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Claire Muller
Claire Muller

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What Should I Make Next? Quick Project Ideas

Ever since I finished up at the Flatiron School at the end of May, I've been trying to come up with a cool, new project idea. But here I am, almost three months later and I haven't started one. I've been stuck in decision paralysis and it's time to break free!

I've heard from a lot of people to just start something, especially when you're a junior dev. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, make a simple site that has some functionality. The point is to get practice and learn a new thing or two.

So for my blog post this week, I'm just going to make a big list of project ideas! No longer can I complain that I don't have an idea!

  • todo app (just kidding!)
  • clone of a popular social media site
  • site that gathers and displays news about a specific topic
  • site to order food from a local restaurant, with a shopping cart
  • clock that you can change from analog to digital
  • simple chat room
  • bill splitting app like Splitwise
  • site that changes colors based on the weather
  • funny name generator
  • site to save and display articles you want to read later
  • date suggestions
  • bio site about someone famous that you like
  • copy a simple game, like tic-tac-toe, hangman, or snake
  • chatbot
  • counter to log how many glasses of water you've drunk
  • site for cute pictures of your pet
  • simple quiz game
  • place to keep track of all the shoes you want to buy
  • web scraper
  • net worth tracker
  • calculator
  • music suggestions based on a given song/artist
  • site that simply tells you if it's going to rain or not
  • spoiler alert browser extension - notifies you if the page contains certain keywords
  • e-commerce clone
  • a site that just plays Mariah Carey music videos
  • word-a-day site
  • recipe generator

There we have it, no more excuses! I hope this inspires you to start something new today!

Discussion (17)

j_at_canosie profile image

Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, make a simple site that has some functionality

You could do that. But, is there some app that you would find useful? Or maybe you use some app, but it's not 100% fullfilling your needs.

In my experience, ppl who work on projects that put value into their lives have more motivation to push though issues they might encounter and actually get something done.

Things I've seen are like:

  • A web scraper (you did mention that), but scraps various public transit sites for info to help their own commute.
  • Simplified personal finance app (more than one person I know has done that, including myself!)
  • A site to manage bets by a group of friends on sport events (Superbowl).

"TODO apps" are ok to learn, but are boring to work on ๐Ÿ˜‘. They have become so ubiquitous on portfolios that many interviewers don't like seeing them either...

Another thing for about working on something you might personally use is that it really makes you think and struggle about how to use a particular framework/language to solve a real problem. With toy apps, you can modify the requirements to 'get around' difficulties you might encounter.

That's my $0.02 it works for some, but everyone is different.

aschmelyun profile image
Andrew Schmelyun

I'll parrot the above as well! The projects I was engrossed in the most and felt the most motivation toward the last year have been ones that directly give something back to me. Budgeting app, notifications platform for Laravel, and now a crowdsourced site about construction.

Scratching your own itch always helps!

j_at_canosie profile image

crowdsourced site about construction

What's that?

Thread Thread
aschmelyun profile image
Andrew Schmelyun

It's basically scratching an itch I've had for an online map showing what's being built around my area. I usually see something going up and do some quick research about what's under construction, so I figured other people might want the same information or be able to contribute to it as well!

If you want a (super) simple basic video about it, I've been posting some updates on my Twitter:

andrasbacsai profile image
Andras Bacsai

I think a TODO app could be pretty satisfying to work on, if you add extended features to it, for example:

  • Real-time synchronization between active devices
  • Offline/online support
  • Check which is the latest version of a todo & update all devices accordingly - in case of a todo is updated in offline mode and the device goes online.

Or maybe only I enjoy it.

j_at_canosie profile image

That's a pretty cool todo idea...also, I totally didn't mean to speak down on TODO :)

Your idea is pretty cool though, I'd enjoy trying that out. But really, even if you enjoy the normal todo, thats cool too.

omrisama profile image
Omri Gabay

Why do you feel like you have to work on something?

clairemuller profile image
Claire Muller Author

Interesting question... because I'm looking for a job and want employers to see that I'm keeping my skills sharp.

omrisama profile image
Omri Gabay

I think it's a very unfortunate side effect of this job market that this is what you feel that you have to do, assuming that you're only doing it because of external motivators and not internal ones.

Thread Thread
clairemuller profile image
Claire Muller Author

There are a lot of things wrong with the job market, but I don't see how working on side projects is one of them. Writing code is what I would be doing on the job, I think it's important that employers see what I can do! I also enjoy it, it's fun to whip up a little project.

Thread Thread
omrisama profile image
Omri Gabay

There's nothing wrong with writing code. That's not what I meant. And if you enjoy it then that's good; I was only referring to doing it solely because of the pressure to stand out.

gayanhewa profile image
Gayan Hewa

Look at a few things you have automated for your self. It could be a bash script that does reminders, or some other script that would convert data into a different format etc Ask the community if that is going to be something we would use, if yes you can start with doing a quick proto and share it with us :D and you have got something built and released to an audience.

jonathanburnhill profile image
Jonathan Burnhill

Uk gov site has loads of apis from traffic to timetables, ti's could be interesting even if for a personal site.

Also work on similar things you have done. Recently I was fixing a website that was so convulted, it was basically uploading a image to firebase and downloading then to a admin panel!

It took way longer than needed and if I fixed something in one place it broke in another, anyway yesterday I was building my own personal site and felt like I wanted to do have some analytics to help show what my clients are searching for and any things they couldn't find.

To cut a long story short I interacted with firebase more than 3 times what his did and implemented it in about a hour without any thinking of design it was all freestyle, not the best practice but still!!

So now in my spare time I'm going to refractor this horrible code from before and do it better not for his benefit but for my own!

Soz for the long ass reply ๐Ÿ˜‚

lautarolobo profile image
Lautaro Lobo

Cool! Also, I think a Dev clone would be great, to strengthen CSS and play with Ruby/JavaScript.

tdotholla profile image

I think a GREAT project would be to create a personal PWA for an independent consultant or small biz.
Key Features: User auth, scheduling (calendar or contact form), database, admin console, payment.

so many features to implement that it'll be a great exhibition of skills and how it's implemented...
This could be super basic with just an about page and a contact form. or super advanced...
could be a static one-pager or use global state...

mollynem profile image
Molly Nemerever

Mariah Carey music videos please ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

tcee42 profile image

Thanks, I'll get building right away