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Ask HN: What is your job role and what are the side projects you are working on?
37 points by aryamaan on Mar 8, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 65 comments
The question in itself is self-explanatory. Please mention your normal day job role (backend developer, full stack engineer etc) and what are the side projects you are doing currently. This question is about having insight about what people are doing.

I was hired as a Data Engineer for my skills in Scala, AWS, and other data technologies. I ended up falling into Backend Engineer (also Scala) as our core services needed significant support. From there, I drifted into Operations as our infra and deployment processes were negatively impacting QOS and the time from code-to-prod.

In my spare time I:

  - made a shitty personal website[0] for kicks

  - maintain an npm package[1]

  - contribute to SecureDrop[2]

  - run the not-yet-live BerlinLeaks[3]

[0] - https://heartsucker.com

[1] - https://github.com/ehartsuyker/node-deb

[2] - https://github.com/freedomofpress/securedrop

[3] - https://berlinleaks.com

I see. Your site is shitty and good simultaneously. berlinLeaks is a nice idea but I don't see any posts on it.


There's nothing there because setting up SecureDrop is a pain in the ass. These (among others) are errors I hit while trying to get it running:





I'm a full stack web developer and I created https://www.quirkycushion.com last week. If it gains any traction then I plan on setting up sister sites for other products.

I read the book http://www.startupbook.net/ which says to pick a niche which is why I will have several sites each focusing on one product rather than one site with multiple categories.

I'm the team lead for WP All Import and WP All Export: http://www.wpallimport.com

We're a niche little WordPress plugin that allows users to import data from any source - Excel, CSV, XML, JSON, SQL, etc. We recently launched our exporter which will turn your WordPress data into a custom Excel file, CSV, or XML.

My side project is a little plugin to help manage different server environments: https://github.com/joeguilmette/wp-local-toolbox

I'm a backend developer;

and, for a long time, I worked on side software projects; but, when I get home, I'm often so tired from coding all day that I don't program as much at home anymore. Lately, I've been learning to play a midi-controller and maybe make some music :)

Technical Lead, Xamarin Insights (https://xamarin.com/insights)

Side Projects: https://github.com/skizzehq/skizze - High-throughput probalistic data structure service. Also working on it's Golang and Node.js client bindings (see the org.)

https://github.com/njpatel/grpcc - a nice-to-use gRPC CLI for testing/debugging gRPC services

https://github.com/njpatel/HiveKit - a British gas Hive Heating -> HomeKit bridge

Also working on another little utility for devs around sending files between machines, should be out by the weekend!

Technical cofounder of a SaaS company based in Switzerland.

Side project is a simple e-commerce website selling handmade jewellery (http://www.wiggles.ch) - I won't retire off it but I spend < 4h/month on the project and it pays the rent...

Work as a contractor doing infrastructure/backend work.

Wrote a Riak Go driver before Basho decided to roll their own: https://github.com/riaken/riaken-core

Writing a realtime programmable mech combat simulator in Haskell, the client in Unity3d, the first SDK in JavaScript: https://armoredbits.com

Big fan of what you are doing with Armored Bits! Keep it up :)

Normal day job: Professor of Mathematics at University of Washington (number theory). This is a tenured position, which gives me a lot of flexibility for "side projects". (http://wstein.org)

Side project: SageMathCloud, which is a collaborative web application to make teaching and research in mathematics using open source software easier and more accessible. (https://cloud.sagemath.com)

I plan to swap the two starting in June 2016, so that being a professor would then be my side project.

At work I am a full-stack front-end developer, working on:

https://wifi.garden - Public WiFi network advertising platform.

https://mykoob.com - School and education network/system.

And few school related web-apps for Russian school networks.

At home I also like to try back-end development and mobile app development, currently on weekends working on a Fiverr analog for Baltic market: https://faifsapp.com, writing myself the backend, API, frontend and mobile app.

Senior Programmer at Columbia University Center for Teaching and Learning. Mostly backend and devopsy stuff.

