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How to stop procrastinating a side project?

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Junior Software Engineer at Taro Community25 days ago

I currently have 2-3 side projects that are OK. They had some usage, shows my skills in building non trivial software.

But it feels like if a project doesn't have 10k users then its pointless in this market and I feel hesitant to do a project because I have this go big or go home mentality

Also 10k users feels like such a massive goal and if im not able to hit it then all the hours spent is wasted. There's also no gaurantee that the project will ever hit 10k users. Plus getting to 10k users is not just a function of building good software its also basically going to need you to be a part time salesperson/marketer which feels annoying/I dont enjoy it

My main motivation to build a project is to get more interviews

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Discussion

(6 comments)
  • 1
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    Engineer @ Robinhood
    25 days ago

    Are you currently employed or not? That narrows down the details of your interviewing goals: is it to get a first job or a better job?

    • 0
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      Junior Software Engineer
      Taro Community
      25 days ago

      It's to get my first job

    • 1
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      Engineer @ Robinhood
      25 days ago

      Got it.

      • Pause interviewing. If you're not getting any conversions now, not interviewing is not going to change that state.
      • Pick 1 project that you feel like you're able to consistently work on the most and stick with it.
      • Prioritize shipping something out for real people to use. The less you need to do to get here, the better.
      • Respond to any feedback you get from initial users and push out updates.
    • 2
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      Junior Software Engineer
      Taro Community
      25 days ago

      Makes sense. I think i wouldnt say I'm not getting interviews but more interviews doesnt hurt. Last month I got like 7 callbacks of which I passed to 2 onsites, 2 first rounds from 300 apps

      This month I got only 1 callback (same resume same number of apps)

    • 2
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      Engineer @ Robinhood
      25 days ago

      Your first goal isn't the numbers: your goal is to build something people can comfortably use. If you build something good, the numbers will come naturally. What you're building effectively doesn't exist yet, so marketing is not a priority over building. Just focus on building something first.

  • 1
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    24 days ago

    Build something that you yourself would actually use.

    Tech is one of those weird spaces where you really get punished for not having the right intentions and mentality for certain things and side projects is one of those things.

    If you aren't able to have a more "pure" intention (fun, learning, helping others) and the only motivation is more pragmatic/ulterior, things will be rough. I would honestly say the main reason my side projects were so successful is because fun, learning, and helping others were my main motivations - I was barely even thinking about job opportunities or user count.

    Promotion is another good example of this. Engineers who only want to get promoted for level and money tend to struggle with it. Engineers who are more motivated by their personal growth and making themselves better at uplifting others around them (i.e. multiplicative impact) tend to get promoted faster.

    It's okay to want users, jobs, money, and clout, but having them at the forefront of your mind makes it easy to fall into a frustrated mental space as they aren't long-term motivators like genuine passion is.

    I totally understand that this decoupling can be hard though, especially if the job searching pain is getting to you. If you can't find a more organic side project idea that you're genuinely very excited about, I recommend funneling the time into other job-searching avenues like posting more on LinkedIn, networking/finding referrals, and making open-source contributions.