One of the greatest fears a developer may face is not code that suddenly works or
git push –force, it’s becoming stagnant. Okay, maybe it’s not the biggest fear we have, but it is for sure near the top of the list. With the pandemic keeping many of us stuck inside with just our computers and IDEs of choice to keep us company, I know that I’m starting to get stir-crazy and some of you are too. However, this isolation, if anything, can be the perfect time to try out some new skills and hobbies to “diversify your portfolio!” Below are some activities that I encourage anyone to try to help keep their current skills sharp, and maybe even pick up new ones!
Participate in a Hackathon
For those looking for a little challenge with little risk, a hackathon might be the perfect thing for you! There are tons of small- to large-scale hackathons happening every year, with many always looking for more entrants! Enter solo, with some friends, or join a group of strangers, it’s all up to you! The beauty of hackathons is there is almost guaranteed to be at least one that targets a skill you already have, so don’t worry about not having options. If you end up not winning, you might end up learning something new anyway, so you’re not walking away empty-handed. If you do end up winning, then you can walk away with fun experiences and a prize!
Join an Online Course
If one thing about the development world is always true, it is that there is no shortage of online courses to learn just about any concept you want. Wanting to sharpen your React skills? Find a React course online and get started! Want to start getting into machine learning? Find a free YouTube course and dive in! The beauty of a lot of these courses is that most are self-paced, meaning you can take your time and pick it up when you can without the fear of deadlines looming over you. Many of these courses are also free and pretty high quality, with FreeCodeCamp being one of the most prominent examples. Go ahead, join a course and begin the journey of acquiring a new skill!
Get Into Blogging
Listen, my blogging journey has only just begun. I used to hate trying to blog but once I got over my hatred and found my niche, I now enjoy it much better! Blogging can be a great way to get your thoughts out of your head and onto something else, especially if you have no one to rant to in your house. For developers, blogging doesn’t always have to be about programming or tech-related stuff! Blog about your day-to-day life, your interests, or what you’re watching/reading right now! Best case scenario, you get lucky and form an audience for your posts and can start to make some money for it!
Spend Some Time for Yourself
Assuming you’ve been spending a lot of time doing work on your computer, maybe this is the time to form hobbies that aren’t digital! Get into exercising, chess, knitting, cooking, or whatever else floats your boat! With the Internet at your disposal, it is easy to learn just about anything you want, so get started today! Being a varied developer with a wide palette of skills is great and all, but sometimes your life needs some diversifying as well. Being cooped up in your home doing nothing but being on a computer isn’t the healthiest thing in the world, so maybe spend some time AFK and focus on something IRL!
Simply put: there are tons of things for you to do, both on the Internet and off. Spend some of your free time doing something different. It’s proven that for a lot of people, some change and learning beyond your normal schedule can do wonders for the psyche. Don’t worry about having to turn your hobbies into jobs or making everything “worthwhile.” Do something because you want to do it, not because you need to do it. Your time is yours alone, spend it doing the things you love!