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Surprising hobbies that improve your coding skills

Woman working from home on sofa with laptop.

ARTICLE SUMMARY

Programming, regardless of the coding language you choose to specialise in, requires a unique set of skills.

But you might be surprised to learn that your hobbies can help you develop stronger programming skills and increase your cognitive abilities for use when coding.

Dakota is a freelance writer who specialises in Digital Trends in Business, Marketing, PR, Branding, Cybersecurity, Entrepreneurial Skills and Business Growth.

In this article, Dakota Murphey takes a look at some of the hobbies that can improve your coding skills and the reasons why you should spend time on them. 

Dakota is a freelance writer who specialises in Digital Trends in Business, Marketing, PR, Branding, Cybersecurity, Entrepreneurial Skills and Business Growth.  You can find her on Twitter: @Dakota_Murphey

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO DEVELOP SKILLS FOR CODING

In today’s digitally-focused landscape, being tech literate is incredibly important. But it’s not enough to just know how to use Microsoft Office — learning to code is a skill we should all be developing now, particularly young people who will soon be entering the workforce. It’s widely agreed that programming is a thought-intensive activity, requiring intense focus, problem-solving and concentration. For this reason, it can be beneficial to develop those skills to improve your coding abilities, in addition to learning programming languages. 

Hobbies encourage calm and relaxation, which helps to alleviate mental fatigue, but they also help to boost creativity, hone your problem-solving skills and develop critical thinking skills, all of which is advantageous for your coding career. If you’re unsure where to begin, these are some of the top hobbies that could be worth pursuing to aid your programming skills.

WRITING AND BLOGGING

Writing may feel like an unusual addition to a list of hobbies to improve your digital skills, but it actually offers several benefits for programmers. Writing or blogging develop cognitive skills that are essential for coding and it also helps to improve your communication skills, which programmers need to have to work effectively as part of a team or work with clients. And you don’t need to be writing whitepapers to reap the rewards — even casual journalling can offer the same benefits. 

If you want to step up your writing game, blogging gives you a public platform for your words and could be a great opportunity to share your expertise and widen your network. When we write about a topic, it strengthens our knowledge of that subject, and blogging can build your technical skills for this very reason. 

PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEOGRAPHY

A wonderfully creative hobby that offers so much scope for trying new things and developing a new skill set, photography and videography develops your patience, your problem-solving skills and your visual creativity. Programmers are likely to enjoy the challenges that a visual hobby like photography offers, because coding can be such a theoretical subject that doesn’t always come with that aesthetic component. 

If you want to strengthen your coding skills at the same time as developing your hobby, why not develop a YouTube channel or live stream about your coding expertise, working on programming projects and answering common questions about your chosen programming language? 

BOARD GAMES AND VIDEO GAMES

Board games enable you to think strategically, improve your logical thinking skills and improve your ability to make connections between seemingly disparate topics. Even better, role-playing games stimulate areas of the brain that are connected to complex thought processing and memory making. From analysing how a game will play out to creating winning strategies and predicting what other players will do next, games offer so much skill development that can be helpful for your coding journey. It’s a social way to lower stress, have fun but also improve your brain function for your day job. 

COOKING

There’s a surprising connection between cooking and coding. Cooking is a hobby which requires careful attention and precision in order for recipes to work out, and coding is very similar in that you need to understand how different snippets of code fit together to create the overall result you’re striving for. In just the same way as coding, cooking is a step-by-step process that requires you to complete each action in order to get the desired result, but it also offers room for experimentation and creativity. It’s a hobby that’s stress-relieving in itself but it also improves your attention to detail, something which is very important in the world of programming. 

OPEN SOURCE PROJECTS

Collaborating on open source projects is a popular activity among programmers, because not only does it provide you with an opportunity to develop your skills but it also provides benefits to other people when building larger-scale projects. 

From web browsers to games, content management systems and mobile apps, there are open source projects for all areas of coding, so you can experiment with languages or areas of specialism that appeal to you. Another benefit of working on open source projects is that it widens your network while also improving your coding abilities. Many coders choose to pursue this hobby because it offers so many benefits to their career, but it’s also fun and social too, giving you the chance to work on projects you might not have access to otherwise. 

Programming is an in-depth subject area that requires skill, expertise and a wide range of hard and soft skills, from communication and technical skills to analytical capabilities. But while your hobbies are a chance to take a break from work and switch off, you can choose hobbies that offer additional benefits to your career and programming skills. From the process-driven nature of cooking to the communication building skills of writing and the creative aspect of photography, you might be surprised just how beneficial your hobbies could be to your coding. 

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