To embark on projects18 Apr 2018
Whether to progress technically or intellectually, or to build a portfolio, projects allow us to open our minds. Unfortunately, we don’t all have the same creative mind! When some people can easily imagine projects to do, others will go round and round wondering what may be interesting to do. I belong to this second category.
The choice of the subject
Every project starts with a need. This need can be yours or come from an observation you made. It’s always easier to start from a need because it will guide your choices and your thinking. If you find that you lack a tool in your environment, you can imagine developing it. Unfortunately, if you are alone, this project may take time and energy. Well, nothing is impossible, look at Mark Zuckerberg, he managed to develop the first stages of a social network all by itself.
In reality, you can embark on a project even if there is no need. Let’s illustrate my remarks with a concrete example: I developed a Python client for Troy Hunt’s HaveIBeenPwned API. There was no need behind because there are already dozens of Python clients for this API. Nevertheless, a project can allow you to challenge yourself. In this case, this mini-development project allowed me to discover Python libraries.
For those who don’t have imagination like me, you can look for project ideas on forums or elsewhere, talking with other people. Your acquaintances that is not InfoSec, or IT in a wider field, will probably have needs that you don’t have but you can try to help them.
In addition to a need, a project must allow you to progress on a field. You must challenge yourself, get out of your comfort zone. So in the beginning, I agree, it will be difficult to start. If you want to progress on a domain, you will have to force yourself to test new things, to apply principles or technologies. This can be testing an existing PoC (Proof of Concept), or the use of a new library. Maybe even by trying technologies that you didn’t know, the idea of assembling them in a project will be born.
To say yourself that you will not succeed will not make you progress. The human is afraid of the unknown but it’s necessary to overcome this fear to go further.
When you start a project, it’s important to make regular points to assess your work but especially to note the points where you progressed as well as those where you failed. Take the opportunity to write down helpful references, websites, books, or anything else that has helped you.
The idea is to follow your roadmap and enrich it as your project progresses. Moreover, it’s quite possible that ideas come to you once your project is launched! This roadmap will be the basis of your project and you will rely on it to write the documentation of your project and to explain it in your portfolio.
Thank you for reading me! I hope that my english isn’t so bad.