Thoughts on “Turning Tech Hobbies into Side Hustle”

Last week month I read Turning Tech Hobbies into Side Hustle by Erik Dietrich and it led to me to analyse what I am doing and whether it is productive or a hobby.

Initially I thought the message of the post was extreme, but after consideration changed my mind. The message I initially got was aim for a direct reward from hobbies, Erik’s example being book sales from writing a book on F#. After further consideration I found a better takeaway was be honest with how you are spending your time. If you are learning something to satisfy your curiosity, don’t count that as productive time/career development. Later if you find that you are not happy with your career progress, you can evaluate whether that time is unproductive and could be better spent. From this perspective learning a new language is no different to other hobbies, you just need to be honest that it is a hobby.

With that, I decided to take a look at myself and ensure I was being honest.

Coincidentally, and maybe why I found the post extreme initially, something I have wanted to do is learn a functional language. Being honest with myself I do want to do this to improve my software development, not for my own vanity. Functional programming concepts are making their way into a lot of languages. Tuples and pattern matching are some of the features in the latest C# release. Erik is correct, that just learning a language does not have quantifiable value. When I do learn a functional language following his suggestion, or at least blogging about it, will produce more value. Learning a functional language is not high in my priorities, which I’ll come back to later.

Speaking at a meetup is something that is partly motivated by vanity, but not entirely so. I think it would be beneficial, for myself and for One Model, to get a bit of awareness from me presenting. It may also be possible to quantify the value of speaking. The main outcome I’m after is more candidates for recruitment, which is measurable. So while there is some vanity behind the motivation, there are valid reasons too. If I wait until I have something worth presenting, instead of just getting up there for the sake of speaking, I think I am approaching it correctly.

I don’t have a quantifiable outcome in mind for blogging. I wonder if Erik did when he started? I doubt he envisioned that he’d be getting paid to write blog posts for other sites/companies. I think I could get more out of this blog if I target a more specific audience. This blog promotes me, but I could be promoting One Model more with it.

This brings me to the last point I want to write about. I don’t think I’m the target audience for Erik’s post. I am a founder and partial owner of One Model and by working to increase the value of the company, I increase the value of the shares I own. I actually get maximum value from my personal time by spending it in ways that benefit both myself and One Model, and most of the time that is what I do. When I was researching Selenium, I was doing it so that I could create automated UI tests for One Model.

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Well, this took me a lot longer to complete than it should have. April was a busy month for me, but that’s not the real reason this took so long. Writing up the analysis of the post and myself ended up being more difficult than I anticipated and I let this take away my motivation. I’m disappointed I broke my weekly post streak, and that I have let a month pass without adding value to my blog. On the positive side I have finished this now and feel recharged. Time to get back into regular blogging.

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Thoughts on “Turning Tech Hobbies into Side Hustle”