How to Choose a Project

These are a few, and what we consider the most important, things you should consider when picking a project:

1. Is it within your skill range?

This is probably the most important consideration. Be honest.  These microcontrollers can do so many amazing things it is easy to find yourself with a dream that you just can’t produce yet. Nothing is worse than being frustrated and giving up, especially when it is easily prevented by choosing a project within your skill range. If you are finding yourself discouraged or overwhelmed by your project it is not because you are too stupid; it is simply because you are working on something outside your present abilities. That’s OK, everybody does it. Maybe you can break down your project into smaller pieces, or find something a little easier to start with, there’s nothing wrong with that. As long as you keep getting better at it than you were before then you’re doing it perfectly. (And the little-known truth is you can never really get worse so you’ve been doing it perfectly.) This can never be said enough: we all make mistakes, we all learn, we all grow. Nobody was born being a professional at anything, despite what the television or Youtube may want you to think. There are hundreds, if not thousands of hours, that go into some of these things, they are only showing the product.

2. Can you keep adding onto the project or use knowledge from it in future projects you have been dreaming of?

This is an important consideration following from the last one. OK, so your dreams of building a personal R2D2 to get you drinks from the fridge, hack you out of an imperial jail cell, and cook you breakfast have only produced a sticky keyboard, paranoia, and a fried circuit board. Still, you can and should start small. You could start by building a robot that actually moves first, then add remote control, then add automatic control. Then you can build a circuit that can detect heat. Then build another machine that can hold different objects. Put them all together and what have you got? Great minds think alike.

3. Do you really care about doing it? (What is the point?)

This doesn’t mean don’t build pointless stuff since you might be learning how to do something for the future. Also, FUN IS A POINT. We’re just saying to consider if you will care about it, pointless or not, because novelty fades fast and you might lose interest in the long run without a clear goal in mind. That being said, you kids only have a few precious years to get your parents to buy you things for your pointless projects: go nuts!

Okay, enough automatic weapons for one post. Please feel free to comment what you think is important to consider when working, some personal experiences, or just plain discussion.

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About pythagoraspberry

We are a team working on learning about and documenting our experiences using the Raspberry Pi system. Having had much trouble finding answers to basic problems, we hope that this website will be of use to many people getting started. We look forward to helping and being helped; inspiring and being inspired.
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