Friday, May 18, 2007

A small side project can be just the motivation you need.

Some of us entered programming because we have a passion for it. Work tends to smother that passion, but a small little utility app or a personal project is all it takes to remind us of the enjoyment this profession can bring.

A personal example is some recent burn-out I was suffering. Work was getting to me, and I was tired of my main project; I will go so far as dreading it. A friend asked me to write a simple app. Just something to take a downloaded OFX file and modify some fields to match how he would prefer to track his accounting. I managed to write the program and deliver the first build to him in under an hour. We spent the next hour trying to figure out why Quicken refused to import the modified OFX. When everything was fixed in the third hour, the end user declared it a stunning success.

It renewed my interest in programming. I felt success and it was good. The next day I went into work, ready to make the larger project a stunning success. Of course, that was the same day all of AOL's servers went up in flames.