Why focusing on just one side project or technology is incredibly hard and rewarding at the same…

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I have been reading quite a few articles on medium and decided to start a little series of articles on my experiences as a developer…So here’s my first article about focusing on one technology or side project at a time…

In the constantly evolving world of technology, there is a new library, module, framework and even languages launched in a matter of weeks. Be it Frontend, Data science or even DevOps, there are a plethora of modules, languages, and methods available to achieve the same task. Python vs R debate or React vs Vue vs Angular debates come up on social feeds and Reddit every once in a while. Companies are also looking out for recruit developers who know a mix of varied technologies in diverse stacks. Full stack developers and data scientists have become the new trending keywords in the majority of vacancies. And so in order to achieve a good position or advance in careers most of us try to juggle and learn various technologies in conjunction. Heck, there are graphs and visualizations made each year to become outline the pathway to become a full-stack developer to finally become that guy who can drive a product of the company and lead the team in multiple departments. But achieving that kind of skills is incredibly hard and trying to master something of everything, in the end, leads to learning nothing about even basic things.

Another part of the story is when we as a developer have these incredible ideas for personal side projects because let’s face it… Majority of developers secretly wish to have their own successful startup one day which would become a tech giant eventually. There’s nothing wrong in that line of thinking but if you are like me chances you started working on one side project, finish a part of it with full enthusiasm until suddenly a new idea hits you and even without giving a second thought you start off with your next cool idea.

The first few weeks of beginning a side project feel like we are actually making a difference in life and achieving something worthwhile. But as weeks go by, our interest starts declining, the dedication slowly slides away, that daily hour of code starts feeling like a chore and sometimes that there’s no novelty factor which remains in that side project at all. And slowly we secretly wish like giving up although we try our level best to still continue. But then an interesting article comes up in our feed about something cool concept, we hear about this new framework or technology from our colleagues. Out of curiosity, we research it and it seems more interesting and worth our time. Without even paying much attention to that old side project we start out on this new one. What’s left back is an incomplete side project gathering dust in some part of our hard drive or Github repo. Over the years the list of such incomplete side projects just keeps on increasing.

But somewhere down the line, I felt like it had to change and I needed to focus on simply one thing for a period of time until I learn about all of its nuances, all nitty-gritty details about them before I even think about switching over to something else. Although I haven’t fully been able to do that, it’s still a small start. In the journey of trying to finish things, there are times when I feel like giving up but now I don’t. There are times of frustration, boredom, procrastinating about not doing it today, deluding questions about why I am even doing this but in the end when I finish off that one side project, become proficient in that one piece of technology or framework it all feels like it was worth it. At the end that is all that matters….

There is a general debate on whether multitasking is good or bad, should we explore all domains of our field horizontally or focus on one domain and be really good at it.

But in all this clutter what I have understood in past few years is no matter how much we try to traverse through different domains of our field, there will always be something left to explore, or some concept in some domain left out making us feel that we aren’t really making significant progress.

What I want to focus on today is no matter how much breadth we explore it’s still not going to be enough. Instead of focusing on one thing is what can actually make us feel like we are actually learning something worth making a difference about. Again this is a debatable topic and there can be contrasting views but more or less focusing on one thing at a time does feel a lot better than multitasking or trying to juggle between different stacks. It makes us a bit disciplined, focused and at least proficient enough to be able to apply that knowledge without hassle in future projects. We do need to understand that the time we have to learn new things is a precious resource, one that needs to be used with utmost care and proper thought.

When we dedicate that time to just one side project or framework, at least it would be a properly implemented and we will understand that framework a lot better than others.

Well, that’s it for today…Do leave your views on the topic in the comments section…And happy coding 😀

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