Home > Fun > What’s the most fun you’ve ever had… programming?

What’s the most fun you’ve ever had… programming?

Like every kid that’s ever owned a guitar, I dreamed of becoming a rock star. These days my only goal musically is to keep having fun playing music. Hey, and sometimes fake instruments are just as fun as the real ones!

Similarly, I used to dream of becoming a programming rock star. I wanted to be a speaker at conferences and have other geeks ask for my autograph. These days my only goal is to keep having fun playing with Java and any other cool languages I can get my hands on. Groovy is pretty high on my fun list these days.

Seems like a simple thing to do: Have fun.

Having fun is important. More important than being a superstar. More important than a huge paycheck.

I love asking other programmers what’s the most fun they’ve ever had programming. I especially love to ask this question when I’m giving technical interviews. More often than I’d expect, many programmers claim that their current project has been the most fun.

Riiiight. So, why are you leaving? Oh, I’m sorry, looks like we’re out of time – it’s been a pleasure speaking with you *click!*.

So what’s the most fun you’ve ever had programming? Your answer will reveal a lot about you.

My answer? It was a college project. I was on a team of three that made a functional Trivial Pursuit client/server game. Actually, the other two guys on my team were really busy with other activities so I did most of the coding myself. I spent two or three weeks of late nights to complete it. I completely skipped my final Philosophy project that semester so I could program (resulting in one of the only B’s on my college transcript), but it was totally worth it. I had a blast!

That was just one example of fun for me. I have many others like it aaaaand probably nearly as many projects that… fall on the other end of the spectrum, to put it kindly.

What about you? What’s the most fun you’ve had? What was so great about it? You might be surprised what you learn about yourself in dreaming up the utopian project setting. Of course, I’m assuming I’d be a part of your all-star team! Right? RIGHT?!

So, like I said, I don’t care about being a programming rock star, but that didn’t stop me from picking up a copy of Rock Star Programmers recently. I plan on reading it this month along with about a dozen (literally) other books (can you believe I’m just now getting started on this classic!?!). I still believe I’ll do great things in my career and I hope to find inspiration from the stories of others that have done great things and, more importantly, had fun in the process.

  1. May 5, 2008 at 8:12 am

    I’d say the most fun I’ve had on a programming project took place a little over two years ago, on a government client project. It wasn’t a spectacular project per se; it’s near and dear to me rather because of the people I was working with. It was just a web app, using a company-owned custom web framework (that Struts would have run rings around), but it was a great project to learn on. I also had a large say in the design and implementation of the views, and getting to visually design how everything looked was a blast for me.

    And it’s a good thing I didn’t have you for a technical interviewer, Marc! While it was the most fun project I’d ever worked on, I was also very much in the mindset that it was time to leave that company. It was the company and its policies that made me decide to leave, despite the fact that I knew I’d be leaving a great project. So I know you were joking, but others reading this shouldn’t be too quick to judge when looking at new candidates who feel that their current project was “the coolest thing” they’ve ever done.

  2. May 6, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    As I think back, I can think of several possible answers to that question, so I’m not going to list them here. But I noticed that the projects I had the fondest memories of were not because of the product, not because of the technology, not because of the location. By far, it was the other people on the team. Conversely, the ones that were the least fun were often things I was doing on my own, or with one of those “interesting” teams, if you know what I mean. Good team mates + good comradery = fun work.

  3. May 7, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    I had a whole lot of fun doing a Game Design project in college. It was a two-person project, and my partner and I decided to do 3D Tetris using Python and Panda3D. It turned out to be really cool and a lot of fun – we had different camera angles, multiple soundtracks, a head-to-head mode that you could play over a local network, and a ton of other cool things. We designed the blocks ourselves and I spent hours using Paint to make them look nice. Unfortunately, we had to turn the project in with a few usability problems, but even after we turned it in, I still spent hours on it making it more usable.

    I think I really enjoyed the project because (a) I liked working with the other guy, (b) I enjoyed learning a new language, (c) doing 3D graphics was a new and exciting thing for me, (d) I had a lot of control over the end product and how it turned out, and (e) I thought it turned out really well.

  4. Kurt
    May 8, 2008 at 10:22 am

    The most fun I have ever had programming was my senior project in school. We had to design a gallery for a non-profit animal rescue group. Our budget was $0, but our schedule was long considering the complexity of the project. It was determind that I would be in charge of most of the coding.

    The fun was the fact that was decided to do it in php (their existing site used it). I had never touched php before, but with outward confidence, we said we could it. Inside I wasn’t so sure (I’m a bit of a rookie). It was kind of like someone throwing a parachute out of a plane, and jumping after it, hoping to get it before we hit the gorund. In the end it worked out well and I loved figuring out how to jump every hurdle.

  5. Eric
    May 8, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Definitely my senior design project in college. It was a front end UI to setup input parameters to an old Fortran program that would simulate the explosion of a missile on a tank. It was a little more complex than that but that’s the basic idea. In addition to the front end setup, we also took output from the Fortran program to generate a 3D model of what the explosion might look like. I got to work with the 3D model part. It was a blast!

    My teamates were all friends, which made for a great team. That does make a big difference.

  6. Andrew P.
    August 6, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    I’ve have quite a few times that were really fun. One of which was an algorithms project in college. I created what’s called a Fibonacci Heap. It’s basically a Heap Data Structure that has constant amortized time for inserts and retrieval (fastest you can get)…I guess it’s just the math nerd in me that really made that one fun.

    I’m also having really loving the current stuff I’m working on on my own time. I’m working on a custom JavaScript library for a lot of fun utilities. It’s one of the first times since college that I’ve spent my own time (not at work) working on coding at home.

    I have a ton of other times (especially during college) that I had a great time programming…so if you want to discuss more, let me know…

  1. August 12, 2008 at 5:08 pm
  2. December 31, 2009 at 3:17 pm

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