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Reasons why you need to do Pet Projects
4 min read
As a Sr.SWE who works mostly in Web Development. I want to share with you guys the "why" & benefits of doing pet projects, based on my experience and achievements.
Improve hard skills (from code to server)
Enrich your CV
Could be your next Startup
What are Pet Projects?
To put it simply, they are your own projects to solve any problems that you want to solve.
You can do anything that you want, that's your own world. Nobody tells you to do so, it's just you, based on your ideas.
Example: today I want to create a SaaS app which people can subscribe to solve ABC, XYZ,... problems. It would make their life easier,...
Also a small tip: always research your "market" first (the need, the users,...)
Reasons & Benefits
Improve your hard skills
In real life, not everything you wanted to do, you would get to do in your daily work.
Eg: my company is using Java, but today I want to use Go => There is no way my company allow that. (yes they might have some budget to learn new stuff, but that's all)
By working on pet projects, you can use anything you want:
Any languages: Node & TypeScript, Go, Erlang,... you name it.
Any tools, any DBMS
Create your own super-awesome structure
Follow great patterns
Hands-on experience is always better, isn't it?
During the time you work on your pet projects, problems and obstacles will block your way. But once you solved them, it'll become a valuable experience.
Once your projects grow, you'll grow with them. That's what we call: progressive.
Learn about Deployment / Cloud
Once your project is done, let's deploy it ONLINE so you can share it with everybody about your work, ask for suggestions,...
Within this phase, you will learn a lot of valuable things:
Domain: how it works, DNS,...
Setup necessary software(s) for your app
Automatic deploy - CI/CD
Yes, it's gonna cost some bucks, some advice:
You can always find a cheap domain to buy, by just Googling it.
There are a lot of providers that sell cheap VPS (Virtual Private Server), starting from $5 USD
Check it out for some tricks: https://sethphat.dev/cheap-services-you-would-need-for-a-budget-pet-project
Learn about SEO - Search Engine Optimization
After your app is up and LIVE. In order to have visitors (and customers), you need to learn about SEO - Search Engine Optimization.
Some basic stuff will be:
Register your website to all the popular Search Engines, eg: Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo,...
Prepare sitemap.xml for the Search Engines
Optimizing your page render speed
Render your HTML content SEO-friendly
Prepare good meta tags
Readable URL (slug)
Share your website on Social Media publicly
A website or web app won't get many visitors at first.
Let's wait and keep it running, for at least 6 months or 1 year. The longer the better.
Enrich your CV
You can list your project(s) in your CV and share your achievements.
It could be an additional point to the interviewer. To prove that you have a particular experience with these kinds of Technies.
It could become your own Startup
What if my project solves the problems/pain of a lot of people?
What if there are more and more people going to use my web app?
OMG congrats, that's a great starting point to invest more and make it become your own Startup. At this point, you can think and plan to monetize your app.
Yes, people won't be happy at first, but time will answer if it is really worth the price 🥳
That's a big achievement, isn't it?
If not, well, we can try another idea next time. At least I improved my hard skills 😉
My Achievements so far
I have 2 pet projects, they are up and running. And yes, it is monetized. Both are running for more than 2 years.
Yes, achievements come little and little (I really cherish them), so let's wait for the magic to happen slowly 🌷 no need to push hard or anything.
1st is having around 15k visitors per day, monetized via Ads ⭐.
2nd is having 300+ paid subscribers 🐱🏍.
Now I'm doing the 3rd project with a cool idea and really looking forward to publishing it in the next 2 months 😝
Thanks and I hope this topic helps and motivates you guys!