So you want to code for the house?

Another question inspired this blog post.  When you're a developer, the toughest part of learning new things is finding a project that's both interesting enough to want to do, and simple enough that you won't get frustrated and quit half-way through.  While every early developer probably wants to code the next first person shooter and make millions, most give up and settle for pong, or a text based game.

Finding that niche, that interesting bit of code to write can be challenging, so here's my advice.  Automate.  Code for things that you find tedious.  Code for things that you see other people finding tedious.  Not only are you able to create a time-saver in the process, but you're also creating a valuable product that may later sell.

One of the replies to the question named a few good ones.  Why not host a database to enter your monthly bills?  Then you could calculate power usage, and figure out whether the AC in the summer or the heater in the winter is costing you more.  You might even be able to put a specific money value to a change-over to compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs.

Monthly bills are something everyone can do, and they're also great for budgeting.  But the truth is, if you want to find interesting projects, you're going to have to look at the things you do every day.  Do you get annoyed trying to post to your favorite website?  Write a wrapper API around the posting tool and create your own that's easier to use.  What annoys you most?  Writing code to solve that problem is not only the most likely to be simple to write, but it's also the one that you'll see the greatest benefit from.  And you'll get to see the fruits of your labor every day.  It's just a good feeling all around.


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