Building personal projects to grow your software development skills

When you are first starting out to learn a programming language and software development, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut with tutorials and watching videos etc. While it’s essential that you learn the basic constructs of any programming language, the real learning comes from trying it out and actually building something.

What should you build? This is a common question online, you often see new devs asking ‘what are some good ideas for building a personal project?’. It doesn’t matter what it is or what it does, just build something. As you build an app (e.g. a web app with a backend db), you’ll run into areas that you don’t know how to do yet, so use that as a jumping off point to grow skills in that area. Rinse and repeat.

Starting out you’ll find it will be slow going because there’s too many things you haven’t had to do yet (how do you package and deploy your app, if you need to deploy your app to a server, how do you install and configure the server, or how do you deploy to the cloud?), but you’ll work it out and grow your skills in the process.

As you get more experienced, you can pick projects to work with a specific skill or technology area to grow skills in that area, for example to grow skills working with a specific nosql database or anything new tech that you want to gain some experience with.

In the process of actually building something, you’ll find you’ll learn far more that just watching an online tutorial. Try it and see!

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