Side projects:

* content-addressed storage cluster with a REST interface: https://github.com/thraxil/cask/

* a circuit-breaker TCP proxy: https://github.com/thraxil/cbp

* cyclomatic complexity analyzer for Go: https://github.com/thraxil/cyclo

* python constraint solver: https://github.com/thraxil/constraint

* twitter to atom feed gateway: https://github.com/thraxil/intweet

* utility for checking linked media on a page: https://github.com/thraxil/mediacheck

* collect smoketest results and send them to graphite: https://github.com/thraxil/chimney

* web based feed reader (wrote my own when Google Reader shut down): https://github.com/thraxil/antisocial

* figure drawing timed pose utility: https://github.com/thraxil/zeuxis

* (semi) annual travelling charity art show popup event: http://artsho.org/about/

* blog: https://thraxil.org/

* my art: http://myopica.org/

* graduated interval recall flashcard web app: https://github.com/thraxil/sebastian

Day Job: Software engineer at a startup looking to break in to the AR/VR space. Exploring the VR tech scene and brainstorming product ideas.

Side Projects:

An app to remotely play youtube videos - https://github.com/agnivade/youremote

Implementation of Levenshtein distance in golang - https://github.com/agnivade/levenshtein

Wrapper of the scrypt api in golang - https://github.com/agnivade/easy-scrypt

Personal blog: http://agniva.me

I'm a lead client developer working with Unity3d engine. Right now I'm developing game/app that improves people's vision. http://www.cp3app.com/ (Yeah, I know the reputation that "brain training" apps have. But I also know that half of our office are scientists and chief chief has publications in peer-reviewed journals about this approximately each month.)

I'm participating in a month-long game jam right now, and lazily doing my own little stupid game, which is really just an excuse to finally learn to do some basic graphics myself. Also, music.

I just made a full-time switch from front-end developer to Android developer with the agency where I work.

Current side projects, nothing mind-blowing:

- Just launched a small developer swag site[0]. I know, not very original. It only carries a small amount of stickers right now, but 15% of every product goes to support its related organization or OSS project, or it goes to support a charity. So there's that.

- A little Mac toolbar utility for designers that tests color combinations against the WCAG. I'll be releasing it within the next two weeks.

[0] - https://developerculture.com/

Was a senior backend/full-stack Python developer, now considering career options, thinking about contracting or perhaps finding a remote position.

On the side I'm playing with Elixir/Phoenix and working on an experimental knowledgebase.

Developer/TL on a cross-platform template engine.

Current side projects centered on development on mobile:

- Dataflow programming on Android: http://flowgrid.org

- Tiny IDE for JavaScript: http://tidej.net


- Android "native" HtmlView component: https://github.com/kobjects/htmlview

- Quake2 port to WebGL (via Jake+GWT): http://quake2playn.appspot.com/

- kxml

project manager,

Working on the following projects

Devops Wiki https://github.com/Leo-G/DevopsWiki

Flask-Scaffold, A tool to quickly scaffold database driven applications with Python and the Flask framework


Backup Bash- A simple backup script written in Bash


Engineer The sarcasm fun task of helping the company clean up their technical debt and become an automated cloud company. It's a billion dollar company so I'll be done in 5 years.

Consultant on database engine design, I take CS papers and provide practical open-source implementation. I provide support for my own open-source project. I also customize software like Zookeeper, Hazelcast or Spark.

My primary 'side' project is in my profile. A have several other 'side' projects. But all programming I do is done for money.

Before I started consulting my current work was just a hobby. I also had other projects in astronomy and strategy games, but I canceled that. I spend way too much time on computer.

In London, I work as a consultant growing startups - but now I'm looking for a full-time role in growth/marketing/partnerships for a high growth tech company...

My side project is a hackathon/startup school hybrid focusing on creating entreprenurial solutions that tackle the challenges of diversity - http://www.startupandbloom.com/

Currently, I'm writing up press releases and sponsorship documents.

I'm a full stack developer from Ithaca NY doing contracting work via http://ququplay.com In my spare time I'm working on a scrabble like mobile game targeting Polish market called Literaki https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ququplay.l...

I'm currently working as a clerk in a government department. On the side, I'm taking courses on Udacity to make the jump back to the other side. (I'm a CS grad.)

Day Job: Full-stack developer.


