5 Hobbies For Programmers To Sharpen Their Minds And Skills
Programming requires concentration and dedication, plus, deliveries can be extremely stressful and hectic, so it’s crucial to create a perfect work-home balance.
Engaging in a hobby is one of the many things programmers can use as a coping and relaxing mechanism and, if it doesn’t involve coding, even better! Yet, there are a few hobbies that besides relaxing and fun can sharpen your skills.
We selected 5 hobbies that can proudly wear our in-house developers’ ‘stamp of approval’:
What is programming if not writing? In the end, you’re writing lines and lines of code. Writing is an excellent hobby to relax yet sharpen your coding skills and even your expertise on several subjects.You can get started with articles related to your own work and position, focusing on programming and technology, or go for something different, like one-shot adventurous stories. Start your own blog or use websites like Medium to share your articles if your interests suit the platform, or write for fun and share your adventures with a community that matches your writing style.Writing is an activity that benefits you intellectually, physiologically and emotionally, improving your memory, retention and even greater feelings of happiness.
‘Writing allows me to explore my imagination. I can write based on what I already know or conceive my very own places and events. Writing gives you total control, you decide what you want to explore. I can pinpoint similarities between coding and writing: by coding I’m also bringing something to life, either it’s a personal project or someone else’s. Besides, you have to be careful while writing: grammar must be checked and pay attention to avoid repetition and linguistic mistakes, which is quite similar to writing code!’ – Tiago Fonseca, Junior Developer
Unless you’re doing freelance work, chances are you’re coding with a team.
Cooperative Games such as League of Legends, World of Warcraft and CS, not only develop your communication skills but how you perform in a group context. They enhance cooperative tendencies to reach a common goal, just like when you’re working on a software development project with your colleagues. You’ll also be able to develop leadership skills, which will translate into a better job performance if you’re a senior developer or even considering becoming a project manager. Coordinating a team is pretty much the same, either you’re playing as an elf or at the office, managing the communication between developers and stakeholders.
‘Co-op games taught me that everyone has an important role when we’re aiming for the same goal. Our strengths will compensate for others’ weaknesses and vice versa, and team play is a practical example that it’s good to follow the advice of the ones who are more experienced than you. The leader role is extremely important: without a proper leader things can go wrong quickly!’ – João Meireles, Junior Developer
If you’re a programmer, you probably played or at least, know someone who likes to experiment around this teeny-tiny computer. Raspberry Pi is a SBC (single board computer) and extremely popular! There’s an entire community dedicated to Raspberry Pi and full of enthusiasts that use the precious little computer to develop personal and out of the box projects.
You can easily find step by step tutorials and unlimited lists about small and easy-peasy projects so you can get started with your own Raspberry Pi.
‘Raspberry Pi is really handy when it comes to prototyping but you can also have fun with it. Run classic video games with emulators (turning your Pi into a ‘Retropi)’, create a media center and upgrade your not so ‘smart’ tv into a smart one, or simplify daily tasks by creating a quirky automated irrigation system for your garden, which is quite easy due to Pi’s complete solutions – you can even print 3D casings with its 3D schematics.’ – Tiago Borba, Senior Developer
From our experience, we can tell most programmers are into logical games – you’ll find a rubix cube in every room of our office. It makes sense, because logical skills are extremely important in programming. Deductive thinking is the key to solve and win these games, either it is the old but gold Tetris, the sunbathing perfect company Sudoku, or modern mobile and console based games such as Minesweeper, Antichamber, Braid and The Witness.
Why not improve your memory and analytical skills while having fun?
‘Logic games help you to keep practicing small math problems in a fun seamless way and a lot of times force you to think outside the box and reach a solution in ways you probably would not have thought of in a regular situation.’– Daniel Paiva, Junior Developer
Play A Musical Instrument
If you’re into music, playing a musical instrument is also a very good idea. If we put our thoughts into it, there’s a lot of similarities between coding and music – both fields require the learning of processes and playing a musical instrument develops the brain areas that process math and language, while improving analytical and fine motor skills, as well as memory, problem-solving and executive thinking.
‘Playing guitar requires complete focus. When playing, I’m able to relax and clear up my mind which reflects in my productivity levels. It improves my time management skills and focus. Playing guitar allows me to be a better professional and keep my learning skills sharp.’ – Carlos Ferreira, Senior Developer
Which hobby tickles your fancy the most? Do you think these activities would allow you to relax and become more skilful and attentive on your daily job?
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