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Oi, developer!This is a way to create a side project to get your attention

This article was originally published by Jurn van Wissen on .cult by Honeypot, Berlin-based community platform for developers. Follow Honeypot’s .cult for the latest updates. twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin,and YouTube..

One of the most undervalued things you can do in your career is to learn how to stand out.

If you want to find a new job, get a project as a freelancer, or increase your chances of promotion, you need to stand out. In all these cases, there are people on the other side who need to choose you, and for that reason they need to be aware of you and trust you to be the right person.

But how do you stand out?

Why are you a React developer who stands out in the crowd of React developers?

Many developers are heavily into open source software and believe that being a maintainer of popular libraries or having a GitHub profile with a consistent commit history will make it easier to hire.

The truth is that your resume is likely to be evaluated by recruiters, non-technical managers, or executive-level employees. No matter how great it is, it’s unlikely that you’ll spend a lot of time reviewing the latest pull requests.

Why every developer should have a side project

In addition to helping you stand out and showing your interests and skills, there are many other benefits to starting a side project.

  1. It prevents you from burning out: Whenever you want, you can choose your favorite language, tool, or framework and choose what you want to work with.
  2. It’s challenging: If you feel that your work is becoming more routine, you can choose how difficult it is to create your side project.
  3. This is a great networking tool. Side projects are a great way to interact with different communities and find people with similar interests.
  4. It’s educational: In your work, you spend most of your time applying your existing skills to new problems. Side projects allow you to step into multiple related skills that will help you later.
  5. There are no restrictions. You can choose deadlines, technologies to use, features to implement, and explore topics of interest. It’s entirely up to you.

How to find great side project ideas

Starting a new side project can be very overwhelming. How do you find a good idea to work on?

Looking back on everyday life

One of the best ways to find an idea to work on is to look back at your life and identify the problems you are facing and the frustrations you encounter repeatedly.

Focusing on your own problems can help you stay motivated while working on your side projects, knowing that you can make your life a little easier.

Example. As a freelance designer and front-end engineer, I sent screenshots to clients and colleagues multiple times a day. I wanted to send it as a nice looking mockup, but I didn’t want to spend time doing it many times a day.

I solved my problem by creating a tool that converts screenshots into automatically called browser mockups Awkward..The first week I launched it, it already had Over 31,000 users, And it has been a great lead generation tool for my freelance business for the past three years.

New trends

Technology is advancing rapidly, and some new technologies enable a whole new trend that will turn big companies. New hardware or software can also create new industries and niches overnight.

For example, pandemics and video calls that work from home are new common sense. AirPods have increased user interest in audio such as podcasts and audiobooks. 5G enables hosting bandwidth-intensive applications on mobile phones.

Another good example of this strategy came when Apple released iOS 14 last year. This update was the first time iOS users could customize their home screen with widgets and custom icons.

Designer James (@Traf) saw the opportunity and created an icon pack for iOS.He generated 100,000 sales in just 6 days Many media and prominent YouTubers like MKBHD talked about the ability to customize the home screen.

Jumping into new trends early also means that you are less likely to face fierce competition and are more likely to be noticed. Designers releasing new icon packs today are unlikely to be able to generate the sales that Traf made.

New technology

Many of the technologies we use are evolving and enabling new possibilities. For example, cloud providers no longer have to buy and manage their own servers. You only pay for a server that is strong enough to support your hardware-intensive tasks.

This means you don’t have to buy a rugged desktop system yourself just because you want to try machine learning and other hardware-intensive processes.

Have I been PwnedA tool for aggregating data breaches and seeing if they have been affected is an example of a project that started with this idea. The main reason was not to search for data breaches. This is because Troy Hunt wanted to play with Microsoft Azure. This is explained as follows: Conference talk.. He took advantage of the popularity of this project to gain more consulting work and speech engagement and sold multiple web security courses.

Keep an eye out for new technologies, tools, APIs, or frameworks that look exciting to see if you can find problems applying those new technologies.

Join the community you are interested in

When you hang out with like-minded people, you’ll quickly find common problems within that community.

Maybe you are trying to learn Japanese and found that many people are having a hard time learning the Japanese alphabet, so you build a website that will help make it easier. I will.

Maybe you are a coin collector and have a hard time tracking the coins you have and want to buy, so you create a website that makes it easier to track your collection

Patrick McKenzie discovered that many teachers used Bingo cards in their classes, but it was difficult to create.He made Bingo Card Creator, Bingo cards have become easier to create and the program has been sold to teachers. Generated up to $ 60,000 in annual revenue.

By blogging about side projects, he increased the audience and used it in his consulting work to launch new side projects and investment opportunities.

Remix the product you use

We all use a lot of software in our lives, but these tools rarely do what we want. This is also the starting point for new side projects.

Which software annoys you and how do you improve it? Are there any minor features that I think need to be incorporated into standalone products? Which software to use is very bloated and difficult to use, so I would like to create a simpler version.

Nathan Barry sold books and courses online, but found that the existing tools he used to send emails to viewers lacked features such as landing pages and email sequences. He built ConvertKit to make it easy to launch his courses and books and grow it into a business. Over $ 15 Million in Annual Revenue..

There is no perfect way to find ideas for side projects. Nor is there any guarantee of how successful it will be.

When evaluating side project ideas, don’t be too strict with yourself. You don’t have to be a multi-billion dollar company, and you don’t have to use cutting-edge technology.

Most importantly, you are personally interested in it and stay motivated to keep working on it.

As a developer, you tend to build SaaS applications, online tools, or mobile apps, but you can also start a blog, newsletter, or YouTube channel. Start a community or (e) start a book or course.

Common pitfalls

Many people who start a side project never end it. Here are some of the most common pitfalls I’ve seen people encounter:

  1. Too big: Don’t try to build a new social network to compete with Facebook or Twitter. First create a small minimum viable product (MVP) and repeat it.
  2. Lose motivation: Choose the one you are interested in and you will be thrilled with the finished product. Otherwise, it may end when things get a little rough.
  3. Burnout: Treat it that way as this is just a secondary project. If you feel uncomfortable, don’t force yourself after a long day. Don’t make progress at the expense of the entire weekend. Keep the balance even if it means moving a little slower.

Conclusion

If you want to advance your career, you need to show your abilities and stand in front of the right people. Side projects can help you do both of these things, and in many cases you can advance your career much faster than studying to get a new qualification.

Side projects are a great excuse to play with new technologies, work on entirely new ideas, and be completely free from work constraints.

My side project made a big difference in my career. We are confident that we can do the same whether we are trying to build an audience or leverage it for our recruiting and freelance clients.



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