- BedquiltDB (http://bedquiltdb.github.io), a json doc-store layer over PostgreSQL.

- NightChamber (http://nightchamber.com), a slow-web social site.

- various Clojure libraries.

- Screwing around with Elixir.

- I've been toying with the idea of building "the next github", no concrete progress yet. Not sure I'll ever make progress on that one.

Solo Entrepreneur and Conceptual Designer.

Working on the Wheatbin project management software and book: http://www.wheatbin.com

Early access to the software is available through my "Rule of Nine" deal (and helps me keep the lights on while I finish this): https://gumroad.com/l/ruleofnine

IT Project Manager, created a blog for storing outage report post mortems. The aim is that people will be able to search for EG "Cisco and Apache" and get back all matching reports:


Working as Full Stack Software Developer.

- Get browser details (http://getbrowserdetails.com)

- SpotTrek ionic mobile app (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.metatrek.s...)

Front end developer, current side project learning React with a Chrome extension to show London Underground status https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/london-underground...

PhD student in applied Math at UCL in London. Side project is public engagement: short documentaries about academic research (http://knowitwall.com ); My role is web developer (starting learning web dev from scratch which was and still is overwhelming but fun :) )

Front-end developer, in Melbourne Australia

Put together an ecommerce website in two days and a photo of my dog, https://www.americanyarns.com.au incredibly rewarding and pays the rent Also 3 or 4 projects related to helping high schoolers to find their first dev jobs

Day job: full stack software dev.

Side project:

A blog: http://trainerminds.com/

The engine of the blog is this one: https://github.com/spf13/hugo

It's a static blog engine, it's like jekyll.

Senior developer.

Side project #1 is a Chrome plugin to record user actions on a web page and use the data to automate end-to-end testing with Nightwatch/Karma and Selenium.

Side project #2 is a Chrome plugin to add tags to web content (anything, but it's intended for tagging usernames) and share the tags between groups of users.

Full stack Python/Django developer, recently launched a web podcast client [0] using Go and ReactJS. Currently playing with Phoenix/Elixir, React, Vue and Go.

[0] - https://podbaby.me

I'm an Android/Rails contractor.

I've built a boilerplate project for starting Android apps using Clean Architecture: https://github.com/dmilicic/Android-Clean-Boilerplate

I'm an iOS dev. I spent one month in Feb building https://emoji.cool :)

Choose an emoji and put it on your customized t-shirt

Stack: Ember, Stripe, AWS Lambda, plus other AWS services... It's kinda fun building something "physical" :)

Do you get clients?

I'm a data scientist and also a full stack developer and my side projects are http://www.hellobox.com and http://www.heystartup.com

Freelance web/c# dev, and my side project is a voice command and control system for star citizen(similar to voice attack but with fullscreen overlay and natural speaking - sites currebtly down while i switch hosts and domain name though haha).

Web developer (recently started on Nodejs, prev: Rails).

Side projects include evaluating the use of NginX as an app server (ref: open-resty). I am overwhelmed by the abundance of web frameworks available and the never-ending list of tools/libraries to learn.

Customer Success Manager at CoScale

Side projects:

- Felt: front-end load testing https://github.com/kidk/felt

- Pomodoro timer with stats (not public)

- Map of glutenfree restaurants in Ghent (not finished)

Starting new job next week as an R&D Analyst for a leading payment processor, moving from an Android Developer position.

Side project is automating eBay / Amazon Arbitrage (Dropshipping) using Go / Java. Learning Go in the process.

Programmer in Campinas, Brazil, on a work pause recovering from RSI-related problems.

As personal research I'm slowly working on a 8-thimble predictive wireless keyboard and coming up with plans for a solar-peltier atmospheric water generator.

Job: InfoSec Analyst, Side Project: Mobile Dev: https://www.owasp.org/index.php/OWASP_Security_Shepherd

I am a Backend (Java) Developer and one of my most recent side projects I contributed to is: http://salaryaftertax.com/

Embedded developer/engineer, currently on automotive project

Side projects: * realtime audio guitar effect processor * clone of Buspirate on PSoC kit board * puzzle game for teaching digital logics and programming

Backend (Java) Developer. Side project: Slack app that removes trade-off between communication and productivity in software development teams. Landing page should be launched by the end of the week.

