The importance of side-projects

I have never had anything I’d classify as success with my side-projects and I have worked on a hell of a lot of them

The best I’ve managed to achieve is having around 100 users signup–none of which were paying customers, but I would not classify these apps as failures and here’s why:

I learn more in a month working on my side-projects than I do in a year while working for other people

This is by far the most important reason I work on side-projects

All I care about is the technology and working on my personal projects enables me to care exclusively about the technology and nothing else

I can make decisions around what services are to be used in the stack, what frameworks would be useful, what design pattern and paradigm I’m using, all without having to convince anyone else–especially if this person is not technical enough to appreciate these decisions and should not have an opinion in the first place

No useless meetings, no useless documentation, no useless discussions or arguments. Simply focusing on the technology and getting the best out of it

I don’t have to conform to someone else's dumb way of working. I can work in the way that works best for me and this means my side-projects will ensure my skills do not stagnate

Side-projects give you something to speak about and show during an interview

Talk is cheap. It’s very easy to talk rubbish during an interview and try to impress the interviewer by just talking 

What is worse than this is when a developer has an entire career around software that they cannot show you the source code to or that they only worked on what was already existing and cannot build anything from the start

It’s really great to show an interviewer the source code of your projects and actually speak in detail about the reasoning behind why you built the app like you did

If the side-project fails simply make the git repository public and it’s just another app in your portfolio

Maybe one day

The ultimate dream is that one of my side-projects makes it all the way to the homepage of Hacker News or Product Hunt and attracts users that are happy to actually pay

From what I have read, having your own SaaS product that can completely pay your bills is the ultimate achievement

I’m just going on frequency here: keep trying, keep failing, keep coding and maybe one day

So when the owner of the business says that PHP print statements are the best way to implement server-side rendering and that it’s a good idea to store CSS in the relational database, you can respond with…

…and remain sane by working on your side-projects. This is another good reason to have side-projects