Hi there, it's your friendly neighborhood tired dev 👋😩
It's 9:30 pm WAT, I'm yawning as I type this, but oh well, I chose this life. I briefly want to document my experience over the last two months as I believe it could help a fellow overworked, tired dev somewhere who needs to build something outside of work just for fun but can't seem to get themselves to start/finish that side project.
Have you perhaps come across those types of devs that "code for fun"?
It's a weekend, they just have 48 hours or less to relax from their fast-paced jobs. While they're in the kitchen, frying eggs, they suddenly get an idea to make a fun side project!
They run hastily to their laptop, almost falling in the process...and they start coding––nearly burning the house down because they're so passionate!!
Those rockstar types yeah? Yeah this guy is not one of them 😂
I always envy those devs that could just get an idea, start a project and then run with it. I'm sorry, coding up a random side project on a weekend after working 40+ hours a week just isn't my idea of 'recreational activity' if you catch my drift.
I like money and I like building products where I get paid well for it––still working on the 'paid well' part but oh well 🤷🏾♂️
That all changed though.
Last December, I found myself in some sort of a rut. I wasn't enjoying the work I was doing because I wasn't learning anything new. And while I've always pushed myself to learn new tech. The truth is, if you're not building something with it, you'll forget it. It doesn't matter how long you spent learning it. Your brain will make space for things you do regularly.
However, something happened that rekindled that spark. I mean I found myself coding on a weekend and championing through the backaches!
I assure you, no eggs were burnt in the process 😂
It turns out that all I needed was for one of the numerous jobs I applied to––which I wasn't fully qualified for but applied anyway––to get back to me with a code challenge.
After getting over my initial shock of being contacted barely an hour after I applied, I got the email to move to the second stage, I found myself excited to build!
The code challenge came in, I was to build the frontend in Preact and the backend with Node + TypeScript.
I had just one week.
I knew React and Node but had never worked with TypeScript nor Preact. Let me tell you, I've never been overjoyed to learn new stuff the way I was that weekend!
The challenge was to build a web app that approved or rejected a user's loan request based on their ability to pay back, this would be calculated on the user's average monthly income and their EMI (Equated Monthly Installments). I was to use the company's API to build this web app.
See ehn, the first version I built, the CEO didn't like it, told me I needed to make it more intuitive––and he was not wrong.
At that point though, I had spent my whole weekend and two nights on the weekdays to complete the challenge. Between this and my day job, let's just say my body was screaming at me for a 10-hour nap and a one-week break!
I spent 4 hours trying to host the project but had issues because Preact was missing a config file with webpack. It was all sorts of things. Still, I found the ginger to code through the night and the next day to deliver something close to what he asked for to the best of my ability.
Long story short, I didn't get the job. But I was able to understand why coders who code on a weekend for fun are willing to murder innocent eggs to build something they think is exciting on the only time they have to rest and recuperate.
I just needed someone to point me in a direction with the potential hope of a higher-paying job, and it got my creative juices flowing! Here's a link to the project by the way: Monomoney Loans
You're welcome to play with it!
Since then I've applied to more jobs for fun, so I would hopefully get code challenges that would get me to create more. The way I see it, I either get the job––meaning I coded something for fun and money 😉, or end up learning new tech, growing more as a dev, and having a great addition to my portfolio. It's a win-win either way.
From one code challenge, I built a simple movies app I'm proud of, using React Native. The code and the video snippets can be found here: Movies Inc.
What I'm suggesting may not be the norm, it sounds strange even, I imagine someone reading this wondering, how dare your only motivation to code be money?!
Omo! I've found that money is actually a really good motivator to become a better developer(ask FAANG engineers).
So if you're a tired dev who can't seem to bring themselves to build side projects either because you're not too motivated to do so or some other reason...why not apply to jobs for fun? It may spark a competitive spirit in you to code up beautiful side projects to be added to your portfolio at worst or even get you a new job at best!
This was a light-hearted post. Hope it helped!
Slangs used, For non-Nigerian readers:
- See ehn –– means 'look' but with a gossip-like mannerism.
- ginger –– means 'motivation, energy'.
- Omo –– means Omo! 😂...just kidding, it's an exclamation of surprise.