til/learn by doing side projects

I can honestly say that building a bunch of side projects has made me a better developer. I get to actively work on different problems, try new things and improve my knowledge. Dan Abramov has the same take on how to become a better frontend developer: "Build a UI. Build a UI. Build a UI…".

Practice makes perfect

Have one specific project, a project you know exactly how you want it to work, to test out new ideas, technologies, and frameworks on. If it contains multiple parts, like interacting with an API or how to contain state, it's a perfect project to evaluate new technologies with.

In his book Atomic Habits, author James Clear writes about a university professor that split his photography class in two groups. One group would be graded on quantity, i.e., as many photos as possible, and the other on quality, i.e., only one photo (better make it a good one). The best results came from the quantity group. They got the chance to take a bunch of photos and could learn from their experiences which produced better results.

The more you repeat an activity, the more the structure of your brain changes to become efficient at that activity. This was first described by Donald Hebb in his book The Organization of Behavior in 1949. It's commonly known as Hebb's rule: “Neurons that fire together wire together.“

Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment – Zig Ziglar

You can potentially learn even more by Learning in public. Learning others means that you need a better understanding of the problem in order to convey it effectively.

James Clear. (2018-10-18). Atomic Habits