This time last year, I was looking for my first web development job. “Make sure people can see your code”, “get a github profile” and “work on some personal project that you care about” were all good pieces of advice given to me by different people. I followed that advice as best I could and landed a job one year ago next Monday.
Since starting in full time employment, I’ve tried to keep following this advice as a way to upskill and discover new technologies. Unfortunately, I haven’t been particularly successful. I sit in front of a computer all day at work and also have a habit of taking on smaller projects for friends and family. Initially, I tried to use these favours as a way to learn something; for example I developed mayoboatcharters.com in Django and deployed it on an AWS EC2 to and learn Django and cloud deployment. It worked just fine for what it was, but then the business changed slightly and I needed to make changes to the site. All stuff that should have been simple but I didn’t have the time to put into the development work. Since then when asked to do a site for friends I always go for WordPress or something similar. These sites still always take longer than they should, and it eats into any “personal project” time I have.
Even still I’ve looked into things like Django, KnockoutJS, AngularJS, Google App Engine, Redis, Android development, QML development for Ubuntu Touch and a few Raspberry Pi projects. I have little concrete to show from any of these attempts but I try to keep track of my experiments on github. I’ve enjoyed learning the basics of these different technologies and think they will be useful at some stage in my career as a programmer.