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We come across few common questions from many of the aspiring software engineers.

  • What should be my first project?
  • In which language I should do the project so that I can get a good job? JAVA, PHP or .Net?

I replied to a similar question on Quora, you can check it out here. I see most of them missing the most obvious and important question.

Why should I do the project?

(In order to understand the importance of asking “why?” before you do anything, you can check out blog post from my colleague Abhishek)

Well, the most obvious answer is, it is part of the curriculum. Fair enough, but should this be the only answer?

According to me, the answer should be:

  • I want to solve a real problem.
  • I want to create something remarkable.

This is true for any project you want to start in your life, not just for your final semester project.

So how should I start my first project?

In my humble opinion, your first step should be reading (and understanding) following three books word by word. I believe they are equivalent of Bhagavad Gita for Software Product Development, Business Administration and Business Development.

  • Getting Real (How you should build a web-based product?)
  • Rework (How you should run a business?)
  • Purple Cow (Why the only way to success is being remarkable?)

When you start working on a project, your mind should change from a scientist, who is interested in looking for new things to a mind of an artist, who wants to have perfection in the objective of his creation. The objective should become creating something which solves a real problem. This will drive you to build something usable and remarkable.

Also do not take this just as a learning project, take this up as a project which would become commercially viable and it would go all out and will be used by real customers. This will drive you to learn all aspects of the product and business on your own.

So coming back to the original question

What should be my first project?

The obvious answer is “Scratch your own itch (Solve your own problem)”. As an example you can refer 4 Apps on a weekend. There are a lot of such examples on the Internet.

You should keep following such blogs and newsletters, which keep you in touch with creative people solving real problems.

I would emphasise on following the Hacker Newsletter. It’s a weekly newsletter and it has the best curated content of “Hacker News”.

In my opinion, if you can get clarity on why? and what? the third question (which language?) will become very easy to answer.

Please share thoughts and experiences of your first project.

  • Posted on January 16, 2014

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