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How do you allocate time for side projects and upskilling as a senior engineer?

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Senior Software Engineer at Taro Communitya month ago

I have been looking to switch tech stacks for a while now and although i have made progress in upskilling, its quite a slow process. Work responsibilities always take over and leaves me little time for my own learning or side projects. Also i feel like there are tons of things to learn every single time i sit down. Could you help me with some tips to go about learning and deal with overwhelm when it comes to learning in tech?

Also, another reason this is hard is because the reward I get for spending more time on office work is immediate and helps me feel safe in terms of job security, but of course in the longer run it wont keep me happy which is why i need to spend more time on my education outside of work.

Thanks!

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(2 comments)
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    a month ago

    Totally get the feeling of work impact being immediate while side project learning feels more distant. Anyways, my advice here is 2-fold:

    1. Cut straight to the chase - As a senior engineer with what seems like a solid scope of work, you won't have tons of hours after work to learn. This means that you can't be inefficient dawdling around with endless tutorials, books, and videos. You should jump straight into the code ASAP. As I talk about in my code quality course, the best way to learn how to write good code is to write lots of bad code. Embrace writing that bad code and optimize for publishing whatever your side project is. When I picked up Android in 2013, the online resources were terrible, so I didn't have a choice! I had to jump straight into coding and getting my hands dirty, and I had so much fun, publishing 30+ side projects with ~5 million users combined.
    2. Create tiny milestones - This is super important for work, and it's important for side projects too. By decomposing your side project into tiny chunks, you are "hacking" your brain to feel accomplished sooner and more often whenever you complete a chunk. Follow the advice here: "How do I make software less overwhelming?"

    Here's some general productivity advice as well so you can finish up your work responsibilities with less time: [Taro Top 10] Time Management And Productivity

  • 1
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    Senior Software Engineer [OP]
    Taro Community
    a month ago

    Thanks @Alex, jumping straight into code seems to be the advise I needed, I make myself to through tutorials before doing anything hands on which takes tons of time. Thank you :)