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Five Tech Hobbies That Will Make You Smarter

Karthik Krishnan, @klk9291
10.13.16
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In any given week, we often find ourselves spending countless hours with our digital devices. Whether we're starting another day at work, lounging in the living room, or even commuting on the train, we always seem to have a mobile device in front of us. Scrolling endlessly through Facebook can certainly be a comfortable way to decompress from a long day in the office. But perhaps there is a way that you can indulge your techno-cravings while improving your mental performance at the same time? These five tech hobbies will provide you with hours of entertainment, and help you improve your mental performance at the same time.

Digital Music Production
Even if you're not musically inclined, producing your own songs digitally is an easy and fun way to start. You don't need any expensive equipment, and you don't need any pricey software. There are plenty of free programs, sound samples, and software synthesizers that will have you creating your own little tune in as little as a few hours. This will teach you basic music theory, which has been shown to improve reading comprehension and mathematical performance. Best of all, you'll get to express your creative side while you're at it.

Fantasy Sports
At first, fantasy sports might sound like a hobby better suited for athletes than techies. But fantasy sports aren't about coordination. In fact, they're actually all about statistics. Once you sign in, you'll be given a list of players. Your job is to build your own lineup, making sure to stay within the given budget. Each competing team is awarded points depending on how the players perform in real life. Your first game might be a challenge, but there are plenty of guides that explain daily fantasy sports. Playing fantasy sports helps you learn to use math to solve complex problems, something you'll likely use many times in your life.

Game Programming
Programming is quickly becoming an essential skill for modern life. Technology controls our world, and writing code allows us to control the technology. Programming a video game is a fun and informative task that will let you start small, and slowly work your way up to more advanced concepts. Even total beginners can get a head start, as you're no longer required to use a low-level programming language. Instead, you can follow a beginners game programming guide to help you understand the core concepts before you move on.

Home Automation
If you're the type who wants to create something tangible, a home automation project would be a great place to start. These projects start with a simple controller such as a Raspberry Pi. You can then connect sensors and create simple software that will automate certain parts of your household. You can start with simple tasks like checking to see if your garage door is open. Once you get the hang of the basic functionality, you can slowly work your way towards automating every part of your home from the temperature to the security system.

Web Design
As far as technical skills are concerned; web design gives you a little bit of everything. You'll practice some creative design while crafting the look of your page, and try your hand at logic as you build out the structure. Web design is probably one of the easiest programming tasks to pick up and is incredibly valuable. The internet has become a core part of our society, so being able to make your own mark is certainly a skill worth having.

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