5 Things You Can Do as a Developer During Quarantine
I am pretty sure nobody would like to remember the first half of 2020, a pandemic threatening almost every country around the world—not to mention that being quarantined isn’t good at all.
During the past few months, I have come across many social media posts regarding freshly baked apple pie, quarantine fitness challenges, or before and after photos of someone’s newly organized living space.
But are we actually being productive with the newfound time?
No matter who you are—an artist, an entrepreneur, or a programmer—being stuck at home does not automatically grant you energy or focus. And the big question is, how can we stay productive?
Fortunately, the IT industry is still awake, with programmers working remotely across the globe. Being developers, we have no problem isolating ourselves from the rest of the world—at least for a while. And trust me, I had no idea that this ability could one day prove so useful.
However, it is not easy to stay at home when you are forced to. I mean, changing from working side by side with co-workers in an office to working from home can be quite daunting.
So what to do? How not to lose the sense of time and make the most of it? There is no denying the fact that we have a lot of extra nonwork time on our hands now—chances are pretty high that we might even be losing track of what day it is.
So here comes the big one, How can you make the most of your extra time and maybe even gain something?
Fortunately, we do have options. In this post I'll show you five things you can do during your “downtime” from work that will help you improve your skills as a developer and stay busy while you’re stuck at home.
Learn, Learn, and Learn
Learning works for all whether you have just started your career as a developer, or you are well-experienced in your field. Do you remember the time when you wished you could learn MVC architecture support or other PHP frameworks to enhance your website development skills?
Now is the time!
Take that course that you have always wanted to take, or try the framework that you always wanted to experiment with. Enriching your existing skills is the best thing to do to grow powerful.
Where to learn from, you may ask:
- Coursera – One of the finest e-learning platforms I have come across to date. It offers a plethora of free and paid courses over the internet. At present, the platform offers approximately 85 free certified courses.
- edX – Quite similar to Coursera, the platform also provides numerous courses offered by some of the finest universities in the world. Materials can be accessed for free, but if you really want to get certified, go for the paid version.
- LinkedIn Learning – LinkedIn is quite popular these days; every professional should be acquainted with the platform. For remote working, LinkedIn offers 16+ free courses these days.
- Udacity – This is Google’s baby. The platform seems to have started giving one month of free access to nanodegree programs due to COVID-19.
- Udemy – Again, here you will find a bunch of free and paid courses; perhaps not of the same quality as Coursera but adequate.
Try choosing a topic related to PHP Development, as it is one of the most profitable realms around, and it also keeps on evolving with time.
Complete Side Projects
No developer can say they don’t have a side project; a project that might have started long ago but now seems like a never-ending journey. It could be anything—a mobile app, a website, a blog, or even a YouTube channel.
In case there is no side project to complete, here are some ideas you can consider:
- You will find tons and tons of information on the web. Discover what you are actually interested in. Are you inquisitive about data science or machine-learning technologies? Do you wish to know more about PHP frameworks such as CodeIgniter, Symphony, Laravel development? The options are endless!
- You can consider participating in development competitions—one of the most innovative ways to create the next big thing. Try using Kaggle for that!
- There are hundreds of videos on YouTube featuring ideas for new projects. For example, “15 Python Projects in Under 15 Minutes (Code Included),” or “Top 5 Programming Languages to Learn in 2020 to Get a Job Without a College Degree,” or some Laravel beginner tutorials, etc.
Whether you already have started a side project, or you are considering starting one, now would be the time to work on it. After all, there are several success stories that started with a side project, so why not yours?
Writing for a living might be more challenging, but simply writing is something almost anyone can do, including coders and programmers. You could write in a journal for yourself—it doesn’t have to be something others need to read nor something meant for publication. Simply, try writing therapeutically.
Or if you do decide to publish an article, you can learn a lot and improve your skills through writing. For example, when you have to research and write an article on a programming topic, you are bound to go deeper and learn something new in the process.
Personally, writing is something that helps me organize my thoughts. Sometimes, it brings out something I had no idea was inside me. Moreover, I learn how to explain technical arguments in understandable words, even for nontechies.
And last but certainly not least, I can showcase my writing to grab further career opportunities. After all, writing is a highly appreciated skill. Articles I’ve written on PHP projects, Laravel Development Tips and Tricks, and others are a great extension to my portfolio.
Learn Business Basics for a Change
I am pretty sure you must have heard the term business development (BD or Biz Dev). You can try learning that. For those who have no idea what I am talking about, it is a profession where you can create long-term growth and profitability.
I am not asking you to change careers. But you can certainly learn certain business basics such as identifying business opportunities and planning to pursue them, and making a profit. Some of the crucial business basics include:
- Prospecting – Start by monitoring the external environment, and keep looking for business opportunities. Opportunity can be in any form such as a disruptive technology promising to change how the industry operates or finding a market segment that is being underserved right now.
- Marketing – After identifying and selecting an opportunity or a goal to pursue, try creating a marketing plan for further development of products and services. Develop more and more sales channels; think of all possible advertising and promotional activities.
- Customer Development – Learn the key to developing customers. Guide your customers through first-time purchases, and try to make things habitual for them so that they can advertise on your behalf. Offering unforgettable experiences can surely accelerate your brand’s position to market dominance.
- Financing – It might feel intimidating, but knowing your finances is quite a doable job. Try planning finances more extensively, and pursue a number of different avenues to obtain a new line of business.
Apart from this, for now and for the future you can try finding a paying gig right off the bat. I am talking about all the one-off contracts that might be sooner or later considered as one of the successful projects under your belt. During the quarantine period, try learning about what you can do as a freelance developer business in a box?
I remember the time when I started finding a job as a Laravel developer. Day in and day out I applied to hundreds of jobs before I got through the ultimate interview process and received a satisfactory offer letter.
You see, most hiring managers don’t want to take a chance on anyone who is unknown or who doesn’t have any prior experience. And this isn’t limited to self-taught developers; any person can struggle to get job offers no matter how booming the market seems.
Do Fun Projects
Who says learning is all about reading, or writing, or taking an online course. Building new projects can also help you to grow as a programmer. Just put some effort and hard work in the right place. Have you ever played a card memorize game? For those who haven’t, the game is quite simple: You have to click each card, remember what image is underneath it, and try to match it with its pair.
You can make things challenging by watching user statistics at the end of the game—number of moves, the number of correct/incorrect moves, ratios, etc. In addition, you can increase or decrease the level of difficulty by increasing or decreasing the number of cards. These fun projects can surely help you improve your coding skills.
Stuck at Home, Yes; Stuck in Your Career, No
Just because you are stuck at home doesn’t mean you should be stuck in your career, too. These are just some of the ways to take advantage of extra time and stay sane during the quarantine.
Sooner or later you will survive the pandemic and resume your tech career journey. Once this day arrives, wouldn’t it be great to emerge with new skills and knowledge?