Software development is the second profession I’ve had that started out as a hobby. I used to be a sound engineer and that began with a love of music and volunteer work at a not-for-profit venue. Once I started working behind the mixing console I quickly begun reading anything I could get my hands on that was related to sound engineering and it became a real interest and eventually my full time job.
Software development has been much the same. I’ve coded for most of my life and it was an obvious choice once I started looking for a job where I wouldn’t have to work nights and weekends. It also continues to interest me in the same way that audio once did. The thing is, however, that doing something full time five days a week has a tendency to make you not want to do it when you don’t have to. This is of course not a unique observation but then again, you are reading this on a developer blog who’s first post is about the technical setup of the blog.
Lately I’ve been thinking about what I can do to bring some joy back into learning new things. One common mistake that I’ve made in the past is that I haven’t been hands on enough. I tend to read up on things and wait for too long before putting it to practice. Another is that I often end up with projects that are too big. I end up thinking about features and writing boilerplate using up all the time that I have available. I also tend to bring too many technologies that are new to me into my projects, adding to the feeling that I get stuck in writing boilerplate since even the basic setup of every part of the project is new and time consuming.
I know that I’m not alone in this and looking at what other people have come up with it does seem that keeping scopes small is key. Another thing for me is that I want to build things that are actually useful in some way. With this in mind the approach that I’m going to try is keeping a list of small tools I miss in day to day work and whenever I feel like starting a new hobby project to learn something new I’ll implement one of them. Hopefully 2023 will be the year of completed projects.