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Jake Varness
Jake Varness

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Work vs. Play

I've blogged a lot in the past about my Pebble watchfaces, and my journey with learning Dart, but today I wanted to talk about something else that's been on my mind recently.

This isn't going to be a discussion about what technology is the best, but a narrative around how I've noticed differences between what I do in my career as opposed to what my interests are, and the different things I've been learning.

Historically, I've always used Java and C# for most of the enterprise development I've done over my career. Android applications, Windows Apps, Java servers and services have all consumed a majority of my time when it comes to my career. I've even managed to sprinkle a little bit of web development in there using Durandal/Aurelia. Even in college, we always used Java to do most of our assignments. Java and C# were always languages that I was very comfortable using, and I still consider them the two languages that I know best.

What I've noticed recently, however, is that the things that I develop that don't get shipped to production are vastly different from the things I'm learning and developing for fun.

So much of my time coding spent away from Visual Studio/C# and Eclipse/Java/Maven has been spent in Visual Studio Code, working through tutorials on React, Angular, or Amber, or maintaining Hubot scripts written in CoffeeScript, or working on other miscellaneous JavaScript projects using NPM. I've began to slowly start becoming more and more comfortable with other languages, often times finding their features and tooling better than what I've used in my professional life.

The contrasts to me are pretty astonishing. It's almost as if I'm happily living two separate lives as an engineer, each coinciding with one another and constantly evolving to become better and better at completely technologies and stacks.

What sorts of things do you notice about your professional work and your personal work? Do you do much of the same things professionally that you do personally? Or is the professional work you do as extremely different as what I'm noticing?

If it's different, do you enjoy the difference and variety, or would you rather your personal and professional lives converged more? If not, what keeps you from breaking out of your comfort zone?

Top comments (2)

dougmckechie profile image
Douglas McKechie

Yes my personal work is different from the professional with my day job being back-end PHP, but my programming interests being JavaScript - particularly canvas and also some audio API.

I most definitely enjoy the variety. If I was just doing PHP at the weekends it would probably feel like I was working 7 days a week and not be that motivated to actually program in my spare time.

Occasionally what I learn when playing with JS comes in handy for my professional job; Just last week an issue with Jpeg images and Exif rotation information I had encountered before when playing with HTML canvas popped up in a site for a client where some images uploaded to the site had weird rotation. While none of the other devs could figure out what was going on I was quickly able to identify the problem and find some PHP code check for Exif data and correct the image rotation.

Do you also find things you have learned in personal work transfer to your professional work?

moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

My professional work is rarely interesting; my personal work is rarely finished.