Programming for fun

On November 7, 2012

Have you ever programmed for fun? Did you spend days together programming, without the slightest intention of earning anything from it? If you haven't, try doing it at least once.

I mean try to make something only for fun. The only intention behind doing it should be to have a good time programming, and see what cool things you can do.

I think most people who love programming, should have done something like this, just for the fun of it.

We watch movies, listen to songs, play games when we want to have some fun. So why not do some programming for fun too? Just for the pure joy of programming and creating something new. Nothing else.

When you do programming without any pressure, without any supervision, you are likely to come up with cool new ideas. This is what makes it interesting. Coming up with a challenge yourself, and feeling a certain kind of joy when you actually accomplish it.

A good way to test this approach would be to start with something small. Small, but challenging enough to make you think logically, and yet small enough to be completed in few days/weeks.

A good time to do such projects would probably be, when you are learning a new programming language. When you start programming by doing actual projects, you learn plenty of things in a short duration of time.

I remember making Tic-tac-toe game in C, during my college days. It was, maybe, around 100 lines of code where 2 players can play against each other. It was simple to make, but I really enjoyed doing it. Maybe that's why I still remember it.

What would you like to make that will make you happy? It can be a simple program that gives some funny response based on your actions, or even a tiny little game that you can show to your friends.

You can even try making small apps for iPhone or Android. Many teenagers do that, and I think it's really good way to learn about other essential qualities, besides programming, that are required to succeed in the outside world.

Just to give you another example, I like using simple apps and games. So when I was using the default calculator app on my iPod, I wondered, if it was possible for me to make the simplest calculator in the world(Please don't mind the exaggeration, I think about making things, as simple as possible, all the time).

A calculator that contains only those basic minimum features which I actually use in real life. Not a single extra unnecessary button or feature. So I made this app, and use it all the time since then.

But, this is just a tiny personal example. If you just look around you will find tons of examples where someone had plenty of fun in creating a new product, like Steve Wozniak creating and simplifying complex circuit designs for the first Apple computers, by drawing them on paper!(as mentioned in his book iWoz).

Programming is fun, and there are also programmers who have lot of fun when programming and innovating things. The first example that comes to my mind is the story of the makers of Doom game as described in the book 'Masters of Doom'. It's just as entertaining as any Hollywood movie.

When you are starting out as a programmer, this kind of fun and excitement is very essential. Without it, you may feel programming as a chore, and won't enjoy doing it as much as you could have.

So, have some fun, and take things lightly every once in a while. Who knows? Your fun little pet project could turn out to be a huge successful product.

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