Find value in “hobby apps”

Burnout is real so how do you balance your work schedule with the need for continuous learning? Technology changes continuously and employers are constantly seeking for someone who can keep up with the next iteration of tools. Unfortunately, you can’t always depend on finding an employer that will put the value on professional development that you should. There are some high-class employers out there that will take it seriously but you need to plan on doing this yourself. For this reason, consider adding “hobby apps” into your life away from work.

What is a hobby app? A hobby app can be any idea that comes to mind, outside of your work, with which you can practice learning new technologies. There doesn’t need to be a revenue opportunity, it doesn’t have to be the next big business tool, and it doesn’t have to be related to the software you develop at work. Additionally, and most importantly, it should not dominate your personal time. You still need your downtime! However, it represents a personal investment into improving your skillset. You can even repurpose the same idea for each language or tool you decide to explore.

  • Is there a programming language that you’ve been looking to learn?
  • Is there a new technology or service you’ve seen released that grabbed your interest?

These are only a couple of the opportunities where you could sit down once or twice a week in your personal time to implement your idea with new tools. With rapid change guaranteed in the field, spending a small amount of time now investing in your skillset is a wise investment into your future.

Consider Mentoring a Small Group

Mentoring is not always a one-on-one relationship. If you want to see mentorship spread, you need to empower others to become mentors and this needs to be provided in a manner where they aren’t simply thrown into the wild to make it work. For some, a more social experience, as a co-mentor, may provide a natural growth – an experience where they become confident leading discussions with someone other than yourself. This is where a small group may be of value.

One of the Many Reasons I Mentor

Have you ever found yourself explaining something to someone and then walk away from the experience with a greater understanding than you did before?

This is just one of the reasons I enjoy mentoring: I grow more as an individual, and as a professional, when I mentor others rather than lecture to them. I look forward to hearing other perspectives even if they differ from my own. In a discussion where neither of us readily have the answer, we both learn more through the experience by seeking it together.

In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.

Phil Collins
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