As an 'user'-level in Mathematica, I mainly use built-in Mathematica function and benefit Mathematica as a mathematical tool-box for my specific scientific problem. My level is not yet programmer-level.
The magic of Mathematica is that there are endless level of skill to improve. It is hardly to evaluate a C-programmer by viewing his code. But for Mathematica, be viewing the code, the level could be evaluated. Normally, when skilled level increases, the length of code decreases. Based on the idea of Leonid Shifrin and the level in online game, I myself auto evaluate my skill.
Level 0 - Level 20: Beginner-Users who uses mainly built-in functions.
Level 20 - Level 40: Intermediate, mix some long procedural programming and functional style
Level 40 - Level 60: Expert, low-level system understanding
Although I have "Mathematica Advanced Foundation Level" certification, I think my level is Beginner - Pre-Intermediate about level 18- to level 22. I can not understand the Expert level, for example One-Line Code Competition. As we can see here, Expert level codes program in just 'one line'. :)
My question is, could you please introduce the use of Mathematica as a real-life application? It is not a question of technique, but a question of idea, imagination. Your applications could open my eye of the use of Mathematica in your real-life. I also see "User Stories" on Wolfram site, but almost of them are scientific, industrial applications.
In my case, as an researcher-lecturer at University, I intend to use Mathematica in my teaching. Correct the copies take me a lot of time. So my project is:
Use Mathematica to auto generate MCQ (Multiple Choice Question) question based on my question data base.
Scan students answers as an image file.
Use Mathematica to generate the note by image manipulating on these scanned copies. (The optical reader in my university is really expensive, and not available for everyone). So coding my own Mathematica code is optimal way.
Ideas, projects of the use of Mathematica in real life are welcome !