When you’re a student starting out on your path towards a career in programming, there’s a lot of theory and concepts that you’ll learn in the classroom. While this part of your education is vital, it usually doesn’t focus much on actually putting your skills to use in building an interesting programming project.
As a result, many students turn to doing their own programming projects on the side which is one of the smartest decisions students can make. Here are the big benefits to starting your own side project –
- Hone your skills. The more you practice and attempt, the better of a programmer you will become. There’s no substitute for experience in programming.
- Show a hunger to learn. By doing a self-driven programming project, you show prospective employers that you’re driven to succeed and love to learn new technologies. Today, programming languages and frameworks rise in popularity quickly, and employers want employees that can keep up with these new demands.
- Practice with a variety of languages. While it doesn’t hurt to focus on one programming language for your career, trying several different languages out early on is very beneficial to your understanding of programming. You’ll see different ways languages went about solving the same problems and develop a sense of best-practices. This will also help you guide your career path towards a programming language you enjoy.
- Build a portfolio on Github. A portfolio of cool projects is always a good thing to be able to show off in an interview, whether you’re going out for your first job or a senior position. By writing code and placing it on a source control site like Github, you start to develop a true portfolio that demonstrates your skills better than any answer to an interview question could.
- Programming is fun! Often times the book-learning aspects of programming are pretty dry, and some of the projects you have to do in school are not exactly inspiring. By choosing your own project you can pick something you’re passionate about, which will lead to a much better end product to show off.