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What are some of your hobbies outside of coding that have directly or indirectly helped your dev work?

jess profile image Jess Lee (she/her) ・1 min read

DEV is in the process of launching a podcast and we'd love for you to be involved! We're recording the episodes in advance, and this week we'd like to know:

What are some of your hobbies outside of coding that have directly or indirectly helped your dev work?

If you'd like to participate, please:

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Discussion

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Reading books about biology, especially about the human, bonobo, chimpanzee and other animals behavior, and how science explain it. That books have been helping me to change my mind and improving my soft skills, and of course work more productive with other people.

 

Design and dev tend to go hand in hand, so having a design background has been helpful. Being able to talk to both groups and get them on the same page, understanding each other had been a key part of my career so far. Understanding design principles can make you a better developer.

 

I live in probably the best state for hiking β›° and have road tripped around great views. Just observing nature and processes in society. Stoic philosophy type books and ideas. Trying to do the hippie meditation thing now πŸ˜‰

I'm only about 6 months away from confirming to myself that we live in a universe simulation and I want out of the current code being run πŸ˜‚

 

Hitting the road on my motorbike, I love to get out and explore. I've recently bought an old BMW tourer so that I can travel further in comfort. I'm really looking forward to this lockdown being lifted. And, of course there is a great community around biking where you can meet many people.

 

Industrial design. <3
It motivates me to present even prototypes in better light. Feels like one of things to return to after some routine work - result is always satisfactory when I pull some fantasy for logo design, let's say, upon another abbreviated pair. With industrial design and reusability in mind, every aspect of representation comes cleaner, that also helps to shape relevant thinking πŸ™„

 

One of the obvious ones: Light exercise a few times a week.

Exercise has been proven to have benefits for pretty much everything, including better concentration and focus. I don't actually like exercise so I only do very little. But a little exercise is enough, and any dislike I have is definitely surpassed by the benefits it brings.

 

Improv theater has helped me in my professional career as well as just life in general. It teaches you how to get out of your head, have fun, and let yourself fail. Also, a side effect is being more confident speaking in front of people and collaborating in a team. Definitely recommend! Just remember that "improv" is a very broad concept, and differs from theater to theater, so feel free to explore if you are interested.

 

Playing rugby. I met so many people through university and club rugby and a lot of my early job opportunities were thanks to people I knew in rugby land.

 

Sowing tracktion kites. The paraglider kind with ribs and cells.
It take a whole lot of planning in advance in wich order all the layers go on top. Also: you only get one chance at sowing because the fabric gets punctured and you don't want a perforated kite.
So laying out my next steps became second nature.

 

Playing capoeira and doing free movement helps me clear my mind after a hard day's work. Studying and practising design on my own also helped a lot when coding UIs.

 

I make music as a hobby. And just earlier, I went live on Facebook to create a beat. I'm trying to be consistent so I'll probably go live everyday to make music aside from live coding.

 

For me, it has to be reading.

I feel that I gain some energy while reading a book at work, especially if I just let myself enjoy the book and not caring about anything else. I bring my book to work all the time! I tend to read during breakfast and lunch.
After those periods, I come back into the office raring to go. πŸ‘Š

 

Board games and game theory.

In life there are rules, formal, unwritten, or natural. If you learn to work them, you succeed. If not, you bang into them and receive the equal-and-opposite reaction.

This has helped me think strategically in all manner of things, especially interpersonal interactions, but also in product management and (in my own trivial examples) coding - cost benefit analyses, heuristics for problem solving, even bug hunting.

 

Talking and observing how people(or the world) communicate.

"Any organization that designs a system (defined broadly) will produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization's communication structure." - Melvin Conway

It is interesting since it gives me an idea into how programs , too, may communicate nowadays (what should be avoided, encouraged etc.), with a couple of adaptions of course.
By analysing the quote above, it also hints at how I may better organize my code, or adapt it when I become part of a team.

 

Meditation and learning about neuroscience, attention, focus and flow. Also writing blogs - it's great for helping me organise and plan information, and be sure about what I want to say, which applies to code too!

 

Penetration testing.

It's a completely different animal compared to software development; in software development you're creating stuff, in pentesting you're breaking stuff. But it's really helped me learn a lot of concepts and technologies more deeply.

It also forces me to prioritize security in every step of the development lifecycle and to understand the ROI of each measure taken.

 

Woodworking has helped me learn how to really plan a project. Unlike coding, where you find everything you need as the need comes up, working in a physical medium requires you to actually plan something out fully before starting, because you have to buy the materials for it! You don't want to plan everything out and then find that the hardware store doesn't have the lumber you need in stock, or find that the screws you have are too short. If you don't meticulously plan thea small details out, you'll find yourself running to the store a million times and won't actually get to build the thing!

Translating this to software development, it has taught me the value of making diagrams and writing down notes before I ever write a line of code. This could also be TDD, where I first figure out how I want to the use the code as an end user (how the API should look), and then figure out how to make it work like that.

 

Reading books (and especially graphic novels) helps me take my mind out of the dev process, get refreshed, and refocus. Another thing that I find relaxing is doing cross-stitch. It is really simple, involves some creativity, and it is like offline pixel-art.

 

Architecture because it is the school of project management, of combining artistical and technical approch, of understanding the desire of the customer and design, of interactions between the creation and its user, of building blocks and using the same materials to create something new...

 

Playing Magic: the Gathering is my primary (and only?) "networking" that I do for my career.

In the Seattle area two nerdy things are big: programming and MtG. Doctors and lawyers have the golf course clubhouse; programmers have their local game store. πŸ˜„ You'd be hard-pressed to find a tournament where there isn't someone who works at Amazon, Facebook, Google or is running a start-up.

 

Drawing helps me to clear my mind and allow new ideas to come in. I want to emphasize that they come in not that I chase them :-)

 

Reading, for sure. Doing math riddles, and working out. That helped me in many ways when working with code.

 

Drawing helps me visualize my UI designs for personal projects.

 

Cooking is like making a webapp di react

 

Writing, a lot of writing. It helps me to write clearer code and better documentation. πŸ–₯️

 

I'm owner of a Netlabel, free music for free music. Take a look monofonicos.net/

 

Skateboarding. Break the code, get up and try it again. And again. And again, until you land it. Then go bigger, then add a set of stairs, then break your ankle, then do it again!

 

Just sent in my voice note! Can't wait for the podcast to launch! πŸš€

 

Reading books, watching YouTube and sci-fi movies
Googling random stuffs

 

Reading about and educating myself on human behavior. It's a hobby and a passion. Collaboration is a productivity multiplier beyond what learning one tech alone can bring.