What’s in your hacker space?

What is the ideal workspace for coding? Should you have a setup that only works for programming or should your setup be used for work and play? These are important questions you should ask yourself when setting up your physical environment. I have made some exciting progress on my Pygame, but before that I want to talk about an ideal work environment for when you sit down to code for the day.

I had a nice PC setup at my previous apartment. It was not luxurious or even the best work environment, but it was my personal special space. I could comfortably code while being in area that lifted my spirits and encouraged me. I felt focused yet relaxed. But sometimes you must evolve your setup and adapt to new environments. I moved out of that apartment, and recently have had to switch to a laptop for work. It is definitely a different experience. I am not a PC master race kind of person, but I do believe having a desktop gifts you the challenge of figuring out a productive workspace. Since transitioning to a new location and a new computer setup, I have been thinking a lot about what makes a workspace practical and productive. I would like to share my thoughts so far.

Early PC setup at my previous apartment

The first challenge is proper lighting. You can use artificial light to code, but ideally you want as much natural light as possible. If you are going to be coding inside all day, then you need to feel like you are still connected to the outside world. The natural light should be coming from multiple directions and the bigger the windows the better. My old space had two windows to my left and one sky window above me. My new space has 3 large windows to my left in the shape of a ‘C’. Make sure you choose a room that has proper natural light to maintain that positivity when the frustrations of programming kick in.

The next challenge is finding a proper chair. I did not have a proper chair at my previous place, and that often interrupted my flow. Invest in a good chair, and if you get a remote job, then invest even more into that chair. You could also be part of the stand all day movement and buy a standing desk. I do not do this, but I salute all that choose that lifestyle.

The third challenge is the most difficult challenge, figuring out your computer setup. I really cannot advise you on a proper setup because everyone has their own preferences. I liked having a big monitor to work on especially when I needed to have VS Code open on the right side while testing the web app on the left side of the screen. My ultimate setup would have 2–3 monitors. I think multiple monitors are greatly beneficial for web developers, but just don’t be tempted to use that second screen for facebook or Netflix. I also prefer an external keyboard, mouse, and proper headphones because I find my workflow to be faster with the more tools I have at my disposal. Whatever computer setup you choose, just remember to place everything at a proper height so you do not hurt your back or wrists. Yes, even coders can get injured.

As I continue to perfect my own physical coding environment, I will let you know more tricks and tips I have discovered. There is no one size fits all workspace for programming, but hopefully this post will encourage you to think about your space and how you can improve your hacker quality of life. Next week I will continue sharing my adventures in Pygame. Until then, happy coding and let me know if you buy this for your hacker space……