Side Project Overview
A subject that is frequently brought up by students, especially as they near the end of the program, is whether or not they should be working on side projects as a means to bolster their resume. While we cannot prevent students from working on side projects, we generally advise against the practice. The Holberton curriculum was designed to be highly rigorous, and side projects may serve as a distraction from school projects. In the rare event a student finds that they have spare time after completing school material, they should either take a break (they deserve it!), review any old material, write a blog post about the completed project, or provide help to other students that may be struggling. There is always more that can be done.
“Should I be working on a side project?”
Take a break
Some students find themselves so driven by the program that they push themselves to the point of exhaustion. There is no shame in taking a break. In fact, giving the brain time to rest is essential to forging long term memories of the material.
Review old material
Just because a project has been completed does not mean that a student retained all of the information. Like any technical subject matter, computer science requires review. If a student did not complete a prior project in full, they should go back and attempt to complete it. If they struggled or were unsure about any project, they should go back and work through the pain points again.
Write a blog post
Nothing helps cement a concept better than focused reflection. A blog post is an excellent way to continue learning about a topic. It is also an excellent tool for self-promotion via resources like LinkedIn or Medium. If a student has some spare time/energy, encourage them to take up writing a blog post.
Help other students
There are always students who need a little extra help with projects. Having some spare time is a great opportunity for a student to give back to the peer learning process. This does not mean that they should tell other students how to code their projects, but discussing concepts can be highly beneficial to the learning process.