I’m sort of having fun now on RentACoder (RAC). I’ve been taking on some pretty small sized bids just to get the hang out things. There’s some really weird requests now and then. It’s interesting, though, because a lot of the time the people requesting stuff have no idea what they really want. So when someone asks for, say, five separate reports that show essentially the same thing, I will challenge that a bit and make sure that is indeed what they really want and that they have a need for it. And then there are projects that just seem to have no real value to them, but that in and of itself is sort of a motivation to do it, if that makes sense. As an example, one guy wanted an application that would read a list of URLs from a text file and then load all of those sites one by one in new browser sessions. How weird. Maybe he has a few favorite pages that he goes to every day and he’s looking to schedule this so they are ready and waiting for him when he wakes up or gets into work. Or perhaps he’s trying to use it to abuse query strings on some sites so he can spam them with comments. Heck, he could even be using it to attempt to fluff stats for traffic, ads, etc. Who knows. I don’t really care, either, for the most part.
So far, the hardest part for me has been when I bid on a project and come up with some way of doing it in my mind and then the person chooses another bidder. It can be frustrating. I guess it’s good training, though, in the long run… since it forces me to learn how to turn on and off my development mind. Normally, I sort of just come up with whatever plan seems to make the most sense for the situation and then run with it. If it proves to be more involved or time-consuming, I’ll re-evaluate… Otherwise, I’m usually done with the project before most people would normally be anywhere close.
Stu’s got a few side projects lined up for me, apparently. He’s having me write programs or come up with suggestions for new ways his company can do certain things. Initially, he’s paying me out of pocket, but I think if there’s enough noticeable benefit from it, I think he’ll probably get recognition for taking the initiative to fix a lot of these issues that have been around for ages at his company and I may have an opportunity for larger scale or longer term projects over there if the need arises.