How to contribute to open-source with any skill level
4 min read
Open-source contributors stand out among their peers for various reasons and there is nothing that boosts your career in tech like it. But, how can you start?
Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, there are plenty of ways for you to get involved and make a difference.
In this post, I'll show you some of the most common options and as you'll see coding is just one of the options. I'll also go through some of the advantages of getting involved in open-source which can help you set your goals accordingly.
Before we move on, I suggest taking a look at github.com/dotenx/dotenx, an open-source tool to visually build websites, build APIs and much more.
Let's start now.
Writing documentation: Many open-source projects need help with documentation, and this is often a great way for new contributors to get involved. You can write or update user guides, installation instructions, or other documentation to help users of the project.
Translating documentation: If you speak a language other than English, you can help translate documentation for open-source projects into your native language. This can make the project more accessible to a wider audience and is often a much-needed contribution.
Submitting feature requests or enhancement suggestions: If you have ideas for new features or enhancements to an open-source project, you can submit feature requests or enhancement suggestions through the project's issue tracker. This can help the maintainers prioritize their work and understand what users of the project would like to see.
Participating in the community: Another way to contribute to open-source is by participating in the community. This can include answering questions on forums or in the project's issue tracker, helping to review and test pull requests, or even just being an active member of the project's community.
Writing code: If you have the skills and experience, you can contribute to open-source projects by writing code. This can be anything from small bug fixes to large new features. To get started, you can look for issues labeled "good first issue" or "help wanted" in the project's issue tracker.
Reviewing and testing pull requests: Many open-source projects rely on volunteers to review and test pull requests, which are submissions of code that are proposed for inclusion in the project. You can help out by reviewing and testing pull requests to ensure that they are of high quality and meet the project's standards.
There are many ways to contribute to open-source, and the best way to get started will depend on your skills and interests. No matter what you choose to do, your contributions will be valued and appreciated by the open-source community.
If you're wondering how contributing to open-source can benefit every developer and boost your career, here are a few reasons:
Working on open-source projects is a fantastic way to improve your skills and knowledge. You can learn new technologies, sharpen your coding skills, and gain experience working on real-world projects with other developers.
Building a portfolio of work that you can show to potential employers or clients is crucial, and open-source contributions demonstrate your passion for your work and your willingness to collaborate with others.
By working on open-source projects, you have the opportunity to interact with other developers and maintainers, which can lead to new opportunities and connections. Building a professional network is key to advancing your career.
Many open-source projects are at the forefront of technological innovation, and by contributing to these projects, you can stay up-to-date with the latest developments and best practices in your field. Staying current is essential for any developer who wants to succeed in their career.
Giving back to the community and contributing to projects that you use and depend on is not only rewarding, but it also allows you to make a positive impact and contribute to the betterment of the software ecosystem.
Contributing to open-source is a valuable and exciting experience that can help you improve your skills, build your professional network, and advance your career.
Also, remember that many companies hire their staff from contributors to their open-source projects and it's one of the easiest ways to get your dream job even if your CV wouldn't stand out among other candidates.
So don't wait – take the plunge and start contributing to open-source projects today! Your skills and expertise will be greatly valued and appreciated, and you'll be making a difference in the tech community.