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Simon Barker
Simon Barker

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I forgot to have fun, are you?

I'll be honest, coding isn't as fun for me as it used to be.

Since moving into it as my full time role I have found that I don't get the same satisfaction I once felt. The joy of solving a tricky problem or simply seeing my idea running on a phone had sort of gone.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't like coding as a hobby was all sunshine and rainbows. I wanted to punt my laptop out a window many times when making StockControllerApp or OneQstn, but since "going Pro" and thinking about testing, DevOps, Infrastructure-as-code and keeping up with the never ending cycle of JS frameworks, the shine has worn off.

That is until the last couple of weekends.

I started playing around with PhaserJS thanks to seeing talking about it and I have made a silly little game, well two actually as I have completed two tutorials so far and thoroughly enjoyed them. I was still using TypeScript and had to spend some time fighting with Parcel for packaging the code up (as my Instagram followers saw on my stories 🀣) but overall it has been a delightful experience.

Doing this reminded me that programming is fun. Making things is fun and the things I list above that I find less fun aren't a core part of creation. I believe that they are required in a professional setting as part of a team, but I have let the best practices of professional web development bleed into the time I spend programming as a hobby.

I have put off making some ideas because I need to create a CI/CD pipeline, or it needs to be auto scaling on Kubernetes or have more than 80% test coverage. I let those things stop me from just building fun things, from having fun.

I let the social media accounts I follow for best practices take the fun out of my passion, that's on me and I am taking steps to course correct.

If I want to make a penguin slide around dodging angry snowmen or make a stocks analyser that lives in one JS file without a unit test in sight, for me, for fun, then that is what I plan to do.

If you're new to development, or like me have been doing it for well over a decade, and you've lost the spark you had, maybe take a look at how you are approaching the code you are writing. Are you making it harder than it needs to be? Are you sucking out the fun for no reason?

I was πŸ™

Top comments (6)

dastasoft profile image

I can relate to your story, I think the most common ways to get to that is by having a bad work-life balance and/or being too much of a perfectionist, if in your hobby project you are thinking I must do this because "it's the way" you are getting closer to that scenario.

But I think a finished side project has much more value than an unfinished project with very good roots and planned architecture. I had this feeling when I was doing Unity for fun as a hobby, there were times when I was thinking about structuring the MVC pattern really well and wasting time on things that will actually come by doing more projects rather than worrying about when you don't know how to move a simple cube.

I think in the hobby it's better the approach of moving fast and breaking things and if you really care about that project and want to polish it, come back later, apply the things you learn in other projects, enjoy seeing that you've progressed and refactor what you want.

allthecode profile image
Simon Barker

100%, I think the "planning for scale" and "best practices" get in our way and we forget that when it's our own thing we can do what we want because it's ours. Thanks for sharing πŸ˜€

hqloi21 profile image

I'm still just a Junior Engineer so my experience might not be worth anything, but ever since I started working full time, I don't really have time for any fun programming project of mine. Every day is like meeting, creating documents, and then another meeting, and then more creating documents.

I tried to spent a few hours on the weekend to work on something fun, but I also have my family to spend time with, so there's that.

allthecode profile image
Simon Barker

So long as you're having fun in you spare time I don't think it matters that it's not code. I missed the fun I had when coding for myself so wanted to get back to that. Family is super important to πŸ˜€

nombrekeff profile image

I understand the struggle actually, I've felt that way on many occasions. Though not for the same reasons, I actually enjoy doing best practices and such on my own for fun, It's on the job where I sometimes can't... For me it's the monotony of doing the same stuff over and over that makes me not enjoy it at times. The monotony of working on the same boring project for 4 years, doing the same things, with the same tools and practices, etc... luckily I do side projects and experiment with stuff, so that helps me a bit.

Otherwise, I consider "coding at work", my job. And "coding for myself" as fun and enjoyment

danstockham profile image
Dan Stockham

I never saw coding as being "fun", my memories of developing had been associated with many trips on the struggle bus, headaches, and accomplishment. It was a way to open me up to other opportunities that I would otherwise not have a chance to do.

Anymore I try to find time away from the screen but I haven't been doing a good job keeping away. But, you know, that's the life of a developer.