Working for KPMG on the helpdesk team. Side project: LogoMiner.com (Catalog of logo designs for a random discovery, design analysis and download) Project went live about 2 months ago

Lead developer for a small London based start-up. Side project is a Node.js community platform: http://nodeza.co.za.

Engineering team lead. My side project is an embedded key/value database: http://upscaledb.com

Off-Topic: By the way: http://imgur.com/KrLQ9a3 What is the first line :? Visited with a Lenny 2, Wiko.

thanks :) Will try to figure out how to fix this.

Nice. Any resources/books recommendation for those who are interested in coding similar project? e.g. ACID implementation, etc...

Btw, how is it going with sales?

I like the VLDB papers, and papers of similar conferences. But most of upscaledb's architecture is auto-didactic.

edit: this is a good book: http://db.cs.berkeley.edu/papers/fntdb07-architecture.pdf

I hope my sales improve as soon as I learn to do marketing ;)

Product Manager

Side Projects:

- https://trombone.io

- https://tab.bz

Big 4 technology advisory manager. The main side project I'm working on is a MOOC platform written in clojure (nothing to see yet, though).

Fronted software engineer for a HFT company.

Side project: UI framework over OpenGl for java, to be used for a 2d game editor, to be used for a 2d game.

I'm a Perl dev. & my side project is:


I'm a full-stack pancake developer, working on a new container implementation in buckwheat.

Program Manager, working on SaaS application to reschedule meetings based on user rules.

CTO. Side project to streamline the technical job application and interview process.

> what are the side projects you are doing currently. This question is about having insight about what people are doing.

I find it interesting that you ask primarily about side projects rather than just projects. Why are side projects more OK to discuss (or more interesting) than projects?

I think it is sometimes a bad habit to follow the impulse to pursue an idea as only a side project. Whether you're a line employee or a founder, I think there's value to seriously pursuing ideas that you believe to have merit and attempt to get traction behind them at your company. It's the path to career growth and success in both cases. Keeping an idea as a "side project" limits its potential success compared with sharing it with others at your workplace and attempting to establish consensus around it and simply doing it as a project. You learn a lot more that way, not only because you get feedback from others about the idea. (Are you invested in the idea, or not? I don't mean financially. Success does not come from investing in no ideas.)

Perhaps what you are asking is: "what are you working on that is too small for you have bothered to try to garner consensus around it with others, to get their support for your idea". Just a thought. Or perhaps your question betrays an anxiety about one's inability to influence one's employer by altering business plans -- that is to say, if you don't pitch an idea, then there's no opportunity for it to be rejected. That is the impulse that I think we should not generally encourage, since it does not promote growth; it allows fragile and bad ideas to survive longer than they should, and it probably stunts good ideas too. This is just my opinion.

All ideas also deserve a time where they're cultivating and premature to share with others. Perhaps you are asking, "Share an idea here that you have not yet shared with anyone".

Perhaps what you are implying is that it would be improper for someone to discuss what they're doing at their job, in the context of their role at their job. "I am a developer at X.com and I'm working on a project for X.com where ..." - perhaps this class of answer seems uninteresting for surface reasons. But why shouldn't it be interesting? Would it be boring to say, "I work at Comcast and I help transition our legacy IPv4 networks to IPv6", or, "I work at Google on an upcoming Google Compute Platform service", or "I help launch the Apple iTunes store in new countries and territories worldwide".

Perhaps what you're asking is, "What work do you do will benefit and be interesting to other engineers (e.g., building general purpose libraries and tools for other software engineers)?"

Sorry, I don't mean to be contrary. I like to play devil's advocate, and I think there's something interesting to dig into regarding what you intend to ask and the implications behind the question. There is a whole bundle of implications in that word "side project".

In many cases, side projects have absolutely nothing to do with one's mainstream work, so trying to have them gain traction at a company is moot. For instance, if I work for the government doing IT services, why should they sponsor my idea of creating a mobile game app?

so...how would you answer those different questions?

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