project related

Embarking on yet another project!

It’s another one of those days! I can’t help it: I’ve been inspired and have the urge to make something awesome. This happens quite a bit in the world of Thomas. The creative part of my brain throws project ideas into my head all the time, but the practical side of my brain usually isn’t interested. Today, it seems both sides of my brain fully agree; it’s time to get to work on something. But what sort of “something” should I work on?

Lately, my project choosing criteria has shifted a bit. I simply don’t have time to work on things that are solely “fun” anymore. That would be great and all, but the “fun” projects tend to be less practical. I’m at the age where my projects should be more than just personal entertainment; they must have a practical side. Here is the criteria I’ll be using to decide which project I’ll embark on. The project I choose should:

  • Be seen as useful or “cool” to someone other than myself. (AKA, it needs to have real world value)
  • Provide an opportunity for me to learn new skills and improve on current ones.
  • Relate to one of my interests or passions.
  • Serve as a manifestation of my work ethic and personality. (AKA, I need to be proud of it)

Using the above guidelines, here are five ideas for my upcoming project.

Idea #1 – Public Java Plugin

In 2014, I created a Minecraft Bukkit Java plugin that received over 5,000 downloads. Looking back, I see lots of things that I would have done differently today. Instead of re-creating it, my idea is to design, develop, and launch a brand new (un-related) plugin that would (hopefully) appeal to a much broader audience. Instead of focusing solely on the development side of things, I could expand my skills by putting more emphasis on what happens after the product has launched. Providing support, building popularity, getting positive reviews, adding requested features, and making improvements, are all things I could focus on after the software itself is finished. There is a LOT that goes into creating a project like this from scratch, but based on my current schedule, I think I’m up for it!

Idea #2 – Pixel Art Asset Pack(s)

Two things that I’ve always loved are graphic design and game development. By creating video game art, also known as “sprites”, I can combine both of these passions. Instead of creating sprites just for personal use (like I have in the past), I would design an entire sprite package around a certain theme and release it on various asset marketplaces. Here’s an example of what I mean. This type of project would show off my creative side, which is definitely something I’ve been meaning to do.

Idea #3 – New Hire Handbook

I currently work in an office that hires new employees somewhat frequently. When someone joins the company, a manager brings them up to speed and trains them personally. Although this gets the job done, it requires extra time and effort from our managers, which can be a problem. For this project, I would create a handbook explaining all of the company’s policies and procedures for each department. That way, when a new hire joins the company, they can simply read the handbook rather than having a manager explain everything. Not only would a handbook shorten the amount of time managers spend with new hires, but it could also be used as a knowledge base for when they have questions in the future. As long as my company allows me to show it off, I can use this project as an example of my constant desire to make business processes more efficient.

Idea #4 – Operations Interviews

There is often a goldmine of knowledge hidden within the minds of those who make a business tick. For this project, I would interview operations managers, business owners, or other similar roles in order to get a better idea of how important they are to a business. The interviews could be compiled into blog posts, podcasts, or videos (maybe all three!). This would help me learn about the operations related roles, and could potentially provide value to anyone on the internet who happens to read, listen to, or watch this content.

Idea #5 – Tech Guides & Tutorials

For an entire month, I could write guides and record tutorials for a niche audience. The key would be to find specific tech-related problems that don’t have any public or free solutions available on the internet. I would then create tailored content on how to solve that problem and publish it where on websites where people ask questions about it. The guides could be related to anything, but the first topic that comes to mind is programming, since there are literally endless amount of specific problems I could create content on. This project would mainly serve as an example of my written and verbal communication skills.

Some of these ideas, I would enjoy more than others, but all five options are certainly do-able. I’m giving myself one month to complete the project that I choose. However, if I have extra time, I might go ahead and work on another one of these project ideas. For now, I still have a few days to decide…