The Benefit of Side Projects

Posted 16 October 2018, in Development

We’re really passionate about working with like-minded people who understand the need to grow and improve. It’s the core of how we operate.

We asked Tom, one of our talented .PHP developers, to write a few words about how he stays on top of his game by taking on challenging side projects.  Over to you Tom…

At Perfect Storm, I generally work to provide technical solutions and support for clients with platforms built on the PHP language. This ranges from e-commerce solutions on WooCommerce and Magento, to bespoke large-scale Laravel builds, to streamlined WordPress brochure websites. I’ve been working with Perfect Storm for over 18 months now and has been a great agency to work with.

Working with Perfect Storm is a different experience to that of your typical agency, but in all the ways that are beneficial to both me and the client. With our extensive pool of freelance talent it means that we can keep running (and client!) costs down, whilst providing solutions that focus on their individual specialty rather than bending requirements to match our in-house skill sets. This allows the agency to be technologically agnostic when approaching projects, making sure the client gets the best resulting solution without limiting themselves to in-house talent.

During my entire agency life, I’ve always been an advocate for side projects for developers and designers alike. Side projects give us the ability to hone our existing skills and also learn new technologies without burdening a client’s brief and time. As a junior developer, it also acts as a fantastic buffer to an initially lacking CV, showing passion, commitment and skill to get them through the door and put them above other candidates.

Speaking from past experience, it’s very easy to fall into your comfort zone as a developer, as you’re hired to build what you’re already an expert in, creating a vicious cycle. With a personal project, you can push your boundaries and keep building on your core strengths. For example, I regularly work on an esports betting comparison platform named SickOdds, something in which I am implementing some really interesting API functionality and gradually introducing myself to Node and React.

Through my side project, I’ve met new friends, extended my personal and business network greatly beyond what it was before, and learned various things along the way. All of these points encompass growth as a developer and also helps keep me from burning out.