Over the last year, I started a side project and it was a great experience that allowed me to discover abilities that I didn’t even know I had and perform some activities that I never do in my daily job.
Today I’d like to share the best learning and tips that I got from that adventure.
You’re always learning
When you are working on a project in your daily job and you find a blocker it’s easy to turn over your chair and ask a colleague for a solution to that issue. When you are in a side project that usually changes because you are alone on that trip.
Depending on your situation, a common scenario for a person running a side project is to investigate by your own and put in practice the techniques that you find to solve that problem.
The reality is that in a regular 9 to 5 job, there is a rule that happens very often (more than we like to admit):
Time is placed before quality and learning is relegated to a sad third place.
The great aspect of a side project (and the first magic trick) is that learning stops being in the third place and suddenly becomes the first thing on your daily basis. Since you basically ignore a lot of techniques and practices, you have to figure out how to perform some activities on your own.
Unknown skills development
We already know that you ignore a lot of things. For instance, if you are a developer you might not be familiar with marketing or business development.
In a first glance that might look like a blocker. But that’s a lie. That’s a big chance to learn, grow and relate that new ability with the ones that you already know.
Just think a bit about this. Most of the people are great performing one activity. They get paid for it an dedicate a lot of time every day to become better and better in that activity. Now that you are alone (or almost alone), you have to cover a lot of holes; and the only way to do it is to learn those things that you don’t have experience with.
At the beginning that sounds sad. It needs a big investment in time. But just do the invest and wait for a bit. You’ll see the results. In a short time, you’ll reach a stable level in that new area and will be able to build relations between the new one and your main expertise area. That’s priceless. That’s something that an “expert” in that topic can’t do.
A new perspective
As time passes you’ll notice that those relations become stronger and happen more often. There is still a couple of ways to potentiate them.
The first one is reading. People spend literally years of their lives writing a book. There is a lot of knowledge put in those pieces of papers. Take advantage out of it! Read and learn as much as you can. Just think about it. It’s like living other’s life and learn from that.
The second way is to spend more time with colleagues from other areas. As you read and learn more about a new topic you’ll have questions and a need to check how those things that you learned are performed in the real world. I’m sure that someone in your team is already performing those actions. Don’t be afraid and reach those persons. Even being just a “watcher” you’ll build up more relations in your mind that will help you with that side project.
Regos Dev Studio is a product development company that builds add-ons for Jira, Confluence, and LiveChat, combined with the development of custom solutions in a variety of languages.