may not always happen, but keeping your projects code accessible will help you in solving the problems that you already solved once.
So while starting a new project, just make sure you keep the code accessible. May be push it to a private repository, or make a new secret gist.
Keep the ideas coming
Ideas are so powerful, they start small and when given enough thoughts and time, they can solve real world problems.
All side projects starts with some idea. Whether it's useful or not, unique or copied, dumb or smart, but there will always be some idea that you try to implement. Many times one idea lead to another, whether its small improvements or your unique signature, it helps you in exploring many things. With time and exploration, you'll understand if an idea is worth spending your time. Every idea you understand, will help you with some new ideas and solutions. Remember, at the end of the day, it's your ideas that solves the problem and not the number of languages/libraries/frameworks you know.
So, keep pushing your brain to process more ideas, and to generate more ideas.
These are just my opinions on what I learned through many of my side projects. Comment down below your experience and learnings :).
Top comments (10)
If you're not motivated about your side projects, you're doing the wrong side projects ... ;)
This thing started out as a "side project". Today it's a fully fledged company, with funding, and with a (small but super motivated) team - But before it became a company, I was the largest contributor to GitHub by an order of +60% up from the second largest contributor to GitHub in the island of Cyprus (7,500+ commits, and yes they're real commits)
If you have to ask that question, you need to find other side projects to work on ... :/
I agree 100% with you. I learned almost all of my web development just by doing side projects. I never took a udemy course or any bootcamps. Losing motivation is just a human tendency. Even though I lose motivation, I enjoy the time and learnings, and the excitement of learning something new.
Great to hear about aista tool and your contributions. Just like aista, I'm too waiting for some "side project" to become something I can call it mine. Thanks for introducing aista tool. :)
It is about DRIVE, it's about POWER...
So true, I really enjoy to have the power of changing everything in a side project. When you work in a team all day and need to communicate alot it really strains you sometimes. In addition you often not get the most exciting tasks.
A wise man once said: "If you don't reposition yourself, you could miss the best time in your life..."
This is definitely too wise for me because I cannot bring it into relation with my post hahaa ✌️🙂
It is too deep. You have to dig enough.
One of the best things I've done regarding side-projects is to adopt Emacs as my editor.
Why? Because Org Mode, an Emacs package, provides super useful TODO management. And Emacs itself is super extensible. And when I invest in "doing things to my Emacs" I invariably improve my entire toolchain for doing work.
So my "side-projects" have become introspective in regards to the work I do. One example is that each week, I write a report for each project that I'm "leading". That report has a template. I wrote a function to more easily use that template.
I did something similar when I develop pywin-contextmenu python package out of boredom. Now I use it to simplify many common operations i do at my workplace by adding them to contextmenu, so everything is just a right click away.
If you can turn your side project into a PaaS or SaaS that will motivate you to complete it.