It started as a hobby.
It then grew to hobby++, or using my Wife's words, "an obsession". Some time ago I started tinkering with Unity, a video game development platform. With over a decade in the technology industry I was quite proficient at learning new software however, coding? Learning C#? This was a uncharted territory for me. And so it was, progressing through a line of ever more complicated online tutorials, I learned what I would call a foundational understanding of the building blocks that go into the modern video game and how to implement them.
Enough that Last September I launched my first product. From that effort, which has consumed MANY personal hours of my life, I have netted a total financial win fall of $74.68. But that's not really what it's about. Let me tell you what else I have gained:
1. The understanding that small concepts can equal large victories. Coding is like building with a Lego set. Small components come together little by little to create a larger masterpiece. Along the way you must learn new ways to assemble the Lego's, reworking the smaller components until they fit just right. Sometimes this can be a daunting process however, the moment that you unlock a new concept is about as rewarding as beating any level in Cuphead. Perhaps even more important, small concepts lead to deeper understanding. If you really want to understand how to code, focus on the baby steps, they will lead you to a deeper place.
2. The knowledge that Focus is important. As you learn new concepts you will also gain new ideas. If you ultimate goal is to launch something, then you need to reach the finish line. Pick an idea, focus on it, and see it though. A fully baked OK idea is always better than a half baked GREAT idea.
3. The warm fuzzy feeling of a dedicated community. The value of a strong online community cannot be measured, not only will they provide you with the learning opportunities, many of which are free, they will also provide you with support and valuable feedback along the way. Tapping into these communities is as easy as Googling "Unity Game Development". Look to YouTube, Unity, and personal blogs for learning opportunities. If you want real honest feedback, post your work in progress to Reddit.
4. The comfort in knowing that good design is iterative. Your first draft of anything will be crap, I promise you that. If you really want to create something good don't just throw your drafts out into the ether. Take the time to tweak and iterate through many revisions before you settle on the final product. You will be much happier with the end result.
The path to greater understanding will take you many places. Even if you don't reach financial greatness, don't get discouraged. The things you pick up along the way are everything,, knowledge is exponential, unlocking doors you never even considered. And in that way, it is more valuable than anything.