Software developer side hustles to keep your skills fresh


Analyse Covid-19 and save the World. See Kaggle's covid challenges and fetch daily data from Pomber on GitHub (e.g., these Bokeh graphs).

"Make good use of all that commuting money you're not spending," said HarryB.

Run your projects in a Google Cloud instance or spend it on a VPN.


The finance industry offers a great source of data to wrangle and also the promise of making some of it (money I mean). See Crypto Compare.


Write a tool to stress your cores and make a pattern. Perhaps a video?


Write an algorithm visualisation tool. (And implement the algorithms too.)

Learn a 3D modelling tool

It's just really useful for all sorts: building a house, moving office, 3D printing...

You can get stuff done with SketchUp but if you want to go in then learn Blender. It's a really steep learning curve but one day you'll have to build something and it will be invaluable. See a short film made with Blender.

Alternatively script it quickly with OpenSCAD and get back to the programming.

It's complicated...

Listen to "Understanding Complexity" by Scott E. Page to whet your appetite. See various complexity-based projects.

Create your own scripting language

Writing a compiler is serious but you can write a script parser in C++ that does something very quickly. Gets you thinking about some sticky edge cases very quickly.

Evaluate and return a result for these expressions:

  • 1 + 2
  • 1 + -2
  • 3 / 5
  • 1,000 x 5

Big data

It's not going away and it's only getting bigger. See a consolidated list of sources.

Write an open letter to your younger developer yourself

"If I'd known then all the things I know now..." -- see mine.


  • Tone generator (WAV processing is great to get back to basics)
  • Write your own DFT (Discrete Fourier Transform)
  • Generative music maker
  • Speech analysis


How do you run code on your GPU?

A coding problem to solve every day of December.

Document everything you know

It's a mammoth undertaking and you'll never finish but you have to start.


Even if it's showing somebody how to use Excel (which can be impenetrable if you're not from a techie industry).

Zip it

A multi-threaded zip tool.

Godbolt CLI

Like Gobolt compiler explore but available on the command line. Or perhaps a vi plugin?

See also

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