Computer hobbies? Yes, computer hobbies. You read that right. Since kids were young, many adults have discouraged children from getting stuck on their computers all day. Then again, computer hobbies can help you develop specific skills that will help you find a job. Even if you develop such a hobby later in life, these can give you a better chance to upskill.
Hobbies help you unstuck yourself and get a release from the stresses of daily life. You can also convert them into technical skills that can make you serious money. Here are 12 computer hobbies that can help broaden your technical skills.12 Computer-Based Hobbies To Broaden Your Technical Skills Click To Tweet
12 Computer Hobbies To Broaden Your Technical Skills
- Becoming a Power User
One of the most simple computer hobbies you might think you even have is becoming a PC or Mac power user. If the term is new to you, a power user uses the advanced features of their hardware and software. This is not a hobby per se, as it is a way to make the most out of your device.
Most hobbyist power users usually have some background in computer administration, but many simply want to squeeze the most out of their computers. PC power users like to tweak device settings, even playing around the command line for more optimized usage.
How does this lead to technical skills? For starters, many of the daily IT tasks in organizations are about optimizing the performance of end-user devices. Power users will know how to deal with everyday problems, from ensuring that apps such as Slack are secured to playing with Power Shell to take complete administrative control.
- Digital Art
There are many ways for you to enjoy your artistic endeavors on your computer. If you’re good with your hands, you’ll likely enjoy drawing digital art. Moving from a sketchbook to digital art involves several skills that you slowly develop over time.
For digital artists, knowledge using several apps can help power your hobbies. Photoshop, After Effects, Illustrator, and InDesign are some tools you likely know, or even the free alternatives. If you play around with color, do some photo editing here and there or draw your OC, these are precursors to many technical careers.
Knowledge of art design tools can help you go into graphics design in the future. Contrary to popular belief, digital art requires technical knowledge. You simply don’t go in and start drawing. Instead, learning how to use graphic design apps develops your spatial skills and usage of several graphic design plugins and technical design.
- Playing Video Games
At some point in your life, you likely have played some video games. If you’re a gamer, you likely have played different genres of games, from open-world RPGs to first-person shooters. You’d think you’re wasting your time, but you’re inadvertently developing some crucial skills for the future.
Most gamers develop crucial technical and soft skills that help improve their reflexes and technological know-how. For starters, players are taught how to make correct decisions and weigh in on presented problems. In addition, RPG titles like Fallout and Witcher give unfamiliar scenarios and teach players how to resolve them.
Puzzle games develop geometric and spatial reasoning, as well as sharpen visual intelligence and critical thinking. Grand strategy and 4x titles build tactics and strategy, together with complex planning. Team games even encourage social skills and leadership, especially if you play with buddies online.
At its most basic, gaming requires knowledge of software installation and troubleshooting bugs. Unfortunately, not all games are easy to install, and some fixes even require some fiddling with game files. These problem-solving situations can help you learn a little more every day.
- Video Game Modding
In addition to enjoying how to play games, another subset of computer hobbies that help improve your technical skills is modding. Game modding is an advanced skill that involves editing specific levels in games and adding your own touch to them.
Video game mods can be anything from simple edits to big alteration projects that span months of work. These combine several disciplines, from in-game console programming to creating your own 3D models. Depending on the game, mods can vary in complexity and use.
When you learn how to mod, you build an inherent understanding of the underlying code. These can be cursory changes, like adding an original character (OC) cosmetic.
Most modders eventually lean towards more technical work, including fixing programming bugs or adding entirely new features to the game. This develops coding skills, together with the ability to understand level design and level flow.
- Web Design
Web design is one of the things that you can learn by yourself in your free time. You can build beautiful websites yourself by using existing themes from the comfort of your own home. This teaches you how to create web layouts, build a website, and even dabble with the site code.
Back in the day, web design used to be very difficult, requiring web designers to build everything from scratch. HTML5 and CSS allowed everything to be rich and beautiful but also made everything a little more complex. Site builders are more uncomplicated now, with drag and drop programs like Elementor and Beaver Builder making everything more accessible.
Hobbyist web designers usually move towards full-time web design. However, even if you simply take on web design purely as a hobby, you will learn how to deal with site code and solve bugs and issues. This can land you a job or give you a way to work with technical teams at work.
- Game Development
Going back to gaming, coding games is an excellent hobby to start regardless of age or skill level. Coding games is not that much different from modding, but the difference can be startling. Moving from modding to coding requires far more knowledge than coding.
For starters, hobbyist game developers need to have decent programming skills and build the game through a game design engine. Hobbyists would also need to learn about level design, art design, and even cursory knowledge of asset modeling.
Hobbyist game designers eventually become game developers; some opt to become indie devs while others work with bigger development studios. Some famous hobbyist devs include Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone and Braid creator Jonathan Blow.
Game development also teaches you how to wear several technical hats at the same time. If you think you’re limited to a single scope of game development, collaboration both face to face and online can get you in a team that will cover your personal limitations.
- Blog Writing
Writing skills don’t have to develop through pen and paper anymore. Instead, most budding writers do so by writing stories through their computers and publishing small stories here and there. However, the most common outlet for most is blogging.
You’d think that blogging is simply writing what’s on your mind, but it requires more technical skills. For starters, you would need good grammar and spelling to make everything readable. Your writing should also sound entertaining.
Fantastic bloggers are master storytellers, able to immerse readers with their own experiences. Consistently blogging sharpens your writing skills, helping improve the complexity of your writing. Long-term writing skills are applicable to almost every job, from documentation to content creation.
Blogging is one of the greatest computer hobbies one can learn.
- 3D Modeling and Design
For those who like to create stories through their art, designing 3D models is a powerful hobby that can lead to many different things. 3D design helps you create a variety of 3D objects that you can use for almost anything. You can make your own Pixar grade movie or even style a home.
3D design requires several specialized software, some of which are paid and others free. However, depending on the type of design you want, you can develop skills in architecture, computer-aided design, and even 3D printing. You can even design your favorite characters with enough skills.
3D modelers are most passionate about this kind of hobby, especially those who enjoy innovation around them. You can design digital versions of anything and everything you want into existence. Over time, you can develop more technical skills in vectors, mathematics, and even animation.
- Software Programming
Another of the computer hobbies is Programming. Programming is a skill that most students learn early in their childhood. Learning how to program is quite an engaging hobby, especially for those who want to create software that can eventually help with their daily lives. You don’t have to be young either, as you can learn programming skills well into old age.
Taking programming as a hobby gives you several technical skills to bank on. Not only do you learn how to create valuable programs, you can also improve your problem-solving traits. Of course, you will experience challenges along the way, but much of the reward will come from cracking the roadblocks.
For those who want to learn how to program, there are many resources online that you can find. All you need is to start with a programming language that you think fits your needs – whether it’s for games, software development, or mobile apps. There are tutorial videos you can do that can easily give you a headstart.
- Live Streaming
Many kids are now looking to do some live streaming, and people think it’s a waste of time. However, if you are streaming as a hobby, you’ll be happy to know that you’re developing several technical skills that you can use almost everywhere.
When you are doing live streams, this computer hobby requires a modicum of technical knowledge. Sure, some are happy to press a single button on social media, but if you’re seriously building into the hobby, you need to know how to use a computer. You would need to set up PC hardware, capture cards, and even video cameras, depending on the nature of your stream.
You would need to set up good lighting, a decent face cam, and find games that you would love to stream for game streamers. This requires learning how to perform your own hardware setup and proper cable management and home office organization.
Game streaming also fosters tech skills, as you need to operate more exotic hardware like gaming capture cards, stream decks, and audio mixing interfaces. Even simply picking the proper lighting to make yourself look a little professional can take a good amount of skill.
- Video Editing
In line with streaming computer hobbies, knowing how to do proper video editing is another hobby that fosters more technical skills. Video editing requires a keen eye and an understanding of your subject, and knowledge of creating pleasing aesthetics for your audience.
Video editing uses several technical tools, and you will find both free and paid software to do it, including software like Sony Vegas, Final Cut, and Adobe Premiere. Some even add special effects to improve and enhance the edited video.
For hobbyist video editors, your technical skills are helpful almost everywhere online. Many can offer their services to content creators, live streamers, and even big companies. There’s no shortage of companies that need a good video editor, so you can expect to make some good money with your video editing skills.
- Music Writing/Mixing
Computer hobbies are not limited to video editing and photo manipulation. If you’re musically inclined, there are computer hobbies that can help you build more technical skills. These include audio mixing, sound engineering, and creating your own music through different kinds of software.
You can start by editing your music with software, from adjusting the tempo to combining different recordings to building your own tracks. If you’re an aspiring music composer, there are also several ways to mix your own club music through DJ apps and create artificial sounds through synths.
If you’re simply writing to write music, your computer can do that too! By learning all these music creation and editing tools, you prepare yourself for a future in sound engineering and other music-related jobs, many of which are still quite technical even if you’re not a would-be artist.
Making music is much easier now, especially if you have a fleet of software to replicate an entire professional audio studio. All you need is a good recording setup, and you should be able to make your own music in no time.
So, there you have it. 12 superb computer hobbies you can use to not only broaden your technical skills but also use as a side hustle to make more money for yourself and build a better personal and professional life.
The Bottom Line: 12 Computer Hobbies To Help Broaden Your Technical Skills
Almost every computer hobby you can take can build some of your technical skills to the next level. Many traditional hobbies, from writing to making music to video editing, require some semblance of technical skill to do it at an acceptable level.
If you’re looking to up-skill, these computer hobbies can help you get a feel for the skill you need. You’ll never work a day in your life if you’re doing what you’re passionate about, so why not build your skills while you enjoy it? Try these computer hobbies today and hack your growth towards a bright tomorrow. Don’t forget to comment which of these computer hobbies you love and would like to give a try!