Side Projects for Professional Growth
Side hustles are great, so great that they can speak for you at job interviews, give you hands-on experience on new tools and programming languages, bring you extra income and define you professionally in every possible way. For this article, I have selected my top four side projects and their impact on my professional growth.
Before I begin, I'd like to remind you that side projects are meant to be fun and full of experiments. Make use of the nights and weekends wisely for your side projects.
1. MusicSpider - Chrome Extension
MusicSpider is a chrome extension for listening to music while browsing. As the name suggests, spiders crawl songs from different music websites. I, Diyorbek, and Jasur built it during the 3-day (and night) first-time-ever hackathon in Tashkent. It was an amazing experience to build something from the ground up and release it in 48 hours. It was a runner up among 34 projects presented that day.
The project is still alive and serving its users. The search is backed up by ElasticSearch, something we had to use from the beginning. First, we used Postgres, fuzzy searches with Postgres over 100M songs took too long and wasn't efficient enough. If it was one thing I learned from this project, that's indexing.
2. JPRQ - Ngrok Alternative
If you're out of ideas, it's perfectly fine to build something existing - something you use every day. In my case, it was Ngrok, a tool to turn localhost online for a while. It has a 30 req/min limit and it's annoying. Instead of subscribing to a paid plan, I decided to build Ngrok with unlimited requests. In about 4 weekends with Jasur, we have built a working (almost always) prototype of JPRQ.
I gave Golang a try. It's a fantastic language. We used channels and learned about leaking goroutines the hard way. I now have a good understanding of memory leaks because of this project.
If you are curious why it's called JPRQ, ask me next time we meet, I'll tell you the story behind it.
3. TBBM - Computer-Based Test Application
In the summer of 2019, I was planning to travel somewhere nice on my 2-week vacation. Instead, I helped my friend launch his business, launched a computer-based test center. We built an online platform for signing up for a test and a local network of 40 computers that took the tests from candidates. I got a chance to build a centralized network system that served all the questions and received submissions. Once the test was completed, the central server calculated the score, issued a certificate, and printed automatically. Just as how I wanted, no manual work.
One thing I couldn't possibly forget after completing the project was the network cable colors: white-orange, orange, white-green, blue, white-blue, green, white-brown, brown.
4. IELTSZone - Online Preparation Zone for IELTS
IELTSZone was meant to be a learning place for the IELTS. Forum, dictionary, and the resources made it a unique place for the learners. I built IELTSZone according to my sister's request to teach and learn with a global community.
This project helped me improve my frontend web development skills. Because I work as a backend developer, I don't usually get the chance to work on the frontend side.
I never finished it. Ever. Guess why, I did it alone.
Side projects help you grow and stay motivated. I can't express the feeling of saying someone "I built it". You have got to taste it for yourself.
Good luck building the next unicorn!