When I was younger, I wanted to be an inventor. I loved creating things from my imagination and bringing it to life.
Unfortunately, for my parents, a lot of my raw materials came from taking apart the things I already owned.
I even had a box of parts that I had collected from dismantling the various gadgets I owned over the years and couldn’t put back together.
Nothing was safe from my screwdriver, including my Game Boy and Walkman.
I then discovered programming, and not only could I create things again, but my innocent electronics didn’t need to suffer.
Over the years of being a professional developer, it has been easy to forget why I got into programming in the first place.
The life of a developer, especially in the junior years, is around completing tasks that have been assigned to you. Whether it be an urgent bug fix or adding in the next feature on the list of never-ending enhancements. There isn’t much room for creativity when you first start out in your career.
As you progress up the developer career ladder, you do get more opportunities to add a bit of creative flare in how you build something, but there isn’t much choice as to what you build.
If you are like me, you got into programming to create, then it is essential to have some side projects on the side that allow you to take some creative control. It is also a great way to learn some new skills that you might not get the chance to do in your day job.
Another great way to flex those creatives muscles is to teach what you are learning. It is easy to forget that not everyone knows what you know now. This is called the “curse of knowledge”. What is obvious to you isn’t necessarily obvious to everyone else.
Currently, I am taking a creative sabbatical from full-time software development to teach what I know to others.
If you aren’t feeling fulfilled, I would highly recommend finding a side project where you can be a bit more creative than you get to be in your day job.
Thanks for reading, and I will speak to you next Sunday in the next issue.