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How to best split your time between work and side projects?

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Entry-Level Software Engineer [SEP] at JPMorgan Chase2 years ago

For people who work on side projects: I was wondering what is your system when it comes to coding at work and then coding after work? How do you divide your time effectively between the two?



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    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    2 years ago

    First thing's first: Make sure you're doing well at work before spending any effort on side projects. Stay in sync with your manager about what's expected of you (our performance review session is linked below to help with that), and make sure you hit those goals. This is why side projects aren't for everyone: Some people have jobs that are too much, so they don't have energy to code more after work.

    That being said, here's how I approached side projects:

    • I made sure I was in a good state at work, delivering what was expected.
    • After work, I would go back home and hack on side projects for 1-2 hours, assuming I didn't have commitments with friends/family.
    • My goal was to turn side projects into a habit. This naturally works with how I prefer to build side projects: Build a v1 quickly, release it, and then make it a little better every day. So every day, I would try to add a new feature or fix a bug, usually requested by a user.
    • If there was something I was trying to learn at work (e.g. showing a content card with shadow), I would try to incorporate it into my side project cleanly first. And then the next day at work, I could copy-paste the side-project code into my workspace!

    Related resources:

  • 1
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    3 months ago

    To side-step your question: there are 104 days per year where you don't need to context-switch between your 'day job' and 'side job': weekends!

    If you have the privilege of free weekends, use them.

    I highly recommend these case studies:

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    Junior Software Engineer @ Shopify
    2 months ago

    This is not supposed to be a bragging post but I have been managing part time school + full time job + hackathons/projects for 3 years now. I think I'm in the extreme end so I recommend sticking with your job + projects. But if you are truly motivated, you'll wakeup at 6AM and grind out side projects till say 9AM on Saturdays and Sundays. Again the key here is motivation. I cannot live without personal projects as building stuff on the side has been a hobby since I was 13 years old.

    Figure out why you want to do projects on the side. You'll automatically find time for them 😄