“Create. Not for the money. Not for the fame. Not for the recognition. But for the pure joy of creating something and sharing it.”

Ernest Barbaric

A key benefit of learning to code is the abundance of new opportunities it brings. Coders have the unique ability to problem solve through technology, which gives them the space to innovate. Some people use their new skill to grow a business, as a means to be creative––or even to grow their passion.

At least that’s what we strive for at Zip Code Wilmington.

While Zip Coders are hard at work in bootcamp, they must apply their newly acquired knowledge to create something tangible. We like to call it their “passion project.” Although, this passion project is a requirement of the program for all students, it also stretches them to bring to fruition an idea they’ve had but never had the skills or time to create. (Let’s be honest, we all have one grand idea — app, game or website— that we hope we’ll find time to create one day. Well, this is their chance!)

What is a passion project anyway?

A passion project is something that creates satisfaction, happiness and a sense of fulfillment. Often times, people maintain a passion project outside of their career field. The goal for Zip Code Wilmington is for students to take something that they’re passionate about and find a way to tie it into technology.

Here are a few cool apps that have come out of Zip Code Wilmington’s passion projects:

  • Gillian Reynolds-Titko completed a home gardening app named Harvester to remind her which days to water her plants based on their individual needs. She focused on this project as a way to expand on her hobbies.

  • Coder and natural hair enthusiast, Carina Blair, made an application called Tangled which helps people purchase hair products for their hair type.

  • With an interest in stocks and trading, Kyle Jackson, made a moving average based trading algorithm on Quantopian.com.

  • Hilary O’Neil,  made a simple calculator app to determine whether a property would be a good rental investment using information from Zillow.

These four examples are just the beginning of what is possible when developers put their technology skills to good practice toward their passion.

Need more reasons to take on a passion project of your own?  Here are three simple reasons why creating a passion project is a great idea.

  1. Passion projects increase overall productivity. When Google began its famous 20 percent rule (employees could spend 20 percent of their time exploring fun, passionate side projects), the result was a more productive, more creative 80 percent. Side projects boosted work performance.

  2. Passion projects bring happiness. Studies show that new projects that introduce curiosity and creativity increase happiness and fulfilment. Shawn Achor, PhD,  is a positive psychologist explains that one way to increase your happiness is to increase your sense of control over your life.

  3. Expand on your skills. Passion projects are the best way to get practice in a new skill without the mounting pressure of deadlines or outside input. Try to make the new logo, try out the new recipe, try the latest dance craze without needing it to be perfect. The more you practice, the more your sharpen your skills.