Thursday, March 26, 2015

5 Lessons Learned From the 30 Day Github Challenge

Today, I completed my 30 day Github challenge.  That challenge was inspired by others who came before me.  It was an adventure that took me through web applications and other scripts.  It was a worthwhile experience.  Here are my takeaways.

1.  You get a lot done
Even if any one day doesn't feel like a big accomplishment, it's pretty cool to look back and see what those little steps added up to.  Seeing progress on 9 different projects feels good.

2.  You appreciate the mundane
Commits focused on boring things like code cleanup, docs, and tests matter.  They shine a light on what's good or not-so-good about your project.  I uncovered bugs that might have otherwise not been spotted.  Some good dumb refactoring was also a great way to get commits in on those not-feeling-so-smart days.

3.  Your learning is project-oriented
This challenge encourages focus on projects.  There are some things that are best learned in that context.  The practical challenges of getting Flask and Angular to work together is one example that comes to mind.

4.  Life challenges your ambition
Life has a way of running interference on projects that require any sort of commitment.  Expect it and keep your daily ambitions small to take it into account.  I've grappled with a move to a new place and illness among other things during the past month.  Having tiny goals was a lifesaver for me.

5.  You get reacquainted with old code
Revisiting old projects is a great way to get commits in.  It gives you perspective to how you've come along as a programmer.  My final commit for this challenge was a 4-year-old addon I wrote for Blender.  In a way, it feels like reconnecting with old friends.

Take up this 30 day challenge.  It's satisfying, fun, and challenging.  You'll grow as a developer having done it.

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