[DSP] Get noticed! 2017

This is a part of my Daj się poznać / Get Noticed! 2017 series. It is for a contest where I have to write a blog post twice a week abd create a open source project. Read more about it here.

For the next few months some new content is going to appear on this blog. I decided to take part in “Daj się poznać” (dubbed as “Get noticed!”) competition. What’s that? In short:

  • For ten weeks in 3-months window you have to develop your own open source project and write posts on your blog.
  • There have to be two posts per week to count: one specifically about the project you’re making; the other can be anything tech-related.
  • Competition is directed to Polish community only (it’s not a strong restriction, but understanding of Polish language seem to be necessary), although you can write in English too.
  • This is the third edition. I tried to take part in previous one, but I failed.
  • I starts in March 2017.

The competition is targeted at two types of users. For non-blogging programmers - to encourage them to start writing. And for already-blogging ones - to motivate them to write more regularly. I obviously fall into the latter. I decided to use this blog for the purpose of the competition, not create totally new one, like in previous year. Project-related posts will start with [DSP] tag in the header.

The project theme

I’m not yet 100% sold on my choice of the project I’m going to develop, but I’m not going to discuss it here. However, since there are already a few days left to register, I want to share my thought about what might be a good theme for a project, for those undecided.

First and most important thing: do not choose anything close to what you do at work. I know it might be tempting. After all, this is what your field of expertise is and it will go smoothly. That is true, but on the other hang 3 months is long enough to become bored and burned out by performing pretty much the same things for, say, 11 hours a day.

That being said, here are some suggestion from me:

  • Choose completely different field in software development. Are you web developer? Then write a desktop application in QT. Or maybe a mobile one. If you mostly do front-end, choose something backend-heavy (or the other way around). This way you will broaden your horizons and it might turn out to be really helpful in the future.
  • Technology-wise, such contests are a good opportunity to learn some new language. However, be aware this is a “harder” route. You will spend more time exploring the language itself and the ecosystem, so keep the project scope relatively small. You won’t be able (probably) to deliver something big in such amount of time.
  • You can, of course, stick to technology you already mastered. But then try to inject something fresh in the stack. If you are infamous “Ruby on Rails developer”, try Hanami for a change. Using Ember.js? Learn React.
  • Try to solve some real problem. Don’t be afraid to do something that is already done, but differently.

Example 1

I play curling for already few years now. Among other things, it is quite important to keep some stats about player performance during games. So the idea would be to make a convenient mobile app for that. Even though I know that it would be used by maybe 40 - 50 people.

Pros: It is mobile app, so I don’t do web development all over again. It solves a real problem we have (those Excel spreadsheets are really not that great to use).

Example 2

Google Analytics is cool, but as a blog owner, I see some shortcomings in its design. After all, it is targeted at businesses etc. For example, if someone comes to my blog post from Reddit, reads it for 5 minutes and then leaves, GA won’t record the time spent on site and it would count such visit as rejection. The idea: build better analytics system for bloggers.

Pros: Although it is still web development somehow, it’s largely different from what I do on daily basis. It would require fair amount of devops skills, planning, architectural concepts, data storage designs etc. It would be very challenging, but rewarding. Plus, real-world problem!

To the fellow contestants

DSP hasn’t really started yet, but I already wish you all the endurance and creativity you will need. See you in comment sections and do not forget to add some notifications about new comments. Otherwise, you won’t be getting any heated debates. Also, do not forget to read and comment other people. This is really what this contest should be about: communication and feedback.

Good luck!

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