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Ask HN: Chef by Day, Programmer by Night?
11 points by Poblamoce 3 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 5 comments
I work 200+ hours a month and I love my work and my profession, but I also have a real love for computers and programming. I study programming and computer security in my free time. I've recently been wondering if I could make a few bucks on the side with what I'm learning, but I struggle to find what specifically I could do. What are are my options, and what should I focus on learning? Is being a web dev my only freelance option? I doubt I'd be able to do anything where I couldn't work from home on my own time.

Also, for those of you who are in the same boat as me; how do you manage to juggle professions? Are you able to make time for things other than work in your life, or is your professional life all consuming?

Web dev here. I started a small food called https://thatfijitaste.com just to do something different, express my love for food and log the uniqueness of Fijian / Indo Fijian food.

Realized a few years later that it gets decent traffic from all over the world and slapped some google ads on it which now pays for hosting cost etc.

I would definitely recommend starting a blog/ recipe api or youtube channel to harness both your skills.

I'm pretty sure the digital + cooking space is huge, just look at the recipe sites, these are huge simply because there is a lot of demand, and therefore advertising

It could be doing your own Youtube channel, a website to order "cooking kits" for meals, an app to request a chef to your place when you want to do a dinner at home

Eventually, you come to understand what it is you want to focus on in your life. If you love both, then you do both for a time. You may have to go with one or the other at some point in your life, but keep them both for as long as you can. What I've found is that most people keep to a profession -- for me personally, I studied psychology in college and wanted to pursue it -- but the computer field paid more and since no one was hiring a Bachelors, and I had student loans due, I decided to go that route and never left.

If you stay doing both, you often find things to make your profession easier, as a chef, or for the industry itself. For example, I started a blog that keeps me connected to the aspect of psychology that I love. You might come up with building software that makes it easier to track sales so that companies can profit more and there will be less waste in your industry.

As a freelance web developer, you create the work and life you want. The same could be said of a chef who starts their own restaurant business. They have to figure out their menu, see if any of it is popular in their area, come up with new menu items or try to figure out the "main best sellers" (the items that always sell no matter the season or day). With web development.. you have to figure out the pains of an industry and come up with solutions that make it easier and then monetize it if you wish.

If you asked me 10 years ago if I'd be in the industry I'm in, I would've laughed and said working on the Internet full-time was not a reality, and yet, here I am -- working for two companies, started my own business (https://notetoservices.com), running a successful website that receives around 2 million visitors a month (https://confessionsoftheprofessions.com), and still doing some freelance work on the side. I also co-authored and published a book as well! (https://mylifeasawomanproject.com)

There's no limit to your professionalism and what you want to do. Figure out what you're interested in doing, and start it as a hobby, and charge some money on the side. Then once you have a portfolio and confidence, if you want to work for a company, start applying. I think I got lucky. I'm horrible at programming and math questions during the interview. So expect lots of rejection. Presume its going to happen. You'll cry less and start realizing that working for yourself is way better anyway. But to get in and work officially on the books for a company for a few years will teach you everything you hate and love about being a programmer.

You can always get a job as a chef, no matter how old you are, no matter what experience you have. Getting a job as a programmer is a bit more challenging with obstacles of knowledge, experience, and of course, ageism. So get in while you can and learn all you can. And while programmer jobs are a dime a dozen, there are hundreds of thousands of jobs in our field that go unfulfilled every year, while the food industry is very well saturated with people that can cook.

My main jobs before I established myself as a programmer/web developer were security officer and I worked as a retail clerk at a liquor store. Of course, there were many other smaller menial jobs than that, but... with enough education and determination, you can switch to whatever field you want.

You may have a look at Josh Kemp book “No degree No Problem”

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