11 Computer-Based Hobbies to Broaden Your Tech Skills

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If you’ve been in a rut lately and you’re looking for something new to do, there are many reasons you should consider taking up a new hobby.

It can be challenging to find new activities that you’re passionate about, but we’ve got 11 ideas for computer-based hobbies that are both fun and potentially beneficial for your career.

Check out these ideas to get inspired to try something different. Whether you want to be creative, expressive, or innovative, at least one of these computer-based hobbies is sure to be something right up your alley.

Let’s take a look.

11 Computer-Based Hobbies to Broaden Your Tech Skills

1. Website Design

Creating and maintaining your own website isn’t as difficult as it once was.

There are a lot of programs out there that can basically walk you through the process, and it’s great to have your own website to help build your business, store your portfolio, or even showcase your wedding or other significant life event.

Once you’ve decided what your topic is, you will need to secure your domain name, add your content, and spread the word. After that, you just need to maintain it by updating it as necessary and archiving outdated content.

Web design is ultimately a competition. Everyone is fighting for people’s attention these days, so you want to stand out from the crowd.

Especially if you’re trying to make money off of your website, you need to outperform others that are similar, so use your creativity along with your unique insight on the topic of your choice to gain a following.

If you dedicate yourself to designing a website and learn the necessary skills, this hobby can also open doors for new opportunities to make money.

Resource: Using a framework such as WordPress makes designing websites a fun and user-friendly activity.

2. Blogging

If you love writing, creating a blog could be a great computer-based hobby for you. All you need is a computer, the internet, some basic tech skills, a topic, and a domain name.

Your domain name is your blog’s unique name plus an extension (like .com, .net, or .org). If you already know what you want your domain name to be, you will first need to check if it’s available  because you can’t use a name that’s already being used.

You can buy an existing domain name if someone already owns it, but considering supply = 1, the demand will greatly determine the price. For example, “carinsurance.com” would cost you a cool $49.7 million.

Using a free, third-party website to host your content is alright if you’re looking for a personal outlet or you’re planning to work on an informal project, but if you’re blogging under more professional conditions, using a free platform may undermine your attempt to build a professional identity.

It can also be risky to use a third party platform for your blog because not only can it shut down at any point (which would turn all of your hard work into ancient history), the third party can also declare ownership of anything you post–meaning you wouldn’t be able to move your content to another platform if you wanted to down the road.

So if you want to establish yourself as an authoritative source, register your domain name. This will help people see you as an expert with some staying-power.

You can build your audience through your unique formatting and engaging content. Then, if you want to monetize your blog, you can apply for an affiliate program such as Google Adsense or Amazon Associates. This will allow you to earn money by allowing companies to advertise on your blog.

Resource: This is a great site to reference if you’re starting a blog.

3. Design 3D Models

Designing 3D models is a computer-based hobby that results in digital objects that are capable of being animated, which makes this process essential for creating characters and special effects.

This process is used in many professions and other hobbies such as architecture, engineering, virtual reality, illustration, video games, advertising, etc.

To start designing a 3D model, you need to pick a 3D modeling program and then become familiar with the skills that go along with it. From there, you can build a 3D model portfolio and even sell your printed products on Etsy, Shapeways, or at your local farmer’s market.

People become very passionate about this hobby, especially those who love being innovative and making things. If you have an idea that you’ve never seen in real life, you can create it into existence. You can literally turn your ideas into a reality with 3D modeling.

Resource: Here are some helpful YouTube tutorials for designing 3D models.

4. Declutter to the Cloud

Whether you have a lot of papers lying around your house or your computer storage is nearing its limit, you can declutter your life by putting files in the cloud.

Scan any loose papers that you’re holding onto and backup all of your digital files so you can access them from anywhere that has an internet connection.

This will also help keep you organized. Not only can you separate and group all of your files in a way that makes sense to you, you can also gain access to your most updated work, no matter where you are.

Each time you edit a file that is saved to the cloud, it is synced and updated across all of your devices, so you don’t need to worry about only having access to an old version of whatever you’re working on.

Decluttering to the cloud also adds some security to your files. Cloud providers take extra steps to ensure your files remain private and are not available to access by anyone else aside from the people you designate. 

You can make using cloud storage a significant part of any decluttering hobby.

Resource: These have been voted the best cloud services of 2021.

5. Take Online Classes

Online learning has developed exponentially, especially within the last two years with the presence of the coronavirus.

There are a lot of benefits of a virtual learning environment, and online degrees and certificates are much more accepted now than they once were. You can learn just about anything on the internet, from how to manage your money to how to speak Chinese.

If there is a topic that you really want to learn about but you’re not seeking a degree, you can enroll in individual online classes to start learning. This makes taking online classes a great hobby to enhance your knowledge while focusing on something you enjoy.

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You can enroll in individual online classes to start learning topics that you really want to learn about but you’re not seeking a degree.

Online classes can offer you a high-quality learning experience at a fraction of the cost that you may pay at a traditional brick and mortar school. And because lifelong learning is such an important factor in self-improvement, this is a great hobby to adopt at any age.

Resource: Here is a comparison of two popular online learning platforms, Skillshare and Udemy.

6. Work on Your AI Skills

Artificial intelligence is a broad concept that encompasses computer systems that can perform tasks and make decisions that typically require human intelligence, such as automation,  speech recognition, and language translation.

AI is a rapidly growing field and was ranked #15 on LinkedIn’s 2021 list of Jobs on the Rise. To learn how AI works, it’s important to be familiar with concepts such as C++ programming language, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Python.

AI has become a mainstream concept, so whether you want to take up learning AI to get a job in the industry, to help your business, or just to play around, this is a useful and interesting skill to develop that can lead to many new projects to work on in the future.

Resource: This Udacity course will teach you about AI programming.

7. Online Gaming

There are a lot of different games you can play online with other players around the world.  Among other benefits of this hobby, there are social aspects to online gaming that allow people to stay connected in an increasingly digital society.

Immersive online games that require strategy and problem-solving call for players to consume and remember a lot of information.

Playing games such as these can help improve your memory and your brain’s processing speed. Furthermore, playing online games can help you learn to focus on a target and gain motivation to achieve a goal.

Studies have shown that playing online games can help people progress their multi-tasking skills because it requires the use of strategy, analysis of risk and reward, and the ability to react quickly in the face of change. 

There are a lot of games that are offered online for free, which are easily accessible to anyone who has an internet connection. Many free games allow users to communicate through text or audio chat, which circles back to staying socially connected with others.

Resource: These are the 20 most popular online games of 2021 for adults.

8. Browse

You probably already browse the internet a lot–so you know there is a wealth of information out there. Having this unstructured learning tool at your fingertips allows you to be an autodidact for life.

But whether you’re looking up something specific or you’re continuously clicking on deep links, you will always find something new and exciting to read about.

You can search for things that you’re passionate about, read other people’s comments on posts, watch videos, and see what’s going on in the world right now. You can find something new every day to help you learn more about the world.

Resource: Is there a better place to start?

9. Compose Music

If music is your passion, the internet has a lot to offer without requiring the purchase of an expensive or large instrument. You can compose music online, collaborate with other musicians, promote music that you’ve made, and even create sheet music.

There’s a site for anything you may want to do with music, and most of them are free. Seeing as a lot of music is digital these days, this is a great place to start even if you haven’t felt musically inclined up until this point in your life.

Resource: Here are seven of the best music-writing software programs.

10. Digital Editing

If you enjoy photography, you will love this computer-related hobby. Most pictures these days are in digital format, so your options for editing are virtually endless.

Photoshop is a popular option for digital editors. This software was designed for retouching and editing images, but you can also create your own images with Photoshop. Once you understand how to edit images, it will be much easier to learn how to create your own from scratch.

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Try out digital editing if you enjoy photography since pictures these days are in digital format.

You can make a hobby simply out of the basics of Photoshop and its shortcuts before even discovering the software’s full potential, so this is a hobby that can last a long time.

Resource: Here is a good tutorial for using Photoshop.

11. Programming

Programming is an engaging hobby that many people ultimately turn into a paying job. Learning programming will help you sharpen your modern professional skills while completing fun projects.

There are a lot of things you can create online yourself that you probably never thought you could. You can get started with the basics of programming even if you don’t want to create intricate software.

After choosing a programming language to learn (some of the most popular are Java, C#, Ruby, and Python–and they all have the same fundamentals), you then need to find online resources that can help you learn about this fun hobby!

Resource: You can find free online tutorials on programming on YouTube.

Final Thoughts on Computer-Based Hobbies

All of these hobbies require a reasonable existing level of knowledge of using a computer and the internet, and each will broaden your tech skills in some way. You can use many of these hobbies to benefit you in your professional life in addition to enjoying engaging with them during your free time.

Give some of these hobbies a shot that you haven’t tried yet and see what you can discover.

And if you're looking for more hobby ideas, be sure to check out these blog posts:

Connie Mathers is a professional editor and freelance writer. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. When she is not writing, Connie is either spending time with her daughter and two dogs, running, or working at her full-time job as a social worker in Richmond, VA